We are delighted to introduce you to celebrity cake maker Shelly Shulman! This lady has firmly become not only cake guru to many many couples but also to the A-listers. We took a few minutes of this lovely lady’s time to get an insight into her world, well not really, poor excuse, we just wanted to go and see her as we love eating her cakes!
How old were you when you started baking?
I started baking at a young age thanks to my Mum and my late Nan. We always had cakes and scones in our lunch boxes and my mum had always made our birthday cakes. Every Saturday I used to watch Nan make the most amazing wedding and birthday cakes and when I was 13 I have fond memories of making my own birthday cake with her. (It was a record player with Kylie and Jason on!!).
What got you started?
I have to thank (blame) my two beautiful girls who are now 14 and 11. With such a history of baking in my genes it was never under any doubt that I would be making their christening and birthday cakes. A couple of their friends parents asked me to make cakes for their children and the company grew from there. The rest as they say is history.
Did you do any formal qualifications? Do you think they matter?
I do have a formal qualifications. When I officially started the company in 2006 I went back to college and took a City and Guilds in design and sugar craft as I felt it was important to have a qualification under my belt to give the company some credibility. As time has passed I don’t feel the qualification has proven as important as experience and natural skill. The cakes I produce and the testimonials I have from clients speak louder then any certificate.
I wouldn’t discourage anybody from taking formal qualifications. (and qualifications like Food Hygiene certificates are vital). Everybody is constantly learning and I picked up many tips and skills from my time at college. I still make time now to go to cake shows and watch the demonstrations. Anybody who says they haven’t got anything to learn is lying.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Absolutely everywhere. My phone is full of random pictures of wallpaper patterns, internal and external architecture (especially when I deliver cakes to beautiful venues), wedding dresses, invites. I love covering a cake with white icing and then looking at it like a blank canvas. It can be turned into anything and that is the beauty of what I do.
Is it flattering or upsetting when your designs are borrowed by others?
In all honestly, I’m not too bothered. I think there is a big difference between using another persons design as inspiration and passing their work off as your own. I think it is a positive thing to create something that inspires others. It is something that happens a lot in the creative world. For example high end designers will find clothes inspired by their catwalk creations in most high street shops across the UK. To me it is all about giving brides freedom of choice and I believe that brides will find the cake maker that is perfect for them.
Why do you do what you do?
I love it. Every day, every client and every cake is different. It’s an honour to be a part of so many memories and I remember that it is a privilege that should never be taken for granted.
What is your favourite cake?
This changes all the time I make a new cake design so my current favourite has to be Exquiste from the 2015 collection. It is what I would have for my wedding. That said I also love the cake we made for Prince George’s 1st birthday. It’s definitely a tick in a box to receive a letter from the future King and his wife saying they loved the design.
If you weren’t making cakes, what would you be doing?
Its hard to imagine a life without cakes in it! Its been such an integral part since my childhood. When I was younger I always worked in a bank and I was working in a foreign exchange before I had the children so I would probably gone back to that.
What does marriage mean to you?
This is a good question as I have just celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary. Marriage and a wedding are two different things. From personal experience I can say an almost unhealthy amount of focus is put on the wedding day and not the marriage part after the day has ended. To me marriage is having the person I love right by my side every single day for the rest of my life. It’s that commitment. Is it easy? Of course not. There are going to be conflicts and differences of opinions. Its how you deal with them that matters. Everyday is a learning curve so you have to learn to adapt to new situations. Compromise is vital in a marriage and always remember it’s only the two of you that got married and it’s only you two that knows what goes on behind closed doors.
For further information on Cakes by Shelly, visit the website: cakesbyshelly.co.uk