I’m get­ting ob­sessed with mak­ing the per­fect wed­ding cake

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY CHRISTY BYRNE christy.byrne@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @ByrneChristy

SOUTH­PORT’S star baker is set for a change of di­rec­tion after she an­nounced that she had taken her last or­der for a wed­ding cake.

Niki Brook, owner of the award-win­ning Lemon Tree Bak­ery, made the de­ci­sion to move away from wed­ding cakes after it be­came all-con­sum­ing to the ex­tent she was un­able to sleep or eat.

The reign­ing English Wed­ding Cake De­signer Of The Year said: “The de­ci­sion was made fully on Mon­day, but it’s been an on­go­ing de­ci­sion.

“For the last 12 months I’ve known that wed­ding cakes were no longer the way in which I wanted the business to progress.

“I’ve be­come too ob­sessed with get­ting them per­fect, I think once I won the award I thought that’s it, they’ve got to be ab­so­lutely per­fect, ev­ery sin­gle cake.

“I al­ways wanted my cakes to be per­fect but it’s like I’m ob­sessed, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t func­tion and it’s not good for my health.

“I just want to get back to en­joy­ing bak­ing again.”

Niki runs the business from her South­port bun­ga­low, which she plans to ren­o­vate to max­imise fu­ture pro­duc­tion.

She said: “I want to have my garage con­verted to make it into a bak­ery space, with com­mer­cial ovens.

“At the mo­ment I live in a bun­ga­low, and I’ve got three ovens. I teach my classes here, I do my wed­ding con­sul­ta­tions here, but I can’t phys­i­cally bake to meet the de­mands of my cus­tomers.

“I’ve not got any more time, I work seven days a week and I need big­ger ovens, there’s only so many cakes I can make.

“When I put cup­cake boxes on Face­book I can sell 100 boxes of four cakes in three min­utes.

“A wed­ding cake could take three days, two weeks if it’s got sugar flower cas­cade, the flow­ers take for­ever, a cas­cade of flow­ers take a full week just to do the flow­ers.

“It’s just not worth it any more, I’m work­ing on £3 an hour for the amount of time these cakes take.”

Fu­ture plans are var­ied and can­not be re­vealed in full at this point, but hav­ing sup­plied cafes in the past there is a hint of ‘back to the fu­ture’ in Niki’s next move.

“Ev­ery­body else in the coun­try seems to be do­ing cake jars and they’re quite big, so I’m go­ing to do cake pots and the aim is to get them in cof­fee shops and cafes.

“I used to sup­ply Verve in Birk­dale and Lang­dons tea room, but I stopped that to fo­cus on the wed­ding cakes. Now I want to have Lemon Tree Bak­ery Cakes in places all over South­port.

“I want all my cus­tomers to be able to get their hands on them.

“Peo­ple have to set alarms on their phones when I post on Face­book, if I say I’ll have cup­cake boxes, first come first serve, at 8 o’clock tonight, they have to set alarms to get a box.

“The ex­pan­sion will al­low me to bake more and meet the needs.”

Niki is also in the mar­ket for a help­ing hand after run­ning Lemon Tree Bak­ery sin­gle-hand­edly for the last six-and-a-half years.

“That’s why I’m work­ing seven days a week, I start at six and work un­til 11 so that’s got to stop.

“I’m look­ing to em­ploy some­one prop­erly who can come in and help me bake.”

De­spite the move to stop tak­ing book­ings, Niki has promised to com­plete the ex­ten­sive list of or­ders al­ready made.

“I’ve still got wed­ding cake book­ings, I’ve got 52 cakes booked for next year, 11 for 2020 and one for New Year’s Eve 2021.

“I’ll still be hon­our­ing them with­out a doubt, but I’m not tak­ing any new book­ings. I don’t want to jeop­ar­dise my work or peo­ple’s cakes by be­ing greedy.”

She added that the Eazy Bakes kids recipe books that were launched last year will be con­tin­u­ing.

The books fea­ture kids’ sim­ple recipes that will not break the bank and help to get kids cook­ing and bak­ing from scratch.

Niki won English Wed­ding Cake De­signer Of The Year 2017, and is up for the 2018 award.

She has also been nom­i­nated for the Lit­tle White Books Wed­ding Cake De­signer Of The Year award, for which vot­ing opens in Novem­ber.

Niki Brook isn’t tak­ing any more or­ders for wed­ding cakes

The Lemon Tree Bak­ery is set for a change of di­rec­tion

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