This next interview comes with a quick word of caution: Exposure to Angel Chops beautiful cakes may lead to a serious craving for sweet things. So before you scroll down remember that you have been warned!
I first came across Angel Chops purely by accident, on a lazy afternoon while I was hunting for local foodie businesses. I love cake, so all it took was one click onto their Instagram page to get me hooked. There were rows of beautifully decorated cupcakes, a photograph of rich chocolatly sponge and a sweet little cupcake that somehow managed to conjure up memories of eating a classic 99 ice cream by the sea (take a look below if you don’t believe me). Angel Chops was clearly a bakery with a difference.
Based in Sidmouth, East Devon, Angel Chops creates unique cakes for every type of occasion, using good old fashioned baking techniques that are simple yet incredibly effective. They make all of their cakes by hand, using only the finest ingredients, and design many of them through close consultation with clients. We caught up with its founder, Laura Norton, to talk about the pros and cons of baking for a living, where she gets her decorative inspiration, and the marvellous time travelling properties of cake!
What’s the story behind Angelchops?
I started Angelchops Cakes in 2013. After 10 years in the world of Architecture and living and working in central London and the Middle East I decided to quit the rat race and turn my creative side to something I truly loved… Cake!
It was on a business trip to Istanbul when I visited the Grand Bazaar and realised that I was far more interested in the amazing array of flavours and scents of the spice souk than of anything else, so I decided to leave my office job and embark on a professional baking career. I spent the next 18 months supplying cafes, restaurants and private clients with cakes throughout South London and in 2015 my husband and I decided to move ourselves back to beautiful Devon, which is where I am originally from.
How big is your team?
I run Angelchops on a day-to-day basis, baking for our regular customers and creating and testing new recipes. For busier times, larger wedding orders and fairs and markets which we attend throughout the year, I bring in a couple of casual staff who I know are equally passionate about baking.
Can you remember when you first fell in love with baking?
I have always loved to bake and I remember standing on a chair at my great Auntie Betty’s kitchen table making Guyanese Banana Cake. She grew up in Guyana in the 1920’s and the recipe was given to her mother by a local friend when they left on the long journey back to Blighty. I have perfected the recipe over the years and it is now one of Angelchops’ best sellers! I remember watching as every bite of cake took her back to her days in ‘The Tropics’ and that’s when I realised there was more to cake than being just a tasty treat. Cake, to me, is powerful – it celebrates like champagne, commiserates like a cuddle and has the ability – in Auntie Betty’s case – to let you time travel!
Where do you get inspiration for your beautiful designs?
I’m a country girl at heart and I’d say I get most of my inspiration from the beautiful Devon countryside. A lot of my cupcake frosting designs are based on flowers and have a somewhat rustic quality. I’m a lover of retro, quaint, ‘Englishness’ so many of the flavours you will find on the website are pretty classic but I’m always adding to the list with new flavour combinations which are inspired by places I’ve travelled to over the years. I created the orange, honey and almond gluten free cake after a trip to Marrakech and a Maple and Cinnamon cupcake after a holiday in the USA – basically my mind never switches off from cake!
If you were only allowed to eat one flavour of cupcake for the rest of your life what would it be?
This is a really tricky one seeing as I love all of the flavours we sell. I have created all of the recipes based on my own tastes and never sell anything that I wouldn’t be happy to devour myself (usually within seconds!)
I suppose, if I had to choose, I could narrow it down to two and this would depend on the season. In autumn or winter nothing beats sitting in front of the stove with a cuppa and a warm, spiced pumpkin cake with cooling cream cheese frosting on top. In spring or summer, something from the ‘cuptail’ range like a mojito drizzle cupcake – they make an ideal pudding at a summer BBQ. A cocktail IN a cupcake – what more could you want?!
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I love supplying wedding orders in particular and creating something which is so integral to the celebrations. Our cupcakes and large wedding cakes (we specialise in the ‘naked’ variety) form part of the decoration at each wedding venue and although we are not often there to see the reaction of the guests, the brides sometimes send us a few photos of people enjoying the cakes. I love to see the happiness that something as simple as a well baked cake can bring.
What about least favourite?
This is sometimes the part when I hand over the cakes to the client! Although I love to see the excitement on their faces there was one cake I made recently – a multi-coloured owl cake for a 2 year old’s birthday party. It had taken me hours to bake and decorate – I put so much love into it – and in that time I think the two of us really bonded! I couldn’t bear the thought of him being devoured by the kiddies and his big round eyes and somewhat pathetic look on his face made me feel rather guilty!
Finally, where can we buy your cakes and cupcakes?
Visit our website at www.angelchops.com and get in touch via the contact page for an individual quote. Alternatively, if your cake needs are urgent, we supply the Mocha Restaurant in Sidmouth with fresh cakes every day. They are situated right on the sea front and do a lovely cup of coffee which is the perfect accompaniment to our carrot cake.
Let me guess, now you’re craving cupcakes? Well don’t say we didn’t warn you….