Beginning early 1980’s to the present day…
In 1980 after leaving school with only 2 ‘O’ Levels (Art & Cookery) with a resume of artwork and fueled with a passion for basic home baking and cake decorating at home with his Mum, David was kindly accepted into Colquit Street Nautical and Catering College in Liverpool, where after 2 years of receiving intensive training from grand masters of bakery, cake decorating, food science and food technology, 16 year old David achieved City and Guilds with Distinctions, as well as receiving student of the year award and was presented with the prestigious Renshaw Cup, plus an all expenses paid scholarship to study at the world famous Richemont Bakery School in Switzerland which is where his childhood dream to one day open his own cake store was finally realised.
In 1983 after spending 2 years working in the bakery industry, an ambitious 19 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 (with the unconditional support of his parents) in late September 1983 he started a very small business called ‘David Cakes’ from a converted spare bedroom at 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, it was not long before David started receiving wedding and celebration cake commissions, as well as being asked to teach his art.
In the early summer of 1984 David Cakes retail cake store opened and David began teaching local students basic cake decorating at his business premises. This was only for a short time as increased demand for bespoke cakes and the evolution of his creative career and phenomenal business success forced him to put his teaching journey on hold.
In 1991 David Cakes embraced the arrival of the internet and launched a brand new website which over time gained both David MacCarfrae and