Meet The Maker - Sweet Bakes: Alisha Henderson
Tell us about how Sweet Bakes got started?
I’m a joy chaser in every aspect of my life, so even though I never intended to make baking my career (hello abandoned Journalism degree) the bliss that comes with being involved in celebrations via cake, proved all too strong to avoid! I started Sweet Bakes at 19 years old from my parent's humble home kitchen and the momentum that was to follow truly still shocks me, there was such an incredible response from day 1 - I haven’t looked back since. It’s been 9 years since the brand's debut, and whilst the company structure has changed numerous times, I’ve enjoyed every single model along the journey! I’m really proud of the opportunities I’ve had so far in business and wake up excited every day about the potential still to come.
Do you have any tips/tricks for making the perfect buttercream?
I prefer to make a Swiss Meringue buttercream for decorating my cakes. It’s a hybrid between a stiff cooked meringue that you then add the butter to. It created a perfectly smooth finish and is less gritty and sugary than regular American-style buttercream.
What's your favourite flavour combination?
This feels like picking a favourite child, and honestly, it changes daily. I’m a big fan of sour though! I make a VERY sour lemon curd cake that just cuts through sweetness so perfectly. Sour lemon curd with a strawberry and thyme cake is right up there as my fav (a savoury note is also a winner for me in a dessert!)
We absolutely love the art on your cakes, what inspires your designs?
Oh why thank you! I look at cake as my canvas and am inspired by other more traditional forms of art. I love rising to the challenge of turning food into delicious design pieces that can take centre stage at any event. When I am creating customised work, I ask my clients to give me a few pieces of inspiration (like a favourite travel destination, colours, a preference for less or more etc) and I digitally sketch cake designs from there, before we bake them to life. My favourite thing to paint is flowers, so this cake x flowers collaboration has been heavenly.
You're not only an amazing baker, but you're also a children's book author?
The flattery here is too much! I am a children's author yes! The first book that I authored and illustrated was released a couple of years ago, called Millie Muffin. It’s the first book in the Storybook Sweets series, which are uplifting tales told through treats - with recipes at the back so you can bake all of the characters to life. I’m currently working on book 2 Cooper Cookie, to be released this year yay.
If you could only eat one type of cake for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Some days I wake up and wonder, ‘Will I ever be sick of eating cake’ … the fact that I am 9 years in on this cake party leads me to think that I never will be!! Contrary to popular belief, I feel that pavlova is a cake for all seasons and it is certainly a great love of mine, so I would have to say this would be my choice to eat for life.