Meet the Baker: Emma Chamberlain

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Meet masterful Baker and Cake Decorator – Emma Chamberlain. Based at Renshaw Academy, Emma discusses with us her life-long passion, and shares some personal highlights and top tips for the budding baker. 

How did you first get into baking?

Since I was about 5 or 6 years old, baking on a Sunday afternoon with my Mum, brother and sister was a regular occurrence. As I got older and gained a bit of independence in the kitchen it developed into my most loved hobby.

What was the first bake you made?

I’m not sure what my first bake was as I was so young. One that I remember baking a lot was a whisked sponge filled with my Dad’s homemade Jam. It’s a fatless sponge with a lot of air whipped into the batter. This gives it a really light texture and is a delicious weekend treat.

What kind of baking do you love the most and why?

As a Cake Decorator I love creating cakes for family and friends special occasions. Baking is a great hobby, but it is definitely best shared.

What has been your proudest bake?

At the cake shop I worked at we entered into the Baking Industry Awards competition in 2014. The category was Cake Business of the Year, and is partly based on the skill of the team, and partly based on the business model. We had to design and create a masterpiece in the theme of ‘Great Britain’. A team of 12 cake decorators worked on the cake, and it was great to be a part of the whole process. All the hard work and long hours to complete the cake paid off as we won the award and gained national recognition!

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Have you made any hilarious baking mistakes?

One time when I think I was around 11 years old, I decided I was going to make éclairs for the first time as they were my favourite cake at the time. I spent hours creating the choux, whipping the cream and making the ganache for the top. I was pleased with the end result as they looked great. The family all gathered to enjoy them I watched, beaming as they took their first bite. One by one all their faces changed from delight to disgust, they were too salty. I then realised that I’d put 1 tablespoon of salt in mix rather than a teaspoon! I was so disappointed that I had made such a silly error after spending so much time creating them, but I now see the funny side, and I learnt a valuable lesson in being organised and to always check and check again.

Where do you find your inspiration for bakes?

If there is a theme I’ll research that first. For cake decoration I always find Pinterest and Google Images are a good place to start. I’ll then combine this research with my own ideas and sketch out the design. For baking I take inspiration from many places. The Great British Bake Off is great when it’s on but the rest of the time I’ll look at magazines or the many baking books I’ve got at home.

Describe your baking space to us.

At work I’m based at the Renshaw Academy – a fantastic facility with loads of space and everything a Cake Decorator or Baker could need. At home I have a small kitchen. Being super organised is key and cleaning as you go is a must.

Are there any trends or products that you’re really excited for coming up?

At the moment I love painted cakes – it’s so artistic! I enjoy creating them as I find the process relaxing. Hidden centre and gravity defying cakes are also loads of fun, and bring a smile to many people’s faces.

What are your top tips for anyone looking to get started in baking?

  1. Start simple and build your confidence.
  2. Keep organised and only have out what you need.
  3. Share what you’ve made with other people the feedback you receive will help you know you’re on the right track.
  4. Most of all – enjoy it!

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