Carly Telford is a self-taught cake maker whose repertoire has expanded from chocolate brownies to cup cakes and wedding cakes.
1. Why Pi Cakes?
I used to have a top with “Sweetie” written on it, so my friends nicknamed me “Pi” – without an “e” at the end, because two of them were American and said it with a southern drawl! Then when I was thinking about a name for my stall, Pi Cakes seemed appropriate because of the association of pies and cakes.
2. Have you always been fond of baking?
I only started around seven years ago. My mum didn’t cook much, so I had to teach myself. I spent a lot of time in America and I loved their chocolate brownies, but they didn’t taste the same over here – they were too dry. They should be crisp on top but moist and chewy in the middle. So I got a recipe off the internet and had a go at making them myself. The first batch was overcooked – but still tasted much better than anything I could buy commercially!
3. What made you decide to start selling your cakes to the public?
I started buying recipe books and experimenting with other recipes, like caramel shortbread, and all my friends and colleagues gave really constructive feedback. Then last year I made some brownies for my partner’s Christmas do and got several orders, including one from a café owner. This made me think that my cakes were good enough to sell.
4. How have you found dealing with the regulations for food makers?
I’ve done a lot of research. I’ve done the food hygiene certificates 1 and 2, and I’ve been inspected by Lambeth Council. It was a bit nerve-wracking – but a lot of it is common sense. I keep all my baking ingredients and utensils completely separate to ensure there is no cross-contamination.
5. How can Makerhood help you?
When I went to a Makerhood meeting and met Kristina and Karen I loved what they were trying to do. It really gave me the confidence to try selling my cakes online. I had thought about setting up my own website, but it was a very scary process. I already had some great photos of my cakes taken by Sami Dinelli, a colleague at work who is also a photographer. So I set up my stall immediately! I make everything fresh to order, so people can ask if they’d like a different colour or ingredients.
6. So what ambitions do you have for Pi Cakes in the future?
Ultimately I’d like to have my own tea or coffee shop, with all my cakes on display. I’m also expanding into wedding cakes – I’m making a two-tier cake and 80 cup cakes for a friend who’s getting married in October.
7. What’s your top tip for a bit of “hidden Brixton”?
My favourite place in Brixton is the Windmill pub on Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill. It’s a fantastic music pub with great bands and dancing. It doesn’t look much from the outside, and the dog on the roof can be a bit offputting, but it’s a fantastic place.
You can get Carly’s amazing cakes here: http://brixton.makerhood.com/picakes