Highly sought after wedding cake designer Elizabeth Solaru and founder of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium creates some of the most intricately lavish and genuinely mind blowing cakes. If you are looking for exquisite sugarcraft, delicate detail and jaw dropping cakes your search is over.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth on more than one occasion and her friendly and professional nature along with her outstanding designs is quite evidently the reason behind her multi-award winning company.
To celebrate 10 years of industry success Elizabeth has recently written and released ‘Opulencia’, an inspirational book which showcases some of her most decadent cake creations. If you have a passion for cake decorating Elizabeth shares her sugar crafting secrets, tips and tricks. With Christmas approaching Opulencia would make the perfect Christmas gift for those who enjoy baking and the art of sugar craft.
Elizabeth’s work has been featured in a variety of publications including Conde Nast Brides, Hello and OK Magazine.
I caught up with Elizabeth to ask her a few questions about Opulencia, wedding cake disasters and her advice on maintaining such a successful business.
To buy a copy of Opulencia click here.
How did you go from studying Biomedical Science to creating some of the best Baroque cakes I have ever seen?
I was rather good at Science as a child and it seemed natural for my family to nudge me in that direction. However, I also loved baking but when it came to having a proper career, going to university was a no brainer. After my degree in Microbiology and a Masters in Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, I became a Biomedical Scientist. A few career changes later (including a stint as a Headhunter), I ended up with my own cake company, Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium.
We all know that accidents and disasters happen, have you ever had a ‘cake calamity’?
Of course cake disasters are part and parcel of the job but the most important thing is to try and minimise the likelihood of anything bad happening and if anything does occur to try and recover the cake! I wrote in my book OPULENCIA about a cake disaster I had early on which was a huge learning experience for me.
What has been your most unusual cake request?
There have been so many from sky scrappers to cool novelty cakes but the one that was most personal I think was making an almost life size Rhino cake for a little boy who was just crazy about them. It was so life like that all the children kept poking the cake wanting it to move!
If you were to design a cake for yourself what would be your design and most importantly what filling would you choose?
I know the cake will have to be pink, multi tiered with lots of sugar flowers and butterflies! I am very partial to lemon cake and one of the tiers will have a lemon buttercream filing, another tier will be vanilla with a praline filling and of course there will have to be a tier with our famous chocolate baileys cake.
From conception to completion talk me through your design process.
The design process varies a lot. Prior to meeting our clients we ask lots of questions and ask for swatches, images, monograms etc so we are prepared. During the consultation meeting we talk through in detail various aspects of the event, their likes and dislikes etc and out of that come up with a bespoke design.
The wedding cake competition is fierce! What sets you apart from other cake designers?
From the start, when I set up Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, I was determined to do my own thing and not make identikit or cookie cutter cakes. I try to tailor each cake to suit each client and touch wood, it seems to be working so far.
Opulencia is the first book you have published, how has that new exciting journey been for you so far?
Writing and self publishing OPULENCIA has been an amazing milestone for me. I wrote it to celebrate 10 years of being in the cake making business and the book is intended to be mostly inspirational. It was also important to include hints and tips on what to do when things go wrong as they often will. I had no huge expectations of the book and the process was a massive rollercoaster, from my images being with held as I refused to give in to being dictated to (which meant I had to start from scratch) to self publishing which was a big eye opener. Thankfully, the booked cracked Amazon’s Top 100 for it’s category, won an award at the Paris Book Festival and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Cake Masters award.
What gave you the idea to write Opulencia and what can readers expect?
For years, a number of my students and followers kept asking when I would be publishing my book and what finally gave me the confidence to do it was a meeting with a well known planner, who looking at my portfolio, asked, “where is your book?”
OPULENCIA is in two parts. The first part looks at ingredients, ingredient selection, cake design process, recipes and the basics of cake decorating. The second part of the book features my favourite cakes over the years.
Do you plan on releasing another book in the future? If so how would it be different to Opulencia?
At this point, I am not sure. Self publishing is such a gruelling process but nothing beats having the creative freedom it gives you. If I do write another book, it will be on a very carefully considered topic.
What would be your tips on creating and maintaining a successful business?
I don’t know if I have all the answers but for me, I think building and developing your skills and your brand are very important. Develop and create good relationships and be the best you can possibly be.
Outside of your baking bubble what are your hobbies and interests?
I love travel, a bit of culture, good food and Zumba!
With the success of Opulencia and past TV appearances, have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you can share with us.
There hopefully will be more TV appearances and there are also one or two exciting projects in the pipeline. I don’t want to jinx them by talking about them or revealing too many details but one will be in the UK and the other will be abroad, so watch this space.