Hello all, hope you’re having a lush Sunday? You know that splendid Bolton Food Festival which was on a few weeks ago? Well, I managed to catch up with the inimitable and thoroughly fabulous Rose Dummer. In spite of her young years, she’s something of a baking legend. Her work has been showcased on Graham Norton and her most recent headline bake was Kimmy, the stunning cakey elephant for Bolton Food Festival’s 10th birthday celebrations. The entire construction was edible, from the elephant legs to the cakes atop Kimmy’s head. Day4_0006 I was lucky to taste the cake and be present at both cake cuttings (by festival and housewives favourite, James Martin and that witty chappy that is John Torode). The cake was yum and the decoration realistic and awe-inspiring. As promised, here’s the Q&A, where you’ll get to know more about Rose and what really makes her tick. Enjoy!

You were previously an airline pilot, how did you become the baking aficionado that you are today?

Rose: Oh, it was all because of my kids. I think it’s the way a lot of us start out. I left the army to have a family and as the birthdays went by the cakes got better.

What would you say to aspiring bakers wanting to get into baking?

Rose: Aspiring bakers and decorators have never had it so good. There is so much information and inspiration online that there is no end to what they can create. I would always advise people to start with the basics though. Get the basics right and you can get more adventurous as your confidence builds.

The 10th annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Victoria Square, Bolton, Lancashire. Celebrity chef James Martin cuts into the 10th anniversary cake with maker Rosie Dummer. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday August 31, 2015.
The 10th annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Victoria Square, Bolton, Lancashire. Celebrity chef James Martin cuts into the 10th anniversary cake with maker Rosie Dummer. Picture by Paul Heyes, Monday August 31, 2015.

Are there any courses or degrees that you could recommend? Your Craftsy Cake Toppers looks totally fab!

Rose: Oh I LOVED filming my Craftsy course. It was a fantastic platform to make sure that I was getting all the relevant information across. It means that you can be sure that students are getting comprehensive tuition and they can interact with you too. YouTube is a great source too. If you follow someone who knows what they are doing, you can learn so much. I have YouTube followers from around the globe as well, so it is really exciting. If people want more hands on tuition, there are great college courses which cover the basic baking and decorating skills and there are also branches of the Sugarcraft Guild all over the country. There is a huge amount of knowledge and experience that is shared by these societies, it’s just a case of doing your research.

with Michael Caines

What do you feel like when you bake (are you happy, relaxed, sad)?

Rose: I have mixed feelings when I make a cake. The sort of cakes I create, come with a lot of pressure and usually time constraints. It’s usually a race to the finish because I have limited time in which to work with the ingredients. I often wish I had more time for the decorating side of it. But I am usually thrilled at the result and at the reaction. It makes it all worth it.


What is your favourite cake in the whole wide world?

Rose: Chocolate Orange Cake (that was easy!!).

What cakes would you serve for an afternoon tea?

Rose: Oooooh! Lemon Drizzle Cake is great for afternoon tea. Nice and fresh and tangy! And easy to make too!

Your Kimmy elephant cake was one hell of a showstopper. How did that come to be (whose idea was it, how long did it take to bake, decorate, how did you transport it, etc.)?

Rose: Bolton Council had seen my Christian Grey cake on the Graham Norton show and asked if I could make a showstopper for them. The elephant is known by Boltonians as a symbol of the town. It features on the coat of arms and elephants even appear around the town occasionally, so together with the council I designed the elephant with the food tower as a nod to the food festival which was having its 10th birthday this year. I had to source pre-prepared cake for the body of the elephant due to the time constraints and we estimate that a whopping 700 hours went into making and decorating the creation. Transport was always an issue from the start. We have experience at transporting big cakes and know that you have to plan very carefully. The base board was fitted with castors and a lowering tailgate vehicle was used to transport the main body. The top section was detachable but an intricate metal frame with lifting poles had to be designed so that it could be carried without destroying the icing. I would say that transportation presents us with the toughest dilemmas when dealing with big cakes.


What else do we have to look forward to from the great Rose Dummer?

Rose: That’s so sweet, thank you! I am preparing for the main cake shows now, as I will be in the classrooms at the Cake And Bake Show (London and Manchester). I will be presenting the Cake Masters Magazine Awards (Cake Oscars) at the NEC in Manchester. That means I have a little break without big cakes for a few months. (Phew!!!)

To find out more about Rose and her gorgeous creations, hop onto her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/rosieoriginals.

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A. I’ve got lots of fab foodie features coming up, so keep your eyes peeled on this blog. See you soon!