Grace's gorgeous baking takes the cake

Last updated 05:00 19/06/2013
Grace Brown
Ross Giblin
THE SWEET LIFE: Wellingtonian Grace Brown has traded in a law career for making cupcakes.

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You might think Grace Brown is tired of cupcakes after decorating thousands a day while working in London. As part of a team of three at Crumbs and Doilies, a bakery which brought cupcakes to London, the 26-year-old decorated cupcakes with the Twitter bird symbol which were sent to Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, while she also became an expert at piping the Arsenal football logo.

While cupcakes in New Zealand tend to be sparkly and girly, in Britain, Brown discovered their creative - and corporate - potential.

"I love the whole thematic side of cupcakes and creating a visual picture through cupcakes.

"Traditionally, I wouldn't have thought of myself as an artist, but decorating cupcakes has tapped into the creative side of me."

It's no wonder that she has left her legal career for a baking one, given that her first word was apparently "cake". Last week, she launched her bakery, Sweet Bakery and Cakery, at Wellington's Underground Market.

Brown began her life in Britain where her grandmother was a keen baker. She loved her grandmother's cakes and baking, and it was her gran who taught her to say "cake".

Living in Wellington, from the age of 10 she began baking in her family kitchen, making brownies, cakes and slices.

Brown spent two years working for a law firm, DLA Phillips Fox, in Wellington, where the blonde, junior lawyer turned up to work with cakes and goodies she had experimented with at home.

Naturally, her workmates were delighted and, when she left the firm, her baking expertise was one of the things they commented on.

"Being a lawyer was satisfying, but it never really lit my fire. I was much more excited by the cakes and cupcakes I made for my colleagues' birthdays and morning teas."

When she and her fiance shifted to London for a year, she decided it was the opportunity to throw away the law books and got a lucky break working for Crumbs and Doilies, in Wandsworth. Crumbs and Doilies makes specialty cupcakes in 35 different flavours, including for corporates, weddings, and special events. It remains one of the biggest and best-known cupcake bakeries in Britain.

"Cupcakes have been around over there for seven years and they're still going strong. I think it's because they're a bite-sized treat and you can experiment so much with different flavours."

Experimentation is the key, and Brown has made flavours like banoffee pie, salted caramel and lemon raspberry, along with standard vanilla and chocolate.

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Also baking celebration cakes, she plans to marry in January, and the big question is whether she will bake her own wedding cake.

"Everyone says I'll be far too busy and they all have an opinion on whether it's appropriate or not," she says.

- Wellington


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