I’m getting obsessed with making the perfect wedding cake
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