Whether you’re an accomplished baker or just enjoy scrolling through endless photos of sweet treats, there’s no denying the appeal of a gorgeous Instagram feed full of baked goods. That is how I found Alice Marples from @marplescakery (West Sussex , England). Marples Cakery specializes in creating specialty desserts that combine beauty and creativity with a delicious homemade taste. I had a chance to catch up with Alice for a Q&A session and learn about how she got into baking and get her advice for aspiring bakers looking to start their own business.
What inspired you to first pursue baking professionally?
My passion for baking began when I was just 10 years old when I was bought a set of a matching floral whisk, wooden spoon, and apron for my birthday. I began by creating my very first batch of cupcakes and immediately fell in love with baking. I started with very simple recipes, and as I started to grow in confidence, I started to experiment with more complex recipes, making more and more adaptations and changes until I was creating my very own recipes. As my passion for baking grew, it became my dream to own my own cake business- 10 years later I did exactly that and my dream became reality.
What is your favorite thing to bake?
My favorite thing to bake has to be wedding cakes. The whole process from start to finish is so special – from sitting down with clients and discussing initial ideas, working with them to experiment with flavors at the wedding cake tasting evenings, to building the design from the ground up until it’s perfect on the big day! All of our creations at Marples Cakery are completely bespoke, so all the orders we make have unique touches and flourishes that make every creation all the more special for our clients.
What’s your favorite sweet treat to eat?
My favorite sweet treats to eat are definitely lemon and elderflower macaroons – the sharp taste of the lemon curd filling contrasts the sweetness of the elderflower and the two complement each other beautifully. We create macaroons in a variety of flavors, and as with our cakes, we offer a bespoke service so whatever flavor a client desires, we will create for them!
What is the most ordered item?
Our most popular cupcake flavor is our Salted Caramel Cupcakes – a rich, moist chocolate fudge sponge with smooth chocolate buttercream piped into our signature rose swirl design, drizzled with fresh homemade salted caramel, and finally topped off with a spritz of gold edible glitter.
What is a piece of advice you would give anyone looking to open their own business?
A piece of advice I would give to anyone who’s thinking about setting up their own business is to make sure that once you have an idea that you’re passionate about, together with a clear plan for your business, before launching ensure you have created a clear, simple and distinctive logo and branding. You want to build a brand for your business so that your logo is instantly recognizable, and customers will see your logo and immediately know who you are and what you do. From that make sure all your social media are updated and in place along with a website, and once you’ve done that you’re well on your way to creating a business that you will be proud of, and a business that your customers will be proud to do business with.
How has social media helped you to grow your brand?
Social media has been paramount in helping build the Marples Cakery brand. Through channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and our website, it has allowed us to connect with potential clients, increase awareness of our business and what we do, and enables potential clients to access a portfolio of our previous creations. Every cake artist has their own individual style, so our online portfolios help us to showcase the Marples Cakery style and how we incorporate this into our creations. I prefer to use the term ‘creations’ rather than ‘products’ because I feel like the term ‘products’ suggests something that is mass-produced and exactly the same for every customer, whereas here at Marples Cakery, each design is completely bespoke, so orders are handcrafted especially for a client.
What’s next for you?
I am the owner of Marples Cakery, and currently, I solely create all the orders by hand myself. I hope that in the future I can build the Marples Cakery team, and eventually grow into a shop. I also plan in the near future to offer courier delivery of cupcakes, brownies and tray bakes, in order for people across the country to experience the creations of Marples Cakery!
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Click here to view a pdf of the interview.