Claire Ptak on making perfect cakes and founding London's best bakery
I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember. My mother taught me and so did my father’s mother. I loved everything about it. The measuring, the mixing, the smells, and of course tastes.
We always foraged for blackberries, huckleberries, and wild plums. We also shared apples, pears, and backyard lemons between friends and neighbours — so these fruits very much informed our baking. My mom and one of her friends (called Banana) would buy 10kilos of chocolate as well. Totally casual.
Violet Cakes is all about tasting as you bake, and really putting flavour balance first
Violet Bakery first started out a stall in Broadway Market, before you found your permanent home in Hackney back in 2010. 8 years down the line, what has changed for you and your business
I started the business alone and now we are 25 strong in the team. It’s really exciting to grow my own business; as all of the wonderful people that move through this place really inspire me. People in this business often complain that staffing is the hardest part. In some ways I agree, but in other ways it’s the best part. You build a family and community and people fall in love and make lifelong friends. We spend so much time at work, so it might as well be a laugh too.
Thank you! Sorry for the delay in the next one! Things got so busy after the Royal wedding that I let it slip. But we will be doing it again soon. It started because I just wanted to have a hobby basically! I wanted to talk to women in other fields to see how they did it, how they made it. Thought it could inspire me and inspire others as well.
I love them all and am so grateful to all of them for taking the time to speak to me. Is there anyone you would like to hear on the podcast? I need to get the new guests lined up!
Its pretty well documented but essentially, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted a cake that was fresh and delicious and in line with their own philosophies of sustainability and seasonality. It was such an honour and incredibly exciting occasion to be a part of.
Little Duck the Picklery, Brawn, and Salvation in Noodles, It’s in Dalston, well technically Islington, but I eat there loads! Oh, and also P.Franco and Brat, they are both great.
I’m from the Bay Area, so these are my spots…
Are there any places in London that are in your hit-list that you haven’t had a chance to check out yet?
PEG on Morning Lane!
I just try to be the best at what I do.