Lisa, CNM’s founder, is a qualified pastry chef and an obsessive foodie. She lives in Tiptree, near Colchester in Essex and spends most of her days “designing and making celebration cakes” and teaching her “wonderful” students.
Cake No Mistake was set up following years of being disappointed with shop bought birthday cakes which “failed to wow.” Lisa began testing her skills out on friends, family, the postman and other unsuspecting members of the public, before turning it into a business.
“I needed a new challenge; it really was as simple as that. I had worked in brand and marketing for more than 10 years and was so fed-up of the boring jobs and the hum-drum office existence.”
“I have always been a bit of a frustrated-creative but sadly, I can’t draw, paint or play an instrument etc., so I had never really found an outlet for it.”
“I’m a trained chef and a self-confessed food snob, especially when it comes to indulgent, sweet treats. For as long as I can remember, I’d look at beautifully decorated cakes and wish I could design and make something so stunning (with the added bonus of it being edible of course!)”
“So, I guess, the love of cake was always there, lurking around in the background, trying to get noticed.”
“Ultimately though, it really was a snap decision. I literally woke up at 4am one day and decided that making cakes was what I wanted to do. I had never decorated a cake in my life, but I figured I could sort that small detail out later… Looking back now, I can’t believe I did that!”
When asked what it is about cake that Lisa loves so much, she told us: “I think cake is one of those things that’s associated with good times and celebration. It’s often the centrepiece at events and parties, it’s photographed, shared with friends, discussed and commented upon.”
“As an artistic medium, its possibilities are endless, often unpredictable but always exciting.”
“On a more emotional level, people feel special when a cake has been designed and made just for them. I love having a job that makes people smile… so in my world, cake is pretty amazing.”
When we first saw Cake No Mistake, we were amazed by the incredible designs that Lisa has made. From pineapple handbags and pop art to cows and our favourite… unicorns!
We asked whether she gets asked to make something specific by the customer or comes up with the ideas herself and she told us: “The majority of my customers don’t have a fixed idea about what they want when they first contact me.”
“My consultations usually involve a chat about the person the cake is being made for; their likes, interests, personality and quirks. That’s where the design ideas flow from and many of my customers are as cake obsessed as me, so bouncing ideas around is always one of the best bits.”
“In terms of creativity, I have been so lucky with my customers, unbelievably lucky in fact. Most of them know before they contact me that I design each cake individually, so having customers who enjoy and get involved with that part of the creative process is just brilliant.”
As well as creating practically any design, the cakes are also available in lots of mouth-watering flavours like chocolate orange, salted caramel, Nutella and many, many more!
When asked where she gets the inspiration, Lisa said: “I think I’m quite inspired by the seasons. In the spring and summer, I’m often to be found making fresh fruit syrups and fillings, developing recipes that are suitable for sunnier weather.”
“In the winter, people like more indulgent, comforting food, so new recipes that include lots of chocolate are always high on my list.”
“There are some firm favourites though. I make my own salted caramel and dark chocolate salted caramel and it’s very popular all year round.”
“My biggest inspiration by far are my customers. Knowing that I love a challenge, they often like to throw me a curveball or send me suggestions when I’m creating new brownie or blondie recipes. I have a (now rather large) loyal and trusted taste-testing team that are always on hand to give me their thoughts and opinions on the lasted flavours.”
Cake No Mistake can create celebration cakes, cupcakes and brownies to suit all occasions. When it comes to the most popular, there is “quite an equal balance.”
“The cupcakes are often ordered for a celebration or event, whereas the brownies get a lot of repeat orders just because people like to have a nice treat. I have a customer who orders a box regularly for her and her husband for their date night. They just take time out, have a bottle of wine, watch a good film and scrum brownies.”
“I love that. Life should always be full of little treats!”
Lisa also runs her own cake decorating classes where “each class is designed individually to suit the requirements and skill level of my student.”
“Group classes are kicking off soon and will focus on flower making, creating your own character toppers and the basics of cake design, but what’s most important to me about teaching is that people gain confidence.”
“It’s a reoccurring theme amongst my students and almost everyone else I speak to about cake. They just don’t believe they can do it.”
“Everyone can make cakes. It’s not a dark art, it’s like everything else; find what really inspires you, don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t worry if you get things wrong and practice makes perfect.”
The business takes up a lot of Lisa’s time, unsurprisingly! She told us: “On the rare occasion when I’m not making cakes, I’m writing about cakes, designing cakes, teaching, messing about with new ideas in my studio (and trying to keep up with the admin).”
“When I do drag myself away from it, my favourite thing is just to enjoy some downtime with my family and friends. They have been such a huge support to me.”
“Not one of them batted an eyelid at my drastic change of direction and their faith and encouragement is something I am thankful for every day. I’m so lucky to have such great people around me.”
It seems like Cake No Mistake has already had a busy and hugely successful year and that isn’t about to stop any time soon! We asked Lisa what her plans for the future are and she said: “From a purely personal perspective, I just want to keep learning and becoming better at what I do.”
“I think that’s why this job is so perfect for me, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. There’s a new challenge every day and there’s always something new to make or try out. It’s impossible to get bored!”
“Doing more group teaching is high on my list, but things are moving at quite a speed so who knows what the future holds. As long as I can make cakes, I’ll be happy.”
We rounded up the amazing interview by asking why insurance is so important for crafters, like Lisa, who not only make and sell cakes but also run classes for the public.
She told us: “Having the right insurance is crucial. To run a good business, you must look after yourself and your customers, it really is as simple as that.”
“We all hope things won’t go wrong but this is real life and it’s always best to be prepared.”
CraftCover would like to say a big thank you to Lisa for taking part in our Spotlight interview. If you need a cake for a special occasion, or just fancy a sweet treat, be sure to check out the Cake No Mistake website!