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written by David MacCarfrae
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The Business Story
Styles & Trends
Clients & Cakes
Outside The Cake Box
David Cakes shop first opens it’s doors June 1983
PRESENTED IN SCROLL PAGE FORMAT
with a plastic toy cash register sent as a Christmas gift from his Nan…
Dreaming A Dream
David’s entrepreneurial journey
Childhood to late teens
the year is 1967 and David is truly inspired
On Christmas Day 1967 David opened up his gifts – and two presents stood out from all the rest – one being a battery operated mini keyboard from his Mum and Dad (and so David’s love of playing the piano without reading any music began) and the other present being a plastic toy cash register sent with love from his Nan, who worked in a local fruit and vegetable store in Crosby, 7 miles from Liverpool city centre. David’s toy cash register took prime position on his home-made ‘shop counter’ in the centre of his bedroom, filled with a wide selection of groceries which he was ‘selling’ to anyone who stopped by! In reality the groceries were just empty cardboard packets and boxes of tea, coffee, sugar, biscuits, etc – in fact anything David could get his hands on!
Even though it was still very early days, David’s entrepreneurial spark had been ignited and a dream of running his own business had begun – that in the years to come, would turn into a reality.
During his pre-teen years, as well as helping his Mum make cakes during Saturday bake-offs, David regularly ‘played shop’ by holding jumble sales in his back garden, raising money for local charities, while bringing school friends and families together to help make the day a successful one.
During his teenage years, he was the first boy in school to be allowed to attend domestic science (cookery) classes. Leaving school with only 2 ‘O’ levels (receiving grade ‘A’ for both art and domestic science) David was accepted to attend an intensive 2 year training course at Colquitt Street College in Liverpool, where he achieved City and Guilds with ‘Distinctions’ in free-hand cake decorating, bakery and food technology, as well as receiving ‘Student of The Year’ award and presented with the prestigious Renshaw Cup, along with an all expenses paid scholarship to attend the world famous Richemont Bakery and Confectionery School overlooking Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.
David Cakes bespoke cake supply business
From home to the high street
the time is the right time
In late 1982 after working various apprenticeships in the bakery industry, an ambitious 18 year old David MacCarfrae quit his full-time bakery job in London and headed back to Liverpool in order to pursue his dream. Unemployed but very determined, David started a very small business called ‘David Cakes’ from his family home. Working with his Mum Hilda, the ambitious business partners showcased a small collection of wedding cake designs at many local bridal fairs and it was not long before David started receiving bespoke cake commissions. In the spring of 1983 as cake orders continued to escalate, Mum Hilda wanted her home back! – and it was time to search for a business operations location, allowing David to finally make his cake shop dream official.
A spacious two storey premises in College Road Crosby was selected as the ideal location, with a private car park, easy store access for clients and away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. For the next three months, David along with the unconditional support of his Mum, Dad and friends worked day and night, converting the shop premises into (what in time became dubbed by the 1980’s local and national newspapers) “Alexis Carrington’s ‘DYNASTY’ Cake Boudoir with exquisite decor set in luxurious surroundings inspired by the USA 1980’s hit TV series” – David’s cake shop decorated with powdered blue satin wallpaper, satin drapes and Gold leaf Italian furniture while boasting over 50 wedding cakes on permanent display (to browse with no obligation) soon became the centre of attention in Liverpool, being the first ever cake store of it’s kind, realistically ahead of it’s time – offering originality, creative cake design innovation, pampering clients (with Champagne and cake) along with a second to none bespoke customer service gaining both local and national recognition, securing David Cakes long-term business success and future.
‘Hilda’ – David Cakes marketing power-house !
Supported by his Dad Roy (who took care of the accounts) David’s Mum Hilda marketed David Cakes at every opportunity, going from strength-to-strength, creating opportunities for David and his team to decorate cakes for beautiful brides and grooms, as well as celebrities and British Royalty. Fearless, determined and tenacious, Hilda was on a mission for David Cakes and her son’s own business success, ultimately achieving national recognition for the Liverpool based business which was rewarded with multi-business awards from both television and The National Training Awards council, presented to David Cakes by His Royal Highness The Duke of Westminster. During the 1990’s David Cakes expanded through franchising, resulting in three other David Cakes shops opening in The North West of England and in 1993 Hilda personally received ‘Business Woman of the Year’ award which was a testament to her personal success and business achievements.
