Meet Our Baker: Lily
At the heart of MY BAKER is our diverse community of independent bakers, each with their own talents and specialities. We want to take some time to introduce you to the talented individuals behind our wonderful cakes and bakes.
This week, we are chatting to Lily. She is based in South London, specialises in spectacular celebration cakes and delicate cupcakes which are beautifully decorated with hand-painted designs.
Inspired by the amazing cakes her mum made her as a child, Lily started to bake cakes for her friends as a teenager. I asked her how she started selling these cakes professionally. ‘After studying Art & History at university I started working in costume design in musical theatre, but I was missing the practical creativity’, says Lily. The artistic baker then quit her job and started working part-time for Biscuiteers, where she learnt to ice biscuits and use a piping bag. ‘I really enjoyed icing, I enjoyed the creativity’, she says. ‘I then started to do my own thing on the side as well, practicing more with piping bags and cake decorating’.
Lily also spent some time working for a high-profile cake designer in Manhattan who taught her a lot about different decorating techniques, and also about the business side of the industry. She has now been baking professionally for 3-4 years. Lily’s cakes are often decorated with stunningly intricate hand-painted patterns. I was curious to know what inspired Lily to start painting her cakes. ‘I have always loved art and painting as a hobby, I learnt in school as I had a really great A-Level teacher’, she says. ‘Then I realised it was completely transferrable to sugar’. She explains that edible paints work in the same way as normal watercolours. ‘You can mix them with alcohol, or sometimes I use rosewater’, she says. Lily sees cake baking and decorating as a form of art, and thinks it is fantastic that the world of cake design is becoming recognised as a platform for artistic expression.
I asked Lily if she has any tips for beginner bakers. ‘There’s a lot of information out there for people that don’t know anything about baking, but I would say it just takes practice. Also Youtube is amazing for learning new techniques’, she says. Lily also emphasises that the versatility of cakes means that there is something for everyone: ‘there are so many aspects to cakes, you can find an area you really enjoy’. Finally, I asked Lily what her favourite flavour of cake is. She loves the classic flavours (especially carrot) and also almond and lemon. ‘I really like putting citrus zest in the icing!’.