MY KIND OF COUNTRY
Cake maker Alix Fauvel
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