New Theme!

Ok, they did say you didn’t have to write an actual post but…..

love my new theme!

and retrospectively finished day five task hurrah!

here’s a gratuitous pic of the cake I made my dear mum for mother’s day – her favourite, victoria sandwich with fresh cream and strawberries yum!

sponge cake

Life got in the way…

So, I started off strong and was feeling quite chuffed with myself but then lo and behold day 4 was with us and life got in the way.

It sounds like a feeble excuse (and I know in today’s busy, busy world that many of us are juggling lots of different balls) but I have literally been working and baking from sunrise to sunset and beyond.

This is my life. I was made redundant 5 years ago from my City PR job and as I had long grown dissatisfied and bored with the daily commute and daily grind, I thought “why not bake cakes?” They are pretty and taste good and lots of people like them. I can bake from home and what fun it will be thinking up flavours and names and styles.  And so Jen’s Cupcakery started.  I have built a good little business but I still need to work part-time so I work from 10am to 4pm five days a week and around this bake early and bake late into the night sometimes to complete orders. On top of this, I just received notice on my part-time job so have been desperately trying to find another job which will fit in with my baking life.

walton market cropped

Excuses, excuses? perhaps but good ones I think.

Now, I am going to go back and do all the Blogging 101 tasks I have missed….here goes.

Day 4 – Identify your audience – now, just who are you I wonder? fellow bakers, would-be bakers, small business owners perhaps? those who like photos of pretty cakes (my photography is getting better, promise!)   I need to choose one of these if I understand the assignment correctly so….. small business owners perhaps.  I would love to hear your stories of how you started, not just a baking business but any business, how you are finding it, challenges/successes etc etc.  As independent as I am, sometimes it would be nice to have a business partner to share the load.

Task two – include a new element. Well, how about this Pininterest board in which I have gathered just some of the few inspirational spaces and display ideas for my long dreamed about bakery/cafe… let’s see if it works…

Hello Neighbours! (sorry I can’t stay long)

Day 3 and I’m still here! (trust me, that’s quite something for me).

Who would have thunk it? Finding 5 new blogs to follow is taking me longer than writing the last two blog posts of my own.

Mind you, it’s a great distraction from the giant chocolate cupcake in the oven which seems to have developed craters and will, I fear, fall to pieces once I peel the silicon mould from it’s curves :-( Sometimes I hate baking giant cupcakes, in fact I think I wrote a post about it once. Be gone, giant cupcake, you’re a giant pain in my baking butt!

Anyway, here are my five new blogs to follow, I couldn’t work out how to add 5 new topics so not sure whether I have only completed half the assignment…eek! Or whether I should provide links so forgive me if this is really rather a shoddy attempt all in all.

Foodimentary – it’s elementary my dear Watson! It’s all about food.

Butter Baking – love the recipes and the images, so pretty.

Things we Make – “Much Ado about Muffins” post – need I say more?

The Little Library Cafe – such a ‘novel’ idea :-) tying in recipes to books, love it!

And last but not least…

The Daily Post – for wise words…

Back to the oven to peer glumly at the giant cupcake…. ta ra…

It’s all about the bake!

Well, day two of Blogging 101 and coincidentally (considering I was just thinking about this yesterday) is “Take control of your title and tagline”.

When I started the blog, I wanted to publicise my company hence ilovejenscupcakery (which on reflection is a little immodest and self gratifying whoops!) but then when you’re a small business you do all you can to get your name out there.

As the months have flown by, I’ve found myself looking at it and thinking “hey, not so creative, I can do better than that” and looking at the wise words of the WordPress team I realised I can at least add to it if not change it.  Hence “It’s all about the bake!” because, well it is.  I live, breathe and eat cakes (the latter not very often thankfully for my waistline which is adapting to middle aged spread very nicely thank you without the additional sugary treats).

