Saffron Medway is an award-winning cake maker who will soon be opening her first café in Warwickshire.
She’s come a long way since her days as a slimming instructor after overcoming her own struggle with weight. After losing four stone, she wanted to give something back so became a Weightwatchers Leader while still pursuing her love of baking in her spare time.
So good were her cakes, clients became some of her best customers and, after nine years, she decided to take her passion full time and Caking and Baking was born. She now has a team of six staff at a successful bakery in Leamington Spa. The 47-year-old mum of four is now the proud recipient of several awards for her craft and has seen her cakes featured in Cake Masters magazine and Vogue. She was also honoured to be asked to help recreate the Queen’s 70th anniversary cake in 2017.
Describe a typical day for you
It’s normally an early start, getting the kids ready and off to school. My mornings at the shop, are usually spent on the phone and email replying to enquiries that came in overnight, preparing invoices for the wholesale deliveries and ordering stock or shopping at the Cash and Carry. My amazing girls in the kitchen – headed up by Abby, the Kitchen Manager who keeps everything running smoothly, will have baked everything we need for the day so the afternoon is spent decorating the cakes and making sugarcraft models.
I like to leave around 3 to collect my youngest from school to keep a healthy home/work balance so it’s the normal mummy duties, cooking, reading, washing, homework etc from then on. I try to make sure we all eat together and we usually play a board game before bed, Monopoly is my youngest son’s favourite! Once the children are asleep, I will turn the laptop on to catch up on admin or go back to the shop to work on models for the week’s cakes. I like to get to bed by 1.30am.
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Aside from my family, I am very proud of my business and how well it has blossomed, working on The Queen’s cake will always be one of my favourite things and also my achieving a diploma in Sugarcraft. When I see a picture of some of my first ever cakes, thanks to Facebook Memories, I can’t help but feel proud of how far I have come. Winning the Muddy Stilettos award as the best food and drink producer in Warwickshire was pretty amazing, too!
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Oh my… My handbag is a mess! Right now, there’s some old receipts that my Bookkeeper probably needs, a polka dot Alice band, an empty pack of ibuprofen, a couple of Chanel lipsticks, my house keys, shop keys, car keys and van keys, a hot wheels car, some business cards of contacts I met at an event and a banana that has seen better days!
What are your ambitions in life?
To be happy, healthy and loved! To keep doing what I’m doing, to continue to build the brand and grow the business. I love teaching workshops so I would love to do more of that.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I was too trusting at the beginning, some people were not as honest as they could have been and some have been underhand but you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve made some great friends in business now, however.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
On a beach with a cold glass of wine! Seriously though, I’d like to open a bakery school teaching my what I’ve learnt to others, giving something back, so to speak.
What advice would you give a budding baker?
Keep at it! Baking is a science so you have to follow the rules. Use YouTube and books to help perfect your skills and be patient, you can’t rush a good bake.
What advice would you give to a new parent?
Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. The world won’t end because you haven’t put the washing on and no one will die if you haven’t made the beds. Take one day at a time and remember one day they won’t want to be held in the middle of the night and although it feels annoying now, you will look back and remember those late-night cuddles.
Finally, happiness is…
When your children tell you they are proud of you and that they love you. When your husband supports your dream and help make them a reality. A good cup of tea and a slice of cake.
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