Avid readers of the blog will know that we are rather fond of flowery recipes, after all, what could be more wonderful than combining two of life’s great pleasures, flowers and food? It’ll come as no surprise that we stopped for a good second look at Bee’s Bakery when one of her truly fabulous, flower-filled creations was recently featured by Vogue. Multiple tiers hand-adorned with masses of colourful, edible blooms, her cakes truly embody the phrase ‘too good to eat’. It was with absolute pleasure that we spoke with Bee to find out more about her, and her fabulous floral creations.
Tell us about yourself Bee, we understand that you swapped microbiology for baking?
Yes, that’s right! I trained to be a medical microbiologist at university – I was a real science nerd. I worked in a laboratory when I first graduated and then had a happy career writing about clinical trials for about six years, before swapping bacteria for baking in 2012. I feel that having a background in tiny science gives me a real attention to detail, and an appreciation for the natural world, which translates into the cakes I create.
What do you love most about what you do now?
Without a doubt, the freedom I have. I established the business – Bee’s Bakery – without external investment and on my own, which has meant that I have been able to pivot the business and adapt it to suit changes in the baking industry and in my life. I also love munching on the results of testing new recipes!
We absolutely love your fun creations, especially your beautiful flowery cakes! What inspired you to begin making them?
Thank you! My inspiration was a bride-to-be called Sabrina, about eight years ago, who showed me a picture of a ‘flowerfetti’ cake from Australia as inspiration for her wedding cake design. I was blown away, and as I researched flowery cakes more, was so inspired to create lots of different designs. I began growing my own edible flowers – cornflowers, borage – at home, but soon needed to work with some organic edible flower farms to meet the demand for my cakes.
What varieties do you like to use?
Not all flower petals are edible, in fact, some are poisonous, so I am very careful about the ones that I use. I work with some specialist UK-based organic flower farms who really know their stuff about edible and inedible species. My failsafe summer edible flower is the cornflower – the petals stay perky for a good few hours, and the blues, pinks and whites look lovely on a wedding cake.
Do you have a favourite flower?
For drama and total luxury, I love peonies. For a more homely feel, I love cosmos. I’m getting married this summer in Cornwall, and I’ve convinced my mum, my soon-to-be mother-in-law and a local flower grower to plant lots for me to decorate our tables. Then there’s always the thistle, which has a special place in my heart as I’m Scottish.
We see that you’ve created cakes for incredible weddings, venues and TV. What’s been your favourite commission?
I love being asked to create cakes for weddings at incredible venues like the Rosewood Hotel, Claridge’s, and the ICA. I love creeping in the back door and setting up a cake in amongst the hustle and bustle of a wedding set-up. My favourite wedding cake was for one of my oldest friends, Jonathan; I was so nervous I baked two cakes, just in case something happened to the first one! A few years back, I was asked to bake a huge, entirely vegan cake, and I said yes, without having any vegan recipes up my sleeve, knowing how tricky it would be!
What are you working on at the moment?
I love learning new baking tricks, and due to a huge increase in demand for plant-based cakes, I’ve had to become a bit of an expert in plant-based baking recently. I’m beginning to share more recipes online, so I’m constantly testing and refining new ones, then convincing myself to share them.
What’s in store for the future?
I’m building a business that is more plant-based and sustainable. The majority of my cakes have been dairy-free for some time, and I have some fantastic egg-free recipes too.