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Cupcakes so pretty you wouldn’t want to eat them!

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As a cake stylist, one of Sumaya Lambe’s problems is that people often hesitate to eat her work it’s too pretty. But they soon get over it, and gobble down her cupcake flowers and honeybees, ladybug birthday cakes and other creations.

Ms Lambe started her own cake-making and decorating business, Yummy Cakes, about three years ago, and since then it has really taken off.

“The secret to cake decorating is just having some artistic ability,” said Ms Lambe. “I have always been able to draw. That talent just led to other things.”

As a child she was very interested in art, and would frequently enter art competitions. Once, one of her pictures was sent back because the competition judges did not believe it was the work of a child. But, in high school she fell prey to pressure to go in a different direction.

“Living in Bermuda it is a little stifling creative wise,” she said. “It is hard to find different jobs in art. In high school everything was business-focused. I did two years at Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada studying computer programming and for the first time in my life I didn’t excel academically. I remember sitting in class thinking ‘I need a translator’. I just didn’t think like a computer techie. My desire to obtain financial security clouded my need for a fulfilling career.”

She returned home and eventually decided to finish her education by getting a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mount Saint Vincent in Canada in conjunction with the Bermuda College. She secured various corporate jobs, her last being a corporate administrator and executive secretary.

“Although I performed well in these jobs I was left after a few months feeling stifled, and bored,” she said. “When my daughter, Saraya was born in 2006, I decided to take a cake decorating class with the Community Education programme after making my first cake for my nephew.”

She felt pretty satisfied with her efforts. She started receiving orders almost as soon as she was finished the class, from friends, family and co-workers.

“When my son, Rejun, was born 22 months after my daughter, I remained at home as a homemaker and continued on a larger scale with my baking,” she said. “Five years after taking my first class my talent has grown and developed in ways I never imagined. I just came to the realisation the other day that this has actually become a job. I always thought of it as a hobby and when people ask me where I work, I always say I haven’t worked since my son was born but really I have been.

“I’ve spent so many nights baking and decorating cakes that I can’t even remember. There have even been times when I haven’t slept, perfecting my cakes for a morning delivery. And even though many of my cakes have left me physically tired I have always returned to the mixer and my oven eager to delight the next customer. It’s exciting and rewarding and I enjoy every creative minute.”

And she has found that her business background has helped her set up Yummy Cakes. She can draft invoices and take care of all the financial aspects of running a business.

“Things seem to be running smoothly,” she said. “My cakes range in price. It depends on how much detail is going to be incorporated into the cake, flavour and number of tiers, if any. They are custom made cakes so there is nothing standard about them.”

She said to decorate and make a cake you need a mixer, stove and a lot of different design tools. International Imports on Par-la-Ville Road has a good supply of these tools, she said. Ms Lambe gets ideas for designs from magazines and surfing the internet. She uses her own recipes, and sometimes makes three cakes a day. She offers chocolate, pound cake, fruit cake, coconut, red velvet, and lemon flavours, but she says chocolate and vanilla are by far the most popular requests. She likes to use buttercream and fondant for the icing, buttercream for taste and fondant for the aesthetic appeal.

There are some challenges to making her cakes at home her two children get under her feet; her kitchen is a bit small for large scale baking. Even transporting her creations can be tricky. A speed bump taken too quickly can knock the wings right off a bumblebee bee cupcake. Sometimes the cake slides around in the box.

“I have always been a perfectionist,” she said. “Everything has to be just so. I often go back and do it all over again. Sometimes I have even had to bake a cake all over again. I like to get things right.”

In addition to making cakes, she also does a lot of other cooking in her family.

“I am quite the homemaker,” she said with a laugh. “I cook everything chicken, salmon, traditional Bermuda dishes and some Jamaican and Italian dishes. I made all my children’s baby food. I never purchased a bottle.”

Ask her daughter Saraya, 5, about which of her mummy’s dishes she most likes, and she answers: “cake”. From the mouths of babes ...

Ms Lambe’s ultimate dream is to open her own bakery, selling things like ice cream, cup cakes and cakes. “It is just a matter of finding a good location that has rent that is feasible,” she said.

For more information telephone 799-6292 or e-mail yummycakes.sumaya[AT]gmail.com.

Owner of Yummy Cakes Sumaya Lambe with her daughter Saraya Lambe, 5.(Photo by Akil Simmons) August 23,2011
Some of Sumaya Lambe?s yummy cupcakes.

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Published August 26, 2011 at 11:34 am (Updated August 26, 2011 at 11:34 am)

Cupcakes so pretty you wouldn’t want to eat them!

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