I can honestly say that the run up to Christmas has probably been my busiest yet. With chocolate pizza’s on the go, Christmas markets and fairs, numerous cake orders, preparing, buying presents and school performances, December was a busy one!
The cafe did a promotion on mince pies and companies chose to say thank you to their clients with cupcakes, most of which were quite last minute orders. I had orders for the weekend before Christmas, collections on Christmas Eve for those Christmas Day Birthdays and even orders for the 27th and between Christmas and New Year.
So, being as organised as ever, I paced myself and worked solidly to make my customers happy. One little customer in particular really stood out during such a busy time. A lady had contacted me to place an order for her son’s Birthday on the 22nd as his Birthday is on Christmas Day and he was having a party to celebrate being 7. Joshua is into cricket in a big way and I suggested having a figure of him sat on the cake holding his bat. I have done several like this before and it was a good amount to fill the party bags. As the diary kept filling up her last correspondence with me included a photo of him and in the photo he was clutching a green Care Bear under his arm – remember these?? I didn’t even know you could still get them! She asked in the email that if I had time, but only if I could squeeze it in, could I include the Care Bear on the cake. I quickly scribbled something that roughly resembled ‘Bear’ in my diary.
The day came, I had just finished putting everything on the cake and piping on the Birthday message when I glanced in my diary for her phone number to see ‘Bear’. I stood for a moment and thought……………….. ‘Bear……Bear……Bear, why have I wri…. oh crikey! the BEAR!!!’ My heart sank as I was so relived to have been finished for the day. ‘But she did only say if I had time………’ ‘but he is 7 and obviously the bear is significant’. So I got everything out again, coloured up some green paste and started modelling.
A couple of hours later I opened the door to be greeted by the most adorable looking boy with the biggest brown eyes looking up at me in wonder and under his arm he was clutching…..yes, the green Care Bear! I felt a massive sense of relief come over me. I greeted him with ‘well you must be Joshua, have you come to collect something from me?’ He smiled and nodded and his Mum explained that she had put him in the car that day and told him that she had ordered him a Birthday cake and they were coming to collect it so he had no idea what to expect. I opened the lid of the box. The look on his face made me melt as he gasped and smiled and then tears came to his eyes as he said how amazing it looked. I felt choked, relieved and happy at seeing his reaction. I had tears in my eyes too (emotional wreck after working so many hours with little sleep and generally feeling rubbish with myself). I spent some time chatting to Joshua and he was just adorable, quite a budding sportsman at that and he even got a hug and some free marshmallows when he left. I later got a text from his Mum that read ‘Just wanted to say again thanks so much for the cake, it’s perfect and Josh absolutely loves it! He said you’re really kind and clever and he wants to come and live with you :)’ She then sent me the photo as I was in such a rush, I hadn’t taken a picture of it. I’d have Josh come and live with me any day, he was such a delight.
I often wish I worked 9-5 and could switch off when I got home. I often resent having to work until 2/3am to finish off cakes and there are days that I wish I could just give it all up. But, it’s days like the day Joshua came to collect his cake that make it all worth while and I wouldn’t change it for the world….
My top tip for pastry which is kind of related to my mince pies: Even if you’re buying pastry to make pies, try adding something to it to give it a little extra flavour, such as cinnamon for apple pies or lemon zest for lemon tarts.