Exclusive Interview with…Elizabeth Solaru of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium

 Elizabeth Solaru is the founder of the multi award-winning Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium, recognised as one the best cake companies in the UK.  

To celebrate 10 years of making exquisite cakes, Elizabeth has written Opulencia, a mostly inspirational book, showcasing some of her favourite creations from over the years. With cake designs ranging from dreamy lace cakes to the most decadent and lavish baroques, there is something here for everyone. 

Set to be a sugarcraft classic, it is packed with inspiration, tips and ideas for constructing sugar flowers, ingredient selection, cake design considerations plus invaluable advice for rescuing a split ganache or curdled buttercream!

Opulencia is a tour-de-force of artisan baking and sugarcraft and an inspiration to aspiring cakers and seasoned professionals alike

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Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium founded by Elizabeth Solaru is recognised as one of the best wedding cake companies in the UK. The company creates beautifully handcrafted cakes that are adorned with the most realistic edible jewellery, sugar flowers, lace, pearls and gems. Their creations have been featured in numerous national and international blogs and publications including The Telegraph, Wedding Flowers, Conde Nast Brides, Wedding Magazine, OK!, Hello, Wedding Cakes – A Design Source, Cake Design Cuccina Chic, Magie de Zuckers and Grace Ormonde. 

Clients include British, European and Middle Eastern Royalty, celebrities and high net worth individuals.

Elizabeth has appeared on the BBC Good Food Channel, BBC Radio and Sky Living as a cake expert. She is also a regular on Sky TV being the only three times winner of The Great Cake Bake, a show which featured the best wedding cake makers in the country.  

Winner of the Best Cake Designer award, she is a  star speaker, competition judge and host on The Cake and Bake Show and will be judging the Championnat de France de Cake Design, the French cake championships.  Elizabeth   is in demand as a sugarcraft expert and has appeared on Sky Living’s  “Who’d Be a Billionaire” and her cakes will be appearing in the remake of the film,  “My Best Friend’s Wedding” by Sony Columbia Pictures.

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I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Solaru from Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. Her cakes are divine and just perfect. If you don’t know about her, then you really need to know! She has achieved so much, yet is still the easiest person to talk to and is inspiring. She has just launched her book and it is an amazing book.

When you see those sugary flowers and jewels adorning her delightfully decadent and lavish cakes, you’ll ask yourself: How does she do it?

The good news is, Elizabeth is sharing her sugar secrets in this inspirational book – along with advice for ingredient selection, and invaluable tips on rescuing a spilt ganache or curdled buttercream! The recipes are easy to follow with amazing pictures. I love this book. Even if you are like me, and you are not really a professional but you love baking from time to time, this is a great book to add that ‘wow’ factor to your cakes.

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How did it all begin for you? 

I have baked since I was little, and cakes were always something I dabbled in. I started my career as a Biomedical Scientist and after a couple of career changes,  made the decision to go to start my own baking company.

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You have just written your first book? How did it come about? What motivated you to take this next step?

The book was written to celebrate 10 years of Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium. I got offered a book deal and after going through the contract, I realised that I wanted to control  everything about my first book;  the look, the feel and cover design and content. From a business point of view,  this couldn’t happen under a publishing company and rightfully so, as  they have to try and guarantee a return on their investment. I decided to set up my own publishing company and publish my book.  Writing the book presented a few challenges and took longer than planned but it was well worth the wait. 

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Who is this book targeted towards?

I have a passion for cake decorating and it’s not unusual for me to buy 20-30 books every year, as I love learning. This book aims to be an inspirational book with some great tutorials and simple tips based on my baking experiences. I talk about how to deal with baking problems such as what to do if your butter cream or your chocolate ganache splits. There is also advice on how to improve your baking such as identifying the cold and hot spots in your oven, without a thermometer, something I learned whilst growing up as a child living in Africa.  

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What advice would you give someone starting their own business?

When I used to be a head-hunter, someone gave me some invaluable advice which has always stuck with me:

  • Have an unshakable belief. You have to believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to
  • Know your product and  industry well
  • Know your company very well. Know what it stands for and what makes it stand out 
  • You need to be resilient. Starting out on your own is not for the faint-hearted. There will be highs and lows. You need to be hanging on when your competitors are giving up.

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What has been the highlight of your career?

I have a number of highlights. I have had to opportunity to work with a lot of amazing people. Something that stands out is when I worked with the Queen’s cousin very early in my business. I learnt a lot from working with her specifically on how she dealt with me afterwards. She wrote a personal note thanking me for the cake that I had created. She remembered my cake and said it was the best tasting cake she had tasted from the selection of cakes that were sent to her from different bakeries.

It reminded me that I constantly have to put my best foot forward every time.

I remember when I first started out, I approached different event planners, and I found that majority of them were really rude to me, however this particular event planning company were really nice and that is how this relationship started. It is a lesson for everyone. No matter how big you are, you should treat people really well.

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What principles have really worked for you?

Doing a great job to the best of my ability, learning new skills. I love learning and trying new things. I also love extending a helping hand to others and collaborating. I do my very best to promote other businesses as I believe we can either swim together or sink alone.

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Last question – what are the three items in your makeup bag that you cannot live without?

I never really was a makeup person, however now that I have a growing public profile, I realise that it is important.

With the help of YouTube videos and  friends who are MUAs, the products that work for me are:

  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Really good foundation. I currently use NARS but I love MAC.
  • Ben Nye Banana Powder. It looks alarming at first but it really works.

 

Thank you so much Elizabeth for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to me. I am really inspired by what you have achieved so far, and how your business has grown tremendously over the last 10 years. Your cakes are truly amazing and I love that you strive for excellence every time you bake.

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Image Credits: Nek Vardikos by NV Photographers

To buy a copy of Opulencia click here

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