David personally salutes his Mum Hilda
“I thank you my wonderful Mum for giving me your unconditional support, wisdom and guidance through all of my life. We have shared truly incredible adventures together, working side by side from the very beginning, making what we considered ‘impossible dreams’ become a reality! It was my you who initially rang Buckingham Palace and promoted her son’s passion for cake decorating art, which ultimately gave me the opportunity to create not just one, but three Royal Cakes for the British Royal Family. Yes! – YOU!! – my humble Mum, who without your belief, energy and dedication, I would not be here today, now celebrating my own business success. Love you Mum – always – X”
Read news stories of the day…
exclusively for The British Royal Family
delivered and set up by David in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle
In February 1986 David had the honour of making The Royal Engagement Cake for The Duke of York Prince Andrew and Miss Sarah Ferguson which on request he delivered to Buckingham Palace where it was presented to the Royal Couple who expressed their delight with the cake.
In July 1986 David had the honour of making The Royal Wedding Cake for The Duke of York Prince Andrew and Miss Sarah Ferguson . The six tier Royal Icing design, adorned with a trail of fresh flowers, was inspired by the society wedding styles of the late 19th century. David was requested to deliver and set up the cake at Buckingham Palace where it was viewed by Her Majesty The Queen and all of the Royal Family and their guests during The Wedding Breakfast.
In June 1999 David had the honour of making The Royal Wedding Cake for His Royal Highness Prince Edward and Miss Sophie-Reece Jones. Inspired by the location of The Royal Wedding being Windsor Castle, which was built in the year 1086, David created a very ornate medieval style 6 tiered free hand decorated Royal Icing design that stood over 8 feet tall. Buckingham Palace requested David to deliver the Royal creation to Windsor Castle where he was greeted by His Royal Highness Prince Edward who watched as David set up The Royal Wedding Cake in the medieval surroundings of St. Georges Hall. David personally received a letter from Buckingham Palace who expressed the Royal Prince and his Royal Bride’s delight with the design.
David Cakes Royal Wedding Cake stories were featured extensively in both local and national press, as well on local TV and in HELLO! Magazine Official Royal Wedding Souvenir Issue
Royal letters from Buckingham Palace…
Cake Shop Refurbishment
A brand new look
For the new millennium
Even though England experienced a national recession in the 1980’s and during the 1990’s, more and more cake shops started to open up in Liverpool as well as the whole of the UK, David Cakes stayed focused and continued to be very successful – with a regular stream of new clients commissioning a first time wedding or celebration cake, as well as commissions from loyal couples returning after their wedding, now requesting a christening cake, then a future celebration cakes for their children – and in time, cakes for their sons or daughters wedding and so on. Celebrity pop star, soap star and footballers weddings also continued to flourish. New business opportunities arrived which were either embraced or declined. All in all, it was a very good time.
During the 1990’s David Cakes expanded the company and recruited a larger workforce in order help keep up with the high demand for David’s designs. As the years evolved, business continued with great success and product growth through supplying national hotels and restaurants with customised gift cakes, as well as opening three other David Cakes cake shop franchises, located in both Merseyside and Lancashire in The North West of England.
As the new millennium began, David Cakes entered into it’s 18th year of trading. Embracing social media such as Facebook and YouTube, David Cakes started to attract a global audience. David produced all his own videos which he always said were “experimental and very amateur, but got ‘the message’ out there!” What David didn’t realise was the global audience was mostly cake decorators wanting to learn his free-hand cake decorating techniques and secrets of his business success.
In 2012, due to high demand David Cakes teaching journey began which took David and his team on a global cake decorating journey around the world – but that’s another story!
David takes his business on a new exciting journey
embarking on new adventures with Edward and Gosia
In 2002 David’s Dad Roy tragically lost his battle with cancer and Hilda felt it was time for her to retire from David Cakes and walk a different path with her life.
Becoming very much involved with helping the homeless and many charities, she also embraced her favourite pastime – good old fashioned home-baking.
David adds “We all miss Dad dearly and think about him every day. Mum’s now 82 years old, still looking great and baking those delicious home-made cakes!!
which I truly enjoy sampling! – hence me now being on my latest diet!”
Select a photo below and discover more…
showcasing bespoke creations 1982 – 2012
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