Fri 16th Dec, 2011
I'm really delighted to be able to share these amazing cakes with you on the blog today. Nicola Hall, the creative talent behind Hall of Cakes, makes and designs these elaborate cakes, which are inspired by Victorian style and architecture.
Here is Nicola's story of how she decided to leave a career in the city and ended up appearing on the BBC!
A 15 year long career working as an insurance broker in the city changed almost overnight after a chat with her new husband whilst lying in a sun lounger on their honeymoon...
On return from their honeymoon and with Nicola’s creative streak, her love of history and her experience of planning her own wedding, the seed of an idea was taking shape.
“My husband thought I was slightly crazy (which made me even more determined!) and I soon booked myself onto evening classes in sugarcraft. I continued my city job, but also started to dabble in baking cakes and practising my new found sugar skills.”
In May 2007 Nicola left the city and launched Hall of Cakes. She felt there was a real gap in the market for what she considered to be real traditional wedding cakes. “I couldn’t seem to find (even from some of the top wedding cake designers) a real passion for the beautiful piping and cornice work that was used in the Victorian era.
There were of course designers that used piping (and beautifully so), but nothing that was, for want of a better expression, ‘completely over the top’. The old fashioned Victorian cakes were literally covered in various royal icing techniques and another thing that I loved is that they were all white. White tiers, white piping and lots of it!
These skills are not something you acquire overnight. During the first two years of Hall of Cakes, I made many occasional cakes (kid’s cakes, christening cakes etc.) and the wedding orders gradually came in. I grew in confidence, in skill and of course experience and the wedding cakes grew bigger, more intricate and elaborate.”
Wedding photography copyright 2011 The Ebury Collection wedding blog
Nicola did a lot of research into the Victorian Era and visited many beautiful buildings to see the level of detail used within the architecture - in particular Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, which was the home of Queen Victoria. The architectural detail recreated in Royal icing often comes from ceiling roses, original fire places and cornicing from the Victorian period.
"I am very proud to say that four years on from leaving the city that Hall of Cakes is a complete success. Clients now come to me from all over London and the Home Counties for my design skills and for the level of expertise in sugarcraft.
I am also very proud that my designs have featured in many national publications such as Wedding Ideas, BRIDES and Cosmopolitan Bride. They are also being featured on BBC One in an episode looking at the history of the wedding cake, as part of the 'Best of British' series."
The business is run from a beautiful home studio where couples can see Nicola’s cakes on display. “I absolutely love what I do and continually push myself beyond my comfort zone to achieve beautiful wedding cakes and a level of absolute perfection.”
Nicola covers London, Kent, Surrey and Essex and can be contacted on 020 8099 0686 or via email email@example.com
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