Tag: luxury cakes

2016 in Review – Passions, Projects and People

2016-in-review-ec-emporium-5

No one will forget 2016 in a hurry. From natural to man-made wars and disasters and unprecedented changes in our cultural and political landscapes some events have been shocking and surprising in equal measure. In fact, I almost gave up on 2016 when PRINCE died. His music was literarily the soundtrack of my life.

It is easy in the face of constant bad and unsettling news to lose hope. Being a firm believer of positive thinking and more importantly positive acts and actions,  to paraphrase Her Majesty the Queen, we may not have the power to make huge changes to the world, but individually, we can all so small things with great love. For this we need a great deal of passion, projects we believe in and people (good and also bad).

Passions

1. The Launch of my long awaited book OPULENCIA was probably the single most important thing I did this year. I have been lucky to have my cakes published and even make the front cover of magazines for many years but nothing beats seeing your own book in print.

The decision to self-publish was not an easy one and it took a lot of courage, time, energy and money to bring my vision to pass. It was hard wearing many hats and juggling the roles of writer, copy editor, publisher, designer, stylist etc. However, the level of success of OPULENCIA completely caught me by surprise. It not only reached the Amazon top 20 in the cake decorating and baking books categories, it won awards at the Paris Book Festival, the New England Book Festival and the London Book Festival. We also got really positive reviews, features and mentions in cake magazines, on baking blogs and in the mainstream press.

OPULENCIA was also shortlisted (we made the final four!!) out of 65,000 entries for a prestigious #cakeoscar at the world renowned Cake Masters Awards awards ceremony in Birmingham. Being the only self-published book with no big publishing name behind it and no marketing budget, to be validated and honoured in this way was simply beyond my wildest dreams.

2016-in-review-ec-emporium-42. Travel – This was the year of travel for me. Now in the past, our cakes have been sent to different parts of the world and I get a little jealous as they receive better treatment than me (private jets, refrigerated trucks, limousines and special packaging). However, 2016 decided it was time for me to spread my wings a little.

It all kicked off in January when we were chosen by Quintessentially to work on an exclusive wedding at The Shangri-La in Paris (road trip!!).   Working in a two Michelin star kitchen with some of the best chefs in the world was incredible. The staff were soooo supportive and it remains one of my best culinary experiences so far. Our incredibly huge cake and lush cake table was so well received the General Manager of the Hotel Stefan Bollhalder had this to say “I have to congratulate you on the design and quality of cake you made, just outstanding” Need I say more?

Come February, it was back in France again, this time Marseille, where I was invited as an ambassador of Massa Ticino by Carma (the BEST sugarpaste in the world) to judge the French Cake Championships at Expogato. Organised by the very talented Sarah Gough, it was an honour to not only help choose a winner but I had the opportunity to teach and demo a number of cake decorating techniques.

Other countries I visited in the course of my cake adventures include Singapore (the cleanest, most pristine city ever), Prague (the most beautiful architecture that rivals even Paris), Czech Republic (beautiful food and people), Slovakia (the nicest hotel experience), Switzerland (my most favourite city and hands down purveyors of the best chocolate. I’m coming back for you Confiseri Sprungli and Laderach) and New Orleans (I met my SHERO, the incredibly talented and arguably the best street jazz musician Doreen Ketchens @DoreensJazzNewOrleans).

I feel so honoured to be able to share my work and art with so many people and massive thanks to everyone who showed up and bought a copy of OPULENCIA.

Projects

1. Teaching – For years, I kept getting requests from potential students all over the world to teach. However, I didn’t want to me a ‘me too’ teacher. There are lots of YouTube videos for that. What I wanted to teach was something that I see so may cake businesses struggling with, so I teamed up with Shikhita Singh of Fair Cake and we came up with the course “How to Sell Your Cakes” The class has been a rip-roaring success, attracting students from all over the world. Thank you for all your kind comments and we have more success building content in store for you next year.

2. Collaborations – I’ve been incredibly blessed to collaborate with the best names in the business this year. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love networking and lending a helping hand and collaborations can be a result. They are an opportunity to come up with unique and new ideas and  flex a little creative muscle. They can also push new trends, they encourage personalisation, and of course provide the most stunning images for one’s portfolio. This year, a few of the names we collaborated with includes Amie Bone Flowers for their 10th year anniversary bash at The Shard, Suzanne Neville’s ‘The Portrait Collection’ at the Tower of London, Gordon Ramsay Weddings and  Zita Elze at Brides the Show.

Some of the collaborations led to features in magazines and blogs including Brides Magazine,  Strictly Weddings, The MayFair Times, Rock My Wedding, Perfect Weddings, You and Your Weddings, Grace Ormonde, in a Sony Columbia Film and on Channel4!

