How good was Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers! I totally loved it. A great series following top cake bakers from around the UK. If you loved the series just as much as I did you can find out a little bit more about the bakers as they share their top baking tips and more!

Top Baking Tips from the Stars of Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers

Make Money with cakes interview Channel 4's Extreme Cake Makers
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Interview with Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers,  Eloise, The Gourmet Cupcake Company:

What’s the most elaborate request you’ve ever had?

Most elaborate request has got to be a request for a double bed cake. Life size…

What’s your all-time favourite commission?

My favourite cake commission has to be the working guitar cake I made. Just the fact that it could be played was mind blowing to watch, even when I was the one that made it! I also loved the process of air brushing the paintwork.

How do you transit unusually shaped/large cakes – Any nerve-wracking moments?!

Every single delivery for me is nerve wracking. I breath a huge sigh of relief when we finish a cake and no sooner have I stood back to admire it does the dread of a delivery set in! Ideally large cakes are transported in sections and assembled, but for a shaped cake this isn’t always possible as facilities at venues are limited. Delivery really has to be the worst part of cake making for me.

How long does it take to design and bake a high specification cake?

The amount of time it takes to make a cake completely depends on it’s size and the level of decorative detail. We have made some wedding cakes where the baking alone has taken us a full day, I’ve sat and piped on cakes for 4 solid hours, made thousands of hand made flowers just for one cake which can also take days alone. The amount of man hours that go into making the many elements of any cake is always vastly underestimated – even by me!

Top baking tips?

I think attention to detail is really key for a successful cake maker, whether it’s following your recipe to a tee or taking your time to make the decorative elements really perfect. Also work hard to develop your own style and flair as this is what will set you apart from the rest!

Weigh everything. I’m horrified when our cake course attendees tell me they guess how much of their ingredients they are putting in at home! at the shop we weigh everything right down to how much mixture we put in each cupcake case, or how much sugar paste to colour up for each and every rose…. A common baking problem our course attendees report is having too much of a peak on their cakes and they have cut the tops off! Often people think this is due to not pushing the mixture down in the tin but actually it’s the heat of the oven. This can be fixed in a jiffy by simply turning your oven down.


Channel 4's Extreme Cake Makers Interview
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Interview with Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, Phil and Christine, Peboryon

What’s the most elaborate request you’ve ever had?

Christine: I think it was probably a cake we did at the Dorchester – a 90 year cake with 14 mini cakes at the base, and then it was situated in a room that inspires the design. It was handpainted, had life-size chocolate birds of paradise, with gold leaf tipped feathers and it was quite ornate – it transitions from a blush pink up to blue at the top, so it had a colour change in the middle of it as well. It was pretty fancy.

What’s your all-time favourite commission?

Phil: My favourite so far has to be the Wallace and Gromit cake we did. It was everything you dream of in a cake! We got to work with Aardman, we sat down with their design team. A lot of people thought it was designed for us by Aardman – and I thought that was fabulous – the highest compliment you could possibility get! It’s so whimsical and fun and just wonderfully Wallace and Gromit. There was something deliciously British about the whole thing!

Christine: My favourite commission has probably been a wedding cake by a couple of graphic designers. They gave me loads of scope – they wanted something really clean and design-led – something a bit different from your usual wedding cake. It ended up being navy and gold and I just absolutely loved it. And they did too!

How do you transit these cakes?

Christine: We often make custom cake containers for each one because they are all so different they need different packaging and transportation. We use trains, planes, automobiles – whatever gets it there beautifully and in one piece!

Phil: When you are in your studio it’s a very controlled environment. There’s no external factors, so whenever you’re transporting a cake there is a big element of risk.

How long does it take to design and bake a high specification cake?

Christine: It can be months, it can be days – it all depends on the design and who you are working with. Something like the Wallace and Gromit cake was months and months in the making.

Baking tip?

Phil: I hear a lot of amateur baking getting really stressed about decorating cakes and I think, just enjoy it! At the end of the day, if it all goes horribly wrong, at least everyone gets to eat cake!

Christine: Get your bakes right. You’ll be at the party with your friends and your family and you might as well enjoy a really decent slice of cake.


Channel 4's Extreme Cake Makers Interview
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Interview with Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers, Nastassja from the Indulgent Sugar Plum

What’s the most elaborate request you’ve ever had?

Somebody asked me to integrate Kente cloth into their cake design. I then looked up how I could do it and found out I could print designs onto edible paper. It was fun because it gave me more scope for using print on cakes and doing something very different to what I usually do.

What’s your all-time favourite commission?

Every cake is my favourite cake when I’ve done it – that’s the problem! Each cake is very exciting because it’s something different from the last one. Even though I have an idea of the outcome, I usually surprise myself! If I really had to choose, it would be one of the first ones I did in watercolour. It was a trial and error and the watercolour against the buttercream really worked. It was a pink and gold wedding cake with a sequin bottom. I remember calling up the customer and saying I’m not doing you a cake in fondant anymore…I’m just going to hand paint it! I’ve never looked back at fondant…

How do you transit unusually shaped/large cakes – Any nerve-wracking moments?!

People may think that I carry them stacked up as they are – but I don’t! They are transported separately. Very low risk! There has been times when I’ve carried the cake tiered because of a particular design element… a very slow drive.

When making the show, I’d made a golden cake with ruffles. The cake slightly moved about in the car and when we got to the venue I thought I’d forgotten to bring extra sheets of ruffles just in case – and I had a moment of panic – but I actually didn’t – it was hidden in a box somewhere.

I’ve had one cake that chocolate letters in the lady’s name – and I literally watched the chocolate letters melt before my eyes. The luckiest thing was, when I got to the customer’s house, she wasn’t even there… With that saving grace I was able to go back and redesign it. I learnt my lesson. Chocolate sculptures aren’t the best thing to do in the heat unless you have a freezer van.

Top baking tip?

Read the recipe first! I think it’s the most overlooked thing when baking.

Cake making’s…

…actually a scientific process!


Over to you!

I would love hear what you thought about Channel 4’s Extreme Cake Makers. Did you like it? What didn’t you like about it? Do you think you can create better cakes? Leave a comment in the box below.

Need help with your cake business? Contact me today and see how you can begin elevating your cake business to success.

Pia Cato

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