Baker of the Month March 2021

Baker: Sarah Thomas
Bakery Business: The Cake Academy & The Cupcake Oven.
Location: Manningtree, UK.
Social Media: @thecupcakeoven

Following a career as a successful lawyer, a change in direction led to Sarah becoming an award-winning sugarcraft artist, baker and tutor. This month we feature Sarah Thomas, owner and lead baker of The Cake Academy and The Cupcake Oven – an established Sugar Artistry and Bake School in Essex, UK. Read more about Sarah…

A stunning Macaron Cake creation by baker, Sarah Thomas. 

1. Describe your bakery business:
I am a bespoke award-winning cake designer and baker. I started teaching over 10 years ago and I am passionate about passing my skills on to others.

2. Describe your kitchen:
I’m lucky to be able to work from home in a spacious, open-plan kitchen environment with four ovens and plenty of teaching space.

3. Favourite Chef Works item and why?
Has to be my gorgeous new Hartford chef coat. It is cut for maximum comfort and movement, with handy breathable sections so you keep nice and cool even when busy.

The Cupcake Oven speciality cupcakes with exquisite sugar work.

4. First job:
My first, first job was on Saturdays at the local chippie! My first full-time job was as a litigation lawyer in the City of London, before changing career back to food 15 years ago and specialising in cakes, patisserie, sugarcraft and chocolate.

5. Favourite cookbook:
My Nan’s Mum’s recipe book. It is covered in over a century’s worth of ingredient splashes and although I’ve had to tweak some recipes, I love that I am still working with it.

6. Your awards/career highlights:
I have won gold six times at Cake International (three times in a tasted class) as well as a silver (in tasted class) and have been placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I have also featured many times in Cake Masters Magazine, interviewed by the BBC twice and have given live demos at organised events with up to 1000 attendees over Lockdown 2020.

7. Your baking inspiration:
My Mum – she has always baked, taught me to bake and still teaches me today.

Melt in your mouth chocolate work.

8. Your speciality bake:
French Macarons.

9. Favourite dish to eat:
Savoury, I love Italian and Japanese food. Sweet would be Patisserie of any kind whatsoever!

10. Weirdest thing you ever ate:
Crocodile in Africa.

11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Chocolate of course!

12. Favourite family recipe:
I adore my Mum’s Date and Banana Cake.

A beautiful gilded celebration cake from The Cake Academy. 

13. Favourite wine:
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the Brancott Estate.

14. Who would you most like to bake for?
Is it cheesy to say The Queen? I would love to make the Queen an impressively tall macaron tower, all reds and golds, presenting it to her in the throne room at Buckingham Palace.

15. And who would you least like to bake for?
Gordon Ramsey!

Sarah in her favourite new Hartford chef coat.

16. Favourite things to do when not baking:
Reading and travelling (though not much of that just now!).

17. Your latest project:
Getting my in-person baking school online.

18. Favourite city?
London, it has everything.

19. Your greatest indulgence?
I don’t really have any indulgences. Look what I work with on a daily basis!

20. And finally, your all-time best baking tip?
Room temperature ingredients for when I bake cakes and macarons are more readily absorbed into batters and doughs, which results in a better final texture avoiding the risk of curdling.

Photography: Courtesy of Sarah Thomas and Bryn Thomas.

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