A special mention also goes to Kitchen Aid who not only gave me not one, not two but THREE lush Kitchen Aid mixers in our rich OPULENCIA purple to promote my book. I can’t believe a very cool brand like that would not only partner with us but also take part in our giveaway and extend a warm welcome to Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Just amazing.

http://www.cakemasters.co.uk/win-one-of-three-kitchen-aid-mixers/

Thank you also to WATERSTONES especially Hyebin Lee who not only hosted my book signing but made the decision for the store to stock OPULENCIA. It was very emotional for me to see my book on the shelves alongside my cake heroes such as Nigella, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

https://www.list.co.uk/event/621191-opulencia-book-launch/

3. Speaking engagements – for some reason, I am considered to be a coach, mentor and self-help insta guru. Heaven knows I can do with all three myself! I was very honoured to be asked to speak at a number of events including one at JP Morgan where I met the founder of Aduna Andrew (not James) Hunt who is crazy about Baobab (Bao what you might say, please look it up) and wants to change the world. A fabulous example of someone doing seemingly small things with great love and getting big results.

4. Cakes – my true love and reason for Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Now I’m not just saying this but we made some really beautiful cakes this year and the proof of this was being nominated and SHORTLISTED out of thousands of entries worldwide, for yet another Cake Masters award for the category of Best Wedding Cake Designer.

To create the incredible cakes take a lot of thought, time and work and of course lovely people who not only choose to work with us but also trust us to create something truly special. This year we created some sky high fairy tale castles, secret garden confections, dramatic edible gold baroques and white ethereal beauties. The diversity of our cake designs and range may be why we keep attracting some of the best clients and venues in the world. For me, to borrow the words of Meghan Trainor, ‘it’s all about the cake, no gimmicks’

People

This bit is going to read like the #cakeoscar speech I didn’t get to make, so please indulge me. 2016 would not have been what it was for me if not for the incredible team around me. Many thanks to Mr Massa himself, Fabian who has been a true believer and supporter. Thanks also to the clients, planners and venues for the wonderful opportunities to create some art and magic.

I would also like to thank Nek Vardikos for his incredible images, occasional styling and for being an all-around good egg. Thank you also to Kim, Charlie and Catherine for their incredible support and advice. Thanks also to my family for everything. I am also thankful to my heavenly Father who makes all things possible. Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful 2016 and here’s to an incredible 2017!

WE MAKE THE FINALS FOR TWO CAKE MASTERS AWARDS

One_Marylebone_Shoot_28

In the cake world, nothing generates more excitement, than the cake awards by Cake Masters Magazine. Affectionately known as the #cakeoscars, it is considered to be the most prestigious cake awards and the only one of its kind. Founded by Rosie Mazumder three years ago, it celebrates the excellent work of cake artists around the world and attracts up to 30,000 nominations globally!

To my utter shock and delight, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium was nominated in two different categories,  namely, Best Wedding Cake Award and our book OPULENCIA in the Best Cake Book Award category.

When I was notified that out of tens of thousands of nominations, we had made it to the final 4 in BOTH categories! I cried non stop as it is such a huge deal to be recognised amongst all the amazing talent out there.

This is the third year of the Cake Masters Magazine Awards event in association with the leading show organisers, Cake International; The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show. The award ceremony will take place on 5th November 2016 at the Birmingham NEC. The evening traditionally includes a drinks reception, three course dinner, awards ceremony and an after party to dance the night away celebrating with all the 2016 winners.

I was unable to attend last year but I am determined to be there this year. I will be keeping everything crossed and will try very hard not to embarrass myself as I mingle and ‘fangirl’ over  my  cake heroes.

AWARD-WINNING COLLABORATION WITH ZITA ELZE FLOWERS AT THE BRIDES SHOW

white-petal-shaped-cake

One of the things we love at Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium HQ is the fact that every working day is different and sometimes we never know how things will unfold. On what seemed like another ordinary day we were utterly delighted to receive an invitation to collaborate with Zita Elze on her stand at this year’s Brides The Show.

Now Zita Elze has form. Winner of numerous awards, she has a delicate, ethereal other worldly style which we first encountered years ago when she made a very imaginative living floral embroidery dress of epic proportions. She is always ahead of the game and it is no wonder that students come from all over the world to learn her unique floral design secrets.

This year, her concept for Brides The Show was pure white, modern chic with sparkling transparent notes, a 21st century fairytale. Layers of texture, white on white with touches of green and the tiniest dash of red flecked bougainvillea. Finely scripted engraved perspex discs danced in the light, hanging from a tree laden with cherry blossom, hydrangea and ammi announcing the wedding guests’ seating. A full length table runner of cow parsley (fresh and silk), ammi, gladioli, dahlia, stocks, rice flower, astilbe, gypsophila and eustoma graced the top table which was dressed with antique crystal and fine silverware. Pedestal arrangements at either side featured hydrangea, ammi, cow parsley and scabiosa.

To complete this ethereal wedding design  Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium designed an elegant and romantic 6 tier petal shaped wedding cake in pure white. The cake petal indentations were decorated with bands of white pearlised sugar pearls and along the borders of each tier were white sugar mouldings. The cake tiers sat in pairs on customised petal shaped cake boards with risers in between the cake pairs.

Zita embroidered the cake with fresh flowers in shades of whites and greens with such delicacy and lightness of touch and the cake was also framed by a cherry blossom tree resulting in a very elegant and dreamy wedding cake.

