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and the winner is…

This past year has really been amazing, so much so I can hardly believe it! and with my latest accolade, I thought I would give a little rundown of everything that has been bestowed on Cakes by Beth over the last twelve months. Thank you to everyone who helped with these awards, I am incredibly honoured, proud and grateful!

Last year, I was invited to submit some information about myself and my business to The Balvenie craft whisky distillery, who were looking to showcase British businesses dedicated to fine craftsmanship and with a passion for their art. I was very honoured to have been noticed by such a great company and one which my dad gave the nod of approval for (“Oh yes, very tasty!”). I answered some questions about where I’d come from, what I loved to do, where I wanted to be, but then thought nothing of it. Then last Autumn, I received a call to say that I had been shortlisted for their Masters of Craft award for food and drink. Oh wow, I didn’t expect that at all! The award had two parts. As it was sponsored by Waitrose, the first part involved Waitrose customers voting for their favourite amongst the candidates, narrowing down the list to just three. The call came in again, I’d got through! I was really getting nervous!

The second part then saw me trotting off to London, cake samples in tow, for the final judging and awards ceremony. I opted for double chocolate and raspberry, and vanilla and salted caramel. Two quite simple flavour combinations that were very different from each other and have proved really popular with my wedding clients. I presented my cakes to the room of judges, explained a little bit about each one and left them to dig in. I wouldn’t find out if they liked what I’d made until the winner was announced.

Here are my sample cakes, simply presented, overlooking the Thames. Oh, did I say? The awards were held at the amazing Somerset House!!!

Cakes by Beth Balvenie Masters of Craft award cake samples (2)

And so, after much deliberation, the results were in and the awards ceremony began. I was absolutely terrified because the room was filled with incredibly talented people, some really top names, and the awards themselves were being presented by interior designer Tom Dyckhoff. It did help that The Balvenie incorporated a whisky tasting and learning experience between the awards, taking us on a journey of discovery with an amazing array of flavours and colours (I have never seen a ruby red whisky before!). It certainly helped to calm my nerves!

Well, you’ve guessed it, I won! I was absolutely blown away, amazing! Thank you so much to The Balvenie for putting on such a spectacular evening and presenting me with possibly the best award ever, a bottle of  14 year old Caribbean Cask single malt. This is David Stewart, the head judge at the awards and the Malt Master at The Balvenie Distillery. What a lovely guy and so humble…especially considering he has been in this top position since 1974 and his signature is on every bottle. What an absolute legend!

The Balvenie Masters of Craft Awards David Stewart

With David Stewart at Somerset House, London. Photo c/o Kate Hills, Make it British

Huge congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted for the awards, it was a fantastic experience to be surrounded by people who were truly dedicated to their craft. For more information about the awards and a full list of 2013 winners, here is the link to The Balvenie Masters of Craft website. I would also like to thank the fabulous Kate Hills and her husband for looking after me that evening. Check out her amazing blog, Make it British, for her story on the awards night and lots more celebration of British made crafts.

After I had calmed down about all of this, I spent a good proportion of the year working day and night, night and day, on the busiest time I have ever had. So many amazing couples with their incredibly exciting wedding plans, and some amazing collaborations that I can’t wait to tell you about. A hint at one of them is coming up here!

My second amazing accolade was to be named as one of the UK’s top 50 wedding cake designers by GoHen! Again, an incredible list of talent, skill and inspired design work. Thank you so much, GoHen!

Go Hen Top 50 wedding cake designers 2014 Cakes by Beth

This was closely followed by a list from Weddzilla, who selected me in their Top 20 wedding cake bakers. Wow! Thanks so much guys!

Wedzilla top 20 wedding cake bakers cakes by beth

Then came the Cake Masters awards. I am a part of a fantastic collaborative group called Cake Bomb, which has brought together cake artists from around Britain (and one lovely lady all the way over in the USA) to create cakes and edible installations. Our first project was at The cake & Bake Show in Manchester back in March, where we created the ground-breaking edible walk-in jungle. There is so much to talk about, it’s a whole separate blog post, but just to say, it went down an absolute storm and even at the very end of the final day of the show, the punters were still queuing up to visit! Our work was recognised by the readers of Cake Masters magazine and we were shortlisted in their annual international awards for Best Collaboration. Here is our Finalist notification, along with my main display piece; a vanilla smelling, smoking, fully edible hookah pipe.

Cake Bomb edible jungle finalist best collaboration Cake Masters 2014

Right: edible hookah pipe, photo c/o Cake Bomb

We were honoured to be shortlisted as there have been a huge and amazing array of collaborations this year so competition was incredibly high. However, to our surprise and delight, we actually won! Francesca Pitcher of North Star Cakes was our creative director as this all stemmed from a crazy idea she had one day, and so she had the honour of collecting the award. It was a very emotional experience for us all, but I don’t believe that anyone has quite seen anything like our Welcome to the Jungle installation before or since! I am at the front of the jungle image, just left of centre 🙂

Winner Best Collaboration the jungle cake bomb cake masters magazine

Announcing Cake Bomb as the winner at the 2014 cake Masters magazine awards. Photo c/o Jen’s Just Desserts

And so finally, this brings me onto this week and The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA). This is a prestigious annual awards ceremony open to all businesses in the wedding industry, recognising excellence, customer service and passion for your craft. It has been running for four years now but I have to admit, I have always been too terrified to enter. What makes this awards process different and so highly regarded is that businesses can only be voted for by their clients whose weddings have taken place within the last twelve months. That means that it doesn’t matter how many or few weddings you’ve worked on, it’s all about the reactions of your couples and the quality of your work. It puts everyone on a level playing field, from start ups to well established names. The awards are also divided into regions so future prospective couples can really use the results to pick the best of the best in their area.

The first step was to be shortlisted from all of the entrants in your category for your region, which I was (phew!) and then there was a nail biting week long wait for the North West region awards event at the beautiful Sandhole Oak Barn. I am so thrilled and excited that my name was indeed called and so Cakes by Beth is the Best Wedding Cake Designer in the North West! I have my amazing, generous, wonderful couples to thank for this. without you guys, it wouldn’t have happened! Also a special thank you to some incredibly supportive fellow wedding industry friends, and some cake artist friends too. It truly has been an amazing week!Cakes by Beth Regional winner national finalist TWIA 2015

Here are a few images of me receiving my award and the lovely award itself, along with my TWIA pin badge that I can where with pride. Thank you so much to TWIA for putting on such a fabulous evening, and to the other shortlisted and winning businesses. It proved to be a really supportive, congratulatory, positive atmosphere and something that was really special to be a part of. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Cakes by Beth at TWIA 2015 awards

Interview shot c/o The Wedding Industry Awards

So in conclusion, what an amazing year and thank you so much to everyone who has been there for me! Here’s to an even more amazing 2015!

Until next time,

Beth x