MY KIND OF COUN­TRY

Cake maker Alix Fau­vel

Country Homes & Interiors - - CONTENTS -

Alix Fau­vel whips up de­li­cious cakes from her Dorset home

Alix Fau­vel has lived in the Dorset vil­lage of Cran­borne since 2003 when her hus­band Gavin be­came es­tate man­ager of the Cran­borne Es­tate. Home is a Vic­to­rian house which the cou­ple share with their daugh­ters Elise, 17, Mar­gaux, 15, and Ce­cilia, 13. After bak­ing for friends and fam­ily for years, Alix launched Alix Fau­vel Cake­smith in 2014. The busi­ness has evolved as her rep­u­ta­tion as a cake maker has grown, and she’s added Dayles­ford and Sel­f­ridges to her list of clients. We joined Alix as she pre­pared for Christ­mas, her busiest time...

HAVE YOU AL­WAYS BEEN A BAKER?

Ab­so­lutely not! I en­joyed cook­ing when I was grow­ing up in Stafford­shire, but I never had any for­mal train­ing, apart from a sum­mer cheffing job in a Devon res­tau­rant when I was 19. I al­ways knew I wanted to work in the in­dus­try though and, after univer­sity, I be­came a food tech­nol­o­gist for a num­ber of com­pa­nies.

HOW DID YOUR OWN BUSI­NESS COME ABOUT?

I al­ways loved mak­ing cakes and over the years, word spread. Even­tu­ally, I got so busy, I de­cided I needed to ei­ther stop al­to­gether or make a proper fist of it – I went for the lat­ter and the busi­ness was born. I de­vel­oped a web­site and, along with pri­vate com­mis­sions, be­gan sup­ply­ing cakes to shops.

WHAT WAS THE BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGE?

For the first two years, I tried to carry on bak­ing ev­ery­thing at home, but it was ridicu­lous! What had started as a kitchen table busi­ness was, quite lit­er­ally, grow­ing off it. Even­tu­ally, ev­ery sur­face was loaded with bowls of fruit soak­ing, cakes cool­ing and all my para­pher­na­lia, while cake boxes and bags of in­gre­di­ents were piled up in the util­ity room and in the hall. Some­thing had to give…

HOW DID YOU FIND A SO­LU­TION?

It was right un­der my nose! I re­alised the lit­tle out­build­ing at the end of our gar­den would make a great workspace. A lo­cal caterer was sell­ing her busi­ness and I was able to buy the in­dus­trial oven, prep ta­bles and mix­ers from her. Hav­ing a ded­i­cated workspace made a big dif­fer­ence: ev­ery­thing felt more pro­fes­sional and I could sep­a­rate work and fam­ily life, though even now, I of­ten dec­o­rate the cakes in my own kitchen, es­pe­cially on chilly nights!

HOW DID YOU ES­TAB­LISH YOUR DEC­O­RA­TIVE STYLE?

I’ve al­ways leaned to­wards a clean, sim­ple fin­ish. At first, I

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