Having your cake and eating it

Food and Drink Apr 24

Food and Drink Apr 24 - Credit: Archant

Have you spotted The Pink Flamingo bicycle in St Albans yet? I’m afraid you can’t buy a cake from it directly (though that would be fab in the park); it is there to tell us about local baker Hannah Lorman, who makes bespoke special occasion cakes.

Hannah started The Pink Flamingo Bakery two years ago from her home in St Albans, to specialise in wedding and party cakes. Described as “a cake magician” by one client, Hannah seems able to create any design for adults and children, and recent designs include an allotment, an Asian elephant, a mad-hatter’s tea party, and a ‘wrestling’ cake.

Hannah told me, as I munched a delicious red velvet cake, that she loves her job, and that what makes her cakes special is the amount of time she spends on all the details. She only uses free-range eggs and good quality ingredients, explaining that as there are so few ingredients in a cake, every element matters for it to taste delicious.

Hannah’s cake designs are intricate and beautifully made. I love the garden cake made recently for an 80th birthday, complete with tiny cabbages, carrots and a bird on the feeding table. Trained at West Hertfordshire college, Hannah particularly loves sugar craft and modelling. The cake itself has to be lovely too, of course, and you can choose any cake you like, with vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, peanut butter and carrot being popular.

As well as fondant icing, Hannah uses chocolate ganache to glaze as it gives such a polished finish, and she makes this in dark, milk and white chocolate, which she matches to the cake flavour.

Although wedding cakes “are more pressure” Hannah finds making them really rewarding, and I can see why she is so booked ahead; her contemporary designs are beautiful.

Hannah has many repeat customers, with some now on their third birthday cake. Clients can ask for whatever design they like; some have very clear ideas and bring photos for inspiration. Others simply have an idea or theme of what the person might like. Hannah loves making cakes for children as “children have very honest reactions!”. Her five-year old inspects every Octonauts cake that is made to check that it is right!

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Biscuit and brownie jars are popular gifts, with chocolate chip and biscotti often requested; one client places an order at the end of each term as a thank you for teachers. You can also order boxes of cupcakes, which are wrapped with Pink Flamingo ribbon.

Prices for bespoke cakes start at £55 for a 6in round cake but vary according to size and the amount of decoration and modelling required. You can also buy traditional favourites such as the Pink Flamingo Chocolate Cake for £45 which is Hannah’s bestseller, and is surrounded by chocolate sticks and tied with a bow.

If you would like to talk to Pink Flamingo about a bespoke celebration cake visit www.thepinkflamingobakery.co.uk. Hannah does not have a shop or stall and works from home - though watch this space!