We first encountered the mind blowing cakes by Ard bakery via the world of instagram. They were incredible. So fresh - like no cakes we had ever seen before! Since then, we have watched the cakes become even more exciting, bold and adventurous and seen their popularity soar.
Ard Bakery appears to share our love of colour, pattern and form, so we thought our customers might enjoy hearing more from owner Alison and her geometric baking journey.
Hello Alison, thanks so much for chatting with us! We wondered if you could tell us a bit about your background? How did you begin making these wonderful cakes?
I have a background in sculpture and fashion design. Prior to starting my business I spent 10 years working in the fashion industry, designing bags, shoes and jewellery for many high end brands. I had always loved baking, but whilst on maternity leave with my second child I started experimenting with combining classic baking with the design led aesthetic I was used to from working in fashion. At that time I never expected it to become a business, but I started posting the cakes on instagram, and had such a great response. I started to get orders, and it really just took off from there.
We love your use of colour and shape - Do you have any main sources of inspiration?
Before I started making cakes, I worked as an accessories designer for a designer called Mary Katrantzou, who focused heavily on print and colour, and so I was very used to working with this kind of bold design. I also originally studied sculpture so the cakes are a kind of culmination of my design and sculptural background coming together in edible form!! I also take a lot of inspiration from interiors and products such as lighting and furniture, often using motifs or shapes I find here to inspire the print on the cake, or the more three dimensional chocolate work.
Your cakes look very challenging to make! Which is your most technically challenging?!
I have had to learn everything from scratch, as although I baked all the time, I had never really done any sort of decoration, so spent a lot of time in the beginning practicing how to stack and ice a cake to achieve smooth edges. I also work with edible printing, and perfecting this has taken a lot of trial and error.
But the most technical part I have had to learn about has been working with chocolate. It is a very technical skill, that requires very specific conditions. I took a chocolate making course last year with Melissa Coppel, who is an amazing chocolatier and teacher, and learnt so much from her, it really revolutionised how I was making my chocolates, and am now far more confident in this field.
Do you have a personal favourite design?
I don't really have a favourite design, as each time I make a new one it becomes my favourite, but I do have a few standout cakes that mean a lot to me. The first is the 'CLEO' cake. It was one of the very first cakes I made, before I had even started this as a business, or thought about making my own chocolates (this one uses maltesers!). But it was this cake that made me realise that I could create this aesthetic in cakes that I hadn't really seen before, that could possibly work as a business.
The second is the wedding cake that I made for my brother and his now wife. It was the first wedding cake I had made, and was a real challenge as I didn't really know what I was doing in terms of stacking cakes. Also design wise I wasn't sure how well the different prints would sit next to each other. But it turned out really well, and opened up my work, to a larger audience.
We see that you offer a wide range of cake flavours on your website? Which is the most popular flavour?
I would say the most popular flavours are Vanilla & raspberry, Lemon, and Chocolate. I am a total chocoholic so that one is my fav.
And chocolates too! Can we buy these online?
Yes! I had to take a break from these over the summer as when the weather gets too hot I can't make or ship them, but they are now back in stock on my website.
How do our readers get in touch with you to order a fine cake?!
Just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you out all the info!
Thank you SO much Alison!
orders and info www.ardbakery.com