Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Gorgeous cupcakes from Crumbs and Doilies

Having your own cupcake shop sounds like a dream job to us, although we would probably find it very hard not to eat them all! 

We asked Jemma Wilson, co-creator and creative director at Crumbs and Doilies about life and cupcakes...

What inspired you to start Crumbs and Doilies? 

After getting into baking as a hobby I got myself a job as a cook at Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market, baking and cooking in the small cafe. As much as I loved it there, I knew that I couldn't go any further up the ranks as it was such as small team and by that time, aged 27,  I really wanted to be working for myself. So I set up a market stall in Brick Lane's Sunday UpMarket and began selling cakes, cookies, brownies, tray bakes and cupcakes. This was in 2006, when cupcakes were a relative novelty, so people tended to favour the cupcakes over everything else so eventually I stopped baking everything that wasn't a cupcake and Crumbs and Doilies was born. The name came to me while sorting my room out and I came across the hand crocheted doilies my mum's great aunt had made and I was suddenly struck with an image of the remains of a cake all over them - Crumbs and Doilies!

What's a typical day in the life of Crumbs and Doilies? 

Everyone gets in very early to start baking for the day ahead. Masses of buttercream gets made, lots of cupcakes get baked and decorated. Everything is boxed up and sent out for delivery and then there is usually more baking to do for big celebration and wedding cakes, or large orders which need very early delivery the next day and for any latecomers that slip in at the last minute. Then everything gets cleaned and tidied, which is obviously the worst bit!

What are your favourite flavour cupcakes?  

My personal triumph is our Cinnamon Toast and our Buttered Popcorn flavours, both of which I dreamed up and managed to make taste exactly as I had dreamed them. The Cinnamon Toast flavour actually has toast crumbs in it! And the Buttered Popcorn as real popcorn on top. They look and taste amazing!

What's your secret to creating the perfect cupcakes? 

Practice! All ovens are different, all equipment, ingredients and methods will produce different results. So it's really important to play around and write things down! I really believe that the better quality your ingredients, the better your cupcakes will be. Which isn't to say that you should always buy expensive or organic, though many of our ingredients are both of these things, but rather to know that your ingredients are good quality by finding out how and where they are made and then experimenting with them to see if they make a great cake, not just an ok one.

Where did cupcakes originate from? 

They are definitely from the US though we did have our own version back in the day, the fairy cake, which is less decadent, shallower and has less icing on top. 

What's the most unusual/exciting cupcake request you've ever had? 

It would have to be to produce 10,000 hand iced cupcakes in very specific colours to eventually create a mosaic image of a cherry blossom tree. It was all filmed for a Japanese TV show and was displayed at a shopping centre in Leeds.

There was also an order for 1000 pieces of cake which we had to make look like sushi. We delivered them in sushi boxes complete with chopsticks!

What would you have been in another life?

I always wanted to be a singer or an actress or a TV presenter. But instead I went to art school, dropped out to focus on being a bartender (even though I am tee-total!), discovered a love of baking and just dived head first into a world of cupcakes. These days, karaoke is enough to satisfy my performance craving. That and working on the market stalls.

Crumbs and Doilies will be providing some of their delicious cupcakes for everyone coming to the ilovegorgeous party wear launch party this weekend, so you can try them for yourself. 

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