A baker whose “illusion” cakes have left your mouth watering during the pandemic has launched an online magazine to share her know-how. Kelly Fincham, 39, has pushed convention aside to create disguised treats for everything from Christmas dinner to fish and chips.
She launched her business, D’licious, in 2018 after quitting teaching. Its new monthly magazine is published under the same name and features interviews with baking stars, contests, tutorials and cake decorating tips and tricks.
Ms Fincham, from Aylesford in Kent, has enjoyed a new taste of success as an international baking competition judge. “It’s been so exciting to see how my life has changed over the past year,” she said. “Between finishing the cake orders and working on the magazine, I’ve been really busy, so it’s been pretty hectic, but amazing too.”
Her new career began in 2016 when she submitted her resume to a local store that was hiring a cake decorator. Having only cooked for her family before, she took the leap and changed her path.
Ms Fincham has since won a silver and two bronzes at the annual Cake International competition, while a pastry disguised as a camera won her first prize at the regional Cake Professional Awards in 2020.
“I love making illusion cakes – creating a cake that looks like something completely different, like fish and chips or a roast dinner,” she said. “I’ve created many of these types of cakes over the years, but recently I’ve gotten into making 3D sculptures.
“I made a model of Simba from The Lion King for a cake order and a personal favorite was a standalone shark cake. I don’t make these kind of cakes often as they are more expensive to make than traditional round cakes, but they push me out of my comfort zone, which I really appreciate.
While Ms Fincham – who typically dedicates two to three days per bake – has a thriving business, she says her biggest reward is seeing people’s faces when they receive their bespoke fondants. She charges anywhere from £150 for a themed birthday cake to £1,200 for a spectacular tiered wedding with matching cupcakes.
“I’ve made a few different dinosaur and Jurassic Park themed cakes and the kids’ faces when they get them are awesome,” she said. “I tend to learn new skills through trial and error.
“When I was designing the shark cake, its nose kept breaking before I was finally happy with it. These things take practice to get perfect.”
Not only has Ms Fincham honed her own skills, but she also assesses other bakers, joining the judging panel for this year’s Cake Star UK. Speaking ahead of the competition, which will take place in December, she said: “It’s really exciting to be part of the competition judging process because there is so much talent involved.
“I will also be a judge for the Asia Cake Oscars in August and I have just been a judge for the Sri Lanka Cake Awards 2022, which took place last month. I was supposed to fly to Sri Lanka for the competition but due to current Covid restrictions it has been changed to a virtual event.
“It’s a shame, but I hope to be able to attend in person next year. I judged the category of pastry artist of the year. It’s hard because it’s quite subjective so I try to stay objective and take everything into account.
“The kind of creativity that goes into the cakes I judge is unparalleled. They are all very talented artists.
At home, Mrs. Fincham wins the first prize for the best baker in her family. She said: “My husband will tell me not to leave him the leftovers because he eats too many cakes, but when I throw them away he asks me where they are!
“My kids are probably complaining about how busy the company is. When it was just a hobby, I spent a whole week working on their birthday cakes and they looked great.
“But now that it’s my real job, their cakes have become much more basic. Yet they don’t care about the taste! My friends and family are all very proud of me and I am doing my dream job which is the best feeling in the world.
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