It’s great to recognise cake icons in the industry for their expertise and phenomenal designs. This month, we speak to Debbie Brown. Debbie Brown is known for amazing novelty cake designs and teaches cake decorating worldwide in her carefully structured classes! She is the UK’s best selling author in character and novelty cakes having authored a range of wonderful books, here we find out more about her cake decorating journey and how the industry has changed over the years.
Can you tell us about your cake decorating journey – where did it all begin?
My journey into cake decorating came about because I had a young family and I wanted to make their birthdays memorable with a special birthday cake. Sculptured sugarpaste covered cakes were fairly new at the time and I enjoyed the challenge of carving cakes into my children’s favourite book or TV character. The business grew from those humble but special beginnings. I started making cakes for my extended family, then the local area once I had the license, attended the courses and my kitchen/work area was inspected. Publishing books came about when Hamlyn (imprint of Reed Books) noticed my work and I was commissioned to write two books, Debbie Brown’s Party Cakes and Debbie Brown’s Fairy Tale Cakes. I was lucky as designing and writing came naturally and although the budgets were small in those days, those first books were a success. In the early days, it took weeks when a book was finally sent to print and once ready, took months being shipped from China on sea containers, so the wait was unbearable. I remember bursting with excitement sitting on the London Underground holding that very first published book in my hand!
How does it make you feel to know that you are an icon in this industry?
I always appreciate the respect I get from my students and readers and I’m constantly surprised and flattered by how many tell me that I started them off on their cake decorating journey.
What is the most memorable cake you have created and why?
It will be my 30th cake anniversary next year so you can imagine I have many! Also I’ve found over the years, the deadline looms and I don’t have time to photograph them properly, or due to privacy for some customers I don’t show the work. One of my favourites is the three kittens sculpture featured in Baby Cakes. This was initially made for my very first granddaughter. My editor saw it and we decided together to publish a book on baby cakes. We wanted to include this design even though it had been shown on social media but I changed the colours and design slightly making it look quite different. It has a special meaning to me. But then the butterfly wedding cake in Dream Wedding Cakes is a favourite too as my daughter fell in love with the design and I recreated it adding large sugar roses when she married. Also the musical notes wedding cake for my son! So you see itǯs really the very personal ones that mean the most.
Read the full interview in our September issue!