If I’m not actually baking cakes for customers, I’m looking at cake books, thinking up cake flavours and styles, talking about cakes or my business or both to anyone who will listen (yes, I am that person yawn!), watching cake related programmes on TV and yes, even dreaming about cakes. Last night’s involved a film crew asking me to play the part of a Southern Belle whilst whipping up a batch of red velvet cupcakes (see what I mean?) The latter was easier I can tell you.

Would you believe when I started my cake company, the only cakes I had baked (apart from school domestic science class a million years ago) was a batch of test cupcakes which I took into the shop my sister managed to ask her for her opinion? A customer cake in, said “ooh look at those lovely cakes”, I gave her one to try, she loved it and wanted to place an order and Jen’s Cupcakery was borne.

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What happened next? you will have to wait till tomorrow (if it fits in with the task of the day!)

Till then (I’m off to bake) :-)

Who I am and why I’m here!

Hi, my name’s Jen and I’m the proud owner/sole baker of Jen’s Cupcakery, erstwhile novelist/poet, dog and book lover, devourer of thriller/detective novels (even though I’m squeamish and have to skip over any nasty descriptive parts), obsessive collector of pretty tins and boxes (I should never, never go into TK Maxx again)  and fan of everything Nordic Noir!  I live in the beautiful Surrey Hills, in the UK with my partner Richard in a house that needs lots of work and currently resembles a bakery (but without the beautiful range cooker and central island I crave!) and box/tin storeroom (refer to earlier point about tin/jar obsession).

me at Walton market

I decided to take advantage of Blogging 101 as I need a boost to get me blogging again.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to or that I don’t like sharing my baking and caking with the blogging world, it’s just been down to not enough hours in the day! I currently work pretty much full-time and run my own cake business but I know I’m not the only one trying to squeeze every minute out of a 24 hour day so that’s no excuse. Hopefully getting involved with this great project, will give me the kick up the behind that I need!

dorking halls mix 2wedding rose cake sidespiderman cake

I started my blog primarily to advertise my business I suppose, but that soon changed to just wanting to connect with other like minded souls and to share my baking journey. I have always loved writing and the thought of people reading and following my posts was a blissful one.  Having read so many fantastic blogs over the years, I know that there’s a lot of competition out there, particularly in the baking/cooking fraternity so I need to gird my aproned loins and mix it up a bit, blogging style!

This time next year I would hope to have filled this blog every week with recipes, baking stories, how-to’s and stunning images and have a few hundred regular followers commenting on my posts. Oh, if I could also have my own cafe/bakery that would be the icing on the cake…sorry :-)

Till my next post… Cheers!

Double finalist at National Cupcake Championships 2014

It’s been an exciting few months (hence why this blog has suffered once again!).

As you will have just seen, Jen’s Cupcakery was selected as being one of the Small Biz 100 companies but we  were  also thrilled to get two cupcakes through to the National Cupcake Championships  Professional category at the NEC in Birmingham earlier in the month.

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In the Classic Cupcake of the Year Professional, we entered our twist on a Summer ice cream cone.. a raspberry ripple vanilla sponge using dried raspberry powder for a tangy flavour and swirling a raspberry vanilla buttercream on top..

cupcake comp ice cream cones

And in the Made With Alcohol Professional category, our caramelised apple and pear cider cupcakes with a pear cider buttercream, apple crisp and marzipan pear…

cupcake comp my entry

The judging was fierce and unfortunately we just missed out but it was great to get to the finals out of 1000s of entries and we will try again next year!

cupcake comp entries being judged

Jen’s Cupcakery chosen as one of Small Biz 100

Today is a great day! We were selected as one of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100. What does this mean? Well, not only does it mean that we were picked out of a lot of other companies to be profiled but also that the Jen’s Cupcakery name and our delicious cakes will be shared by them over social media all day.

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Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses. In 2014 Small Business Saturday UK will take place on Saturday December 6th.

small biz sat cupcakes

That also happens to coincide with Walton Farmers Market so we will be selling some special Small Business Saturday cupcakes and  I will also be launching a quest to find my first intern!