If anybody ever told you that you can’t have your cake and eat it, well I’m here to tell you that that ain’t true 😉 I am a firm believer that every good party, needs a good cake. To me, it represents the party and is the very core of it. No jokes, my friends know that I am serious about cake. I also believe that a cake MUST look as it good as it tastes.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have found myself a cake maker that shares that sentiment. Today I’m featuring Rebecca from Ginger Pops.
I stumbled upon Rebecca years ago at the Granary Market, and to say that I became obsessed with her macarons…is an understatement. After work I’d go there just for the macarons. I recall once I was sick in hospital while Rebecca was baking cake pops/cookies and macarons for Addison’s birthday party. She was so sweet and sent me a batch of my fave macarons as a get well token. She’s an absolute sweetheart and it’s been amazing to see how she’s grown since those Granary Market days <3
Without further ado, let’s meet the lady behind some of my absolute favourite cakes!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I grew up in Port Elizabeth, went to Lorraine Primary school, home school and then VP for my last 2 years of high school. I studied to get my Chef and Chef de Patissiere diploma’s in Cape Town and then worked at various restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers from there to PE. After that I moved to London and worked as a commis Pastry chef at a Japanese fusion restaurant (Ironically) named Zuma. LOL
I’ve been married for 2 years to an incredible guy and cake husband, Greig, who has come to my rescue many a times when the order load has been overwhelming or I’ve been feeling under the weather. He is now a pro cake pop maker! I think we’ll wait a few years before having kids. Work is so busy for both of us!
Q: How did Ginger Pops come into existence?
A: I have been baking cakes since I was 8 years old. My first and still favourite cake to bake and eat was a chocolate chiffon cake. It’s like eating chocolate clouds of decadence draped in silky chocolate ganache. YUM! I think I need to put in order for this!
While I have always leaned more towards the decadence of food rather than just appearance, I discovered sugar paste modelling while online in 2007. I am a big animation fan and was watching lots of Japanese anime at the time. I decided to make my brother a birthday cake of one of our favourite anime characters Kon, from Bleach and have moved forward into more elaborate cake decorating ever since.
While I studied to be a chef, I am self-taught as a cake decorator. I have done so much online research over the years to improve on and perfect my own abilities. It’s still a huge learning curve with the way that cake decorating and cakes as we know it are evolving each year.
Q: What’s your favourite type of event to bake for?
Honestly it’s not limited to an event type. My favourite, though most stressful orders, generally are ones that think out of the box and challenge me to up my caking game while keeping the style cool, epic or gorgeous in design. I think my least favourite is having to copy another cake decorator’s design exactly. In the cake community this is frowned upon unless you ask the original designer if you can copy their work. It’s difficult to get excited about spending 10’s of hours making a design that someone else has already made before.
Q: What type of cakes/desserts do you make? What is the most popular item/flavour that you get orders for?
A: Cake-wise my coconut cake with lemon curd filling, red velvet, vanilla cake, chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel and banana cake with peanut butter cream are my big sellers. The banana cake with peanut butter cream is a fave for me and her rainbow cake for the kids parties are divine as well….
I make macarons, cupcakes, tarts, decorated cookies, novelty, designer and dessert cakes and dessert jars.
Q: What are you known for?
A: In Port Elizabeth I think I’m best known for my macarons. Salted caramel, lemon meringue and Crème brulee definitely top the charts with nutella and pistachio close behind.
Q: What are your top tips for choosing your cake for any event?
Decide on your budget (bearing in mind that more detail will need more time and thus be more expensive).
Pick a theme you know will match the person/event perfectly. Go into detective mode to find out if you need to!
Decide if you want everyone to eat the cake or if it’s more there for show or as a token cake.
Give these details to the cake decorator and discuss design possibilities. Don’t be afraid of telling them you love certain cake designs, but always be willing to tweak elements to make it extra special and a little more unique to your event.
Last but not least… don’t get swallowed by the bottomless pit that is Pinterest. You can over decorate a cake… sometimes less is more!
Q: You pet peeve when it comes to an order/customer?
I for the most part have really amazing customers, especially those that I have been baking for since the beginning of Ginger Pops. My only pet peeve is when customers message on Whatsapp after hours. I usually understand if it’s regarding a cake to be picked up the next morning or a sweet thank you for the cake type message, but I have to turn my phone off after 6 to give myself a chance to reboot for the next day of work and orders. One of the reasons I only accept and confirm orders that come in via my online form.
Q: What’s the latest trend?
Unicorns cakes took PE by storm this year, I am sure all our local cake decorators can agree… though the Unicorn cake trend has been going strong overseas since last year!
Mermaids may possibly take its place come Summer though.
Last year and the year before drip cakes were all the rage, showing us that many people are wanting cakes that look as delicious as they tastes.
For wedding’s it’s difficult to say, geometrics and textured cakes were quite popular last year for me, with semi naked cakes holding out strong through Rustic and Boho wedding trends. I’m hoping Geode and stone/marbled patterned cakes will become more popular as I think they’re gorgeous, but possibly more hand-painted floral and deep green leafy designs will be more appealing.
With the world becoming more aware with going green and protecting nature, a lot more of the cake designs are incorporating earthy, nature boasting or nature complimenting styles.
Q: If you could have anybody make you a cake, be it a local or international person, who would it be and why?
There are too many cake decorators out there for me to choose. Each week I discover someone new that blows my mind with their cake creations. A lot of my favourites are based either in the US, Philippines, Italy or the UK.
SA is very lucky to have a pretty phenomenal cake sculptor, Dorothy Klerck, who recently made a to scale model of an elephant and its baby at the CT Good Food and Wine Show. She often offers classes abroad and takes part in international competitions.
So gals, I hope you found this helpful for when you need to choose your next cake for an event! I think these are great tips and also some real cake inspo right here! If you’d like to get in touch with Rebecca, here are her social media links:
Facebook: Ginger Pops
Instagram: Ginger Pops
If you missed Part 1 in the series, you can catch up over here 😉 Please subscribe or follow me on social media so you don’t miss the rest of the series. Every Thursday there’ll be a new feature 😉