It is always a great treat when something surpasses your already very high expectations!
The Vanilla Bakery is a company based in Suffolk run by a friend of mine Gemma and her husband Mike. Gemma and I actually went to junior school together and after a 25 year gap were reunited via Facebook a few years ago. I helped The Vanilla Bakery set up their website when we were both starting out and having built the website, uploading lots of pictures of celebration cakes, and also my taking pictures of Gemma in “cup cake” making action, I knew that Gemma was clearly very good at what she did.
But it wasn’t until I commissioned Gemma to make a 40th Birthday Cake for a close friend of mine did I really appreciate the difference of a cake of being good and just downright outstanding – and it’s all about the attention to detail! The way that Gemma works is that every celebration cake is personal to the recipient, so after a long telephone conversation, I emailed Gem photos of Sue (the lady who’s birthday it was) and also a list of things that Sue liked. The email went something like this:
“Sue loves everything and anything pink, fluffy and sparkly, Abba (she’s a dancing queen!), she has a black fluffy cat called Bertie, her favorite foods are chocolate and cheese, she loves champagne. Oh yeah, and she is ridiculously organised and has a spreadsheet for absolutely everything!”
Sue’s 40th party was in a large rented house in Herefordshire, and she knew nothing about the cake. I always intended to pick up the cake en route but my sense of geography was never a strong point! To cut a long story short we ended up driving from Aylesbury via Suffolk to Herefordshire to pick up the cake (I think we went through 8 different counties!). My husband Simon raised more than an eyebrow when finding out the travel plans, and though he didn’t actually say it I could tell he was wondering why on earth I hadn’t commissioned someone closer to home! His face though when he saw the cake was a picture, and he was so genuinely impressed that even my ill-conceived comment of “you realise we’re driving the equivalent number of miles today as going to Scotland” was overlooked!
But the best reaction was that of the birthday girl herself, who was absolutely thrilled! Gemma had even managed to put the cake version of Sue in the SAME glittery Abba outfit that she’d worn the night before at the fancy dress party. So whilst Gemma really does fall into the category of friend and client, I am writing this as a very very happy customer and a very very happy birthday girl!
So in my mantra of “a picture speaks a thousand words” I’ll let you judge the cake for yourself…