Let them eat cake
A Goring-by-sea baking duo reveal to Charlotte Pearson their recipe for success.
The saying goes everything happens for a reason, and, for Cake Lush, fate plays a large part in where they are today.
If Caroline Day and Michelle McKinley Bell hadn’t met their husbands their business may never have happened.
“Our husbands have known each other all their lives,” Caroline explains. “I have known Scott Bell and my husband Rob for about 25 years, and when Scott married Michelle we got to know each other.”
Which begs the question, what would have happened if they hadn’t met their other halves?
“There would be two very lonely bakers working on their own in their kitchens,” Caroline replies.
Thankfully this wasn’t the case.
Friends for 11 years, the baking pair had known for ages they wanted to go into business together.
But it was not until Caroline went on a cake design course they concluded this could be the path to follow.
“She brought round these cakes from a course and I just didn’t believe she had made them,” Michelle recalls. “They were so good and it was then we realised we could do this together.”
Based in Goring-by-sea, Worthing, Michelle and Caroline make everything from their own kitchens and keep in touch via FaceTime on the iPad.
“The kids always joke, ‘are you going to see Caroline again tonight’,” Michelle laughs. “We do talk a lot and luckily our husbands have come to understand they are second to cake.”
Officially starting in October, it wasn’t long before Cake Lush landed a big contract.
“We were at a trade show and the buyer for Virgin Atlantic walked past and just got chatting to us,” Michelle explains. “Next thing we knew we were going to Heathrow with cake designs for them to choose from.”
The chosen designs feature mini Virgin planes and tiny afternoon teas, which are pre-ordered in boxes of four before the flight.
But the company is not all about cupcakes. They also make a range of celebration and ‘naked’ (without the icing) wedding cakes.
“We understand that cupcakes are a trend at the moment and we didn’t just want to be defined by this, so we also do cakes for corporate events, and weddings. We did a naked cake for a vintage themed wedding,” Caroline explains.
Michelle and Caroline work together on the orders, creating each element which goes to decorate it.
“We do a lot of bespoke orders,” Michelle says. “What we make is special and can’t be found in any supermarket. We love a challenge and haven’t had anything yet which we haven’t been able to do.”
“We do it as many times as we need to, to get it right, we are perfectionists,” Caroline adds.
And they don’t use a recipe from a book.
“We have our own recipe which we use,” Caroline explains. “We tried a lot of different ones and we just really liked this one so stuck to it.”
Caroline and Michelle’s passion shines through, with different sides of the business being their favourite.
“I used to be a graphic designer so I love the creative element of it,” Michelle enthuses.
“My nan was a pastry chef,” Caroline says. “I just remember when I was a child going shopping and if I had behaved we would go to the bakery and get a cake. I love baking and that feeling of it being a treat.”
Despite having worked with big names, such as Mercedes-Benz and Virgin Atlantic, the women still have their sights set high.
“We would love to make cakes for the Beckhams, for the kids’ birthdays,” Caroline smiles. “But we would love to do more events really. It would be great to have our cakes at the Grammys or the comedy awards. It would be great to watch it on the television and think those are our cakes right there.”
With big plans on the horizon the sky is the limit for this baking duo.
Visit www.cakelush.co.uk for more information, call Caroline on 07837 663731 or Michelle 07858 489901.
March 21, 2014 Food and Drink