Chichester's Foxwood Cakes full of flair and flavour
Anyone who has ever watched programmes like Extreme Cake Makers and Cake Boss must have had the same thought - days and hours worth of work go into it and then seconds later...gone.
“It is a weird one,” smiles Tara Saphir, director at Foxwood Cakes based in South Street, Chichester.“You put so much time and effort into the cake and its decoration and then it is reduced to crumbs.“But you do get a good feeling as well as you want people to enjoy and eat the cake.”
As well as the exterior grabbing people’s attention it is important to Tara that the actual cake packs a punch to.“For us it is as much about the taste of the cake as the look,” she says.“We make our cakes indulgent as many people have it as their wedding dessert. We want it to taste amazing and for people think ‘oh my god this is delicious’.”
The shop has been open since March 2018 and is the perfect place for Tara to showcase what she does.She describes her cakes as ‘very modern’ and each one is compromised of four layers, where traditional wedding cakes are about three inches high, Tara’s are higher so when it is cut you get a bigger finger slice of cake, something that is popular in America and Australia.
All the sugar flowers and decorations are made by Tara by hand in advance.“With the flowers you have to ensure they are hard enough but a peony has about 250 petals so it can be time consuming,” she reveals. “You have to be a Jack of all trades really. For a groom topper you become a tailor making a sugar suit that looks and fits like a suit, for the flowers you are a botanist or for certain elements you are a plasterer.“You really have to try your hand at everything.”
As for flavours they have a core range but find that when people come to tastings they mix and match different flavoured sponges and buttercreams or ganaches.“We have our suggested flavours but when people taste things they may say can I have that buttercream with that cake or that ganache with that, so they can create their own cake,” she says.“We get a lot of people asking for lemon and elderflower after the royal wedding last year.”
But what about the most popular one they offer?“Champagne, so a Champagne ganache, vanilla sponge with a wild strawberry compote,” answers Tara.“People love it.“We also do a Ferrero Rocher and a Toblerone. We want to provide gourmet flavours something a bit indulgent that you don’t need a massive slab of.“We pride ourselves on having honed the flavour of the cake and the structure to make sure they are solid.”
Once the happy couples have got in touch with Foxwood Cakes they come for a glass of bubbly, talk through their options and then come for a tasting session.
Prices start at £4 per portion and for the more luxurious flavours and decorations it is £4.50, but Tara says they are happy to work within the budget and what the people want.“I had one woman who wanted a five tier cake but she only had 20 guests,” reveals Tara.“So I decorated four dummy tiers and one actual cake.“What we have also done if people have lots of guests but don’t want a massive cake, you can have a two or three tiered cake on display but in the kitchen will be cut up pieces that aren’t as intricately decorated for the guests to eat.”
Having previously worked as a patisserie chef, Tara admits to having always loved modelling and when she was eight she used to buy sugar paste and create things.“It is a challenge but I love it,” she says.“I feel so honoured to be chosen to be part of someone’s special day be that a birthday party or wedding.”
All the cakes are made on site and Tara is currently training up her partner John Hebbourn.“He is my apprentice,” she says. “He is great at making macarons and does a lot of the chocolate work. I want it so he will do most of the baking and I’ll decorate, I finish each cake before it goes out.
Foxwood Cakes has also recently re-launched its website where you will be able to buy celebration cakes, chocolates and biscuits, but if you are ever walking down South Street make sure you stop and admire Foxwood Cakes window it never disappoints.
For more information, visit its website