Local cake maker, Hayley Free and her business Hayley’s Cupcakes has won the 20/21 Prestige London & South East Independent Baker’s award.
Hayley started baking as a hobby in 2017 and made cakes for friends and families. The first cake she baked was a Victoria sponge for a family barbecue. She started the business part-time round her job as Dementia and Alzheimer’s carer.
Hayley said, “The feedback from friends and families was really good and more people starting asking me to bake for them. I liked to bake as it was a way to relax from my job. I started posting pictures on social media to see if it could be a business and it has grown from there and it has been my full time job since 2019. As a child I didn’t bake at all and although my Mum was a good cook she couldn’t bake at all. I remember one birthday, when she made me a cake and put the icing on when the cake was still warm and it looked like a flat pancake so I didn’t get my baking hands from her.”
Like all businesses last year, Hayley wasn’t sure whether her business would survive however in June the orders started to come in thick and fast. Hayley commented, “It went really mad. I suppose people were looking for something special for birthdays and other celebrations as they couldn’t go out anywhere. I wanted to give back something for all the orders so I decided to keep some money aside from every order to put towards some laptops for local children. Lots of people were doing things for the NHS but I wanted to do something for education as this is a big, important thing for me. I managed to buy 3 brand new laptops for Gillotts students.”
Hayley’s Cupcakes offers luxury cupcakes which include some amazing and unusual flavours like strawberry milkshake, Ferrero Rocher and peanut butter. Celebration cakes for special occasions whether that be a baby shower, wedding or birthday or perhaps just to celebrate lockdown ending. Cakes can be gluten, wheat or dairy free. She also offers tea sets and cake stands to buy or hire via her website at https://hayleyscupcakes.co.uk
Hayley was nominated by a few people for the award, she was then shortlisted and was delighted that the judging panel chose her business for this year’s award this week. She said, “I’m delighted to win it. I don’t know who nominated me. It makes all your hard work worthwhile and knowing that what you have made has had an impact on people. I’ve never won anything in my life before. I think the award will give recognition for the business and all that it offers.”
Not one for keeping the business just ticking over, Hayley likes to introduce new flavours every few months. She’s currently developing a new key lime pie cup cake. Hayley does however rely on her husband for the tasting side of the business as she is diabetic herself.