It was no surprise that yet again, Zita was honoured with the  prestigious prize of the Editor’s Gold Design Award, awarded by Jade Beer, Brides magazine’s editor who said:

“You can always rely on Zita to create something imaginative and ahead of the game, but this year at Brides The Show I felt she topped all expectations with an installation that was so full of ideas for brides-to-be who clearly loved what they were seeing.”

Images courtesy of Julian Winslow Photography

MARIE ANTIONETTE WEDDING CAKES MASTERPIECE

marieantoinette2

When beautiful Lebanese bride Lina made contact with us, she had a firm idea of the kind of wedding cake she wanted. Having fallen in love with our purple ombre baroque Marie Antoinette wedding cake, she envisioned the design taking centre stage at her wedding reception at The Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge but in glorious shades of pink.

From the moment we met Lina and her lovely sister, we were struck by how beautiful she was inside and out! Very unassuming, she had firm ideas about what she wanted her cake to look like – huge but tastefully so.  She wanted it to be a focal point of the reception because traditionally,  Lebanese weddings tend to feature the biggest and most lavish wedding cakes.

The cake had a 26 inch bottom tier and was made up of 6 tiers in total each 10 inches deep and was topped with a handcrafted sugar  pedestal topper. The tiers were decorated with lavish sugar gold coin swags, acanthus leaves, cherubs, cameos and different shades of pink sugar roses, hydrangeas, blossoms, berries, stephanotis and assorted filler flowers. Renowned London award winning florist Amie Bone flowers provided the ring of pink blooms that surrounded the cake. She also designed the beautiful wedding flowers, transforming the ballroom of the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel into a pink floral wonderland.

The chosen cake flavours included our famous Triple Chocolate (her husband’s favourite), Red Velvet, Vanilla, Lemon and a selection of gluten free cupcakes which she thoughtfully ordered for some of her guests.

The cake drew lots of admirers, including the Events Director who confessed that having previously worked in some of the best hotels around the world, she had never seen a cake that detailed!
We wish Lina and her Prince Charming the very best of blessings as they embark on their new journey together.

8 FOOT FAIRYTALE CASTLE CAKE AT THE SAVOY

slideshow2

They say that dreams do come true and at Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium we had the pleasure of fulfilling one of our bride’s wedding day dreams by making an eight foot fairy tale castle cake for her luxurious wedding at The Savoy.

The renowned Savoy hotel (a firm favourite at EC Emporium HQ) consistently ranks as one of the best hotels in the world and we are delighted to be one of it’s preferred suppliers of several years standing.

The hotel’s enduring showmanship has attracted people down the generations from royalty, the arts, business, politics and the law. The Savoy has the rare distinction of overlooking the River Thames, and the separate Riverside  Entrance, on a quiet road away from the main hotel entrance  was very convenient for delivering such a grand wedding cake with military precision.

The baroque style grand wedding cake was displayed on a large round  table and  featured a huge base completely adorned with hand made sugar flowers including sugar roses, sugar peonies, sugar blossoms and hydrangeas and 24 carat gold painted sugar butterflies.

All the tiers and turrets of this show stopping  edible work of art were enrobed in Ivory Massa Ticino sugarpaste by Carma for a flawless base and embellished with pearlised edible lace,  gold baroque swags and other beautiful mouldings.

The flavours chosen by our couple included our famous Chocolate Bailey’s cake, Red velvet with white chocolate filling, Luscious Lemon and Vanilla  Raspberry Ripple.

The cake looked very much at home in the opulent surroundings of the Lancaster Ballroom (the turrets nearly touched the ceiling!)  and our fairy tale castle wedding cake has been deemed the ultimate in wedding cakes as the images went viral on social media and it was also the subject of an article in the Huffington Post.

Images courtesy of Nek Vardikos of NV Wedding Documentary Photographers

OPULENCIA BOOK SIGNING

opulencia-book-signing
When I wrote OPULENCIA, it was to celebrate 10 years of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. A mostly inspirational book featuring some of the favourite cakes I’ve made over the years,  I never dreamed that it would make such an impact. The decision to self publish was not an easy one and whilst going it alone has been incredibly tough, it’s also been very rewarding.

In a such a short space of time, the book has won an award at the Paris Book Festival and even cracked the Amazon Top 100 for it’s category peaking at number 20!!

Another exciting milestone was being given the opportunity to signs copies of  OPULENCIA at Waterstones in North Finchley on 17th July 2016. Never in a million years did I ever think that a huge chain like Waterstones would take stock OPULENCIA, as it is very rare for a self published book to find its way onto such premium bookshelves.
The book features stunning images of sugar-crafted cakes that have brought us recognition and awards and worldwide fame, as well as valuable baking tips and the story behind my inspirational career that’s summed up by a simple formula: Passion plus hard work = success.
Writing the book was a labor of love,  and I hope the people who buy it will enjoy it. I relate to anyone who follows their dream – I am living proof that some dreams can come true regardless of circumstances.