I love baking but my efforts of trying it at home often lead to disaster. Soggy Victoria Sponge anyone? So when I heard about You Make a Cake, a DIY bakery in Bellevue Road, Wandsworth, I was intrigued to see if I could learn from the masters.
I headed to the shop with two work colleagues on a Thursday evening. The business was set up by mum Emma Holland in 2010 and has been a roaring success, with VIP customers such as Hugh Grant, Mark Owen and Dawn Porter all giving it a go.
Visitors are promised the ultimate cupcake party experience, proving to be a popular choice for children’s birthday parties, hen parties and team building events.
In advance of the session we were each asked to choose what type of cupcake we would like to make from a huge list, ranging from simple vanilla to the more exotic sounding chilli chocolate. I decided to go for marbled, while my friends went for rocky road and carrot cake.
On arrival we were greeted by our friendly baking assistant Cappi Henderson, with our ingredients and cooking equipment already laid out for us on tables. We also took along a bottle of wine and some nibbles to enjoy, making it a proper girl’s night out.
It reminds me a bit of a food tech class at school, but much more fun. We use trendy scoops and scales to measure out all of our ingredients and get mixing, having to use two separate bowls for my vanilla and chocolate marble cake.
Cappi is then on hand to tell me how to get the desired marble effect as I delicately swirl the mixture together in cupcake cases. She then whisks them into the oven for us, while kindly answering all of our baking related questions.
Next up is the buttercream icing, something I’ve never attempted to try at home as it sounds far too complicated. We’re given a choice of colours - I opt for bright orange and white. We measure out the ingredients again and get mixing, as Cappi puts in the dye.
Next we are given piping bags and instructed how to fill them, how to hold them properly as well as a demonstration of three different patterns to try out. In the meantime our cakes have cooled and are ready to be decorated.
I find myself not as much as a whizz at decorating, but after some tips from Cappi my 12 cakes are looking professional.
At the end of the session we’re given You Make a Cake boxes to store them in, if you manage to get them out of the shop without wolfing them all down first.
The best thing about the whole evening - we didn’t have to clean up. That was all taken care of by Cappi, removing all of the tedious bits about baking. It was also fun being able to turn baking into a sociable occasion, something which you are normally confined to doing on your own at home.
It was great being able to gossip with friends, while doing an activity we all enjoyed. I would definitely give it a go again, perhaps for a birthday party with a difference.
You Make a Cake, Bellevue Road, Wandsworth £39 for a half day baking, £68 whole day baking with lunch included, £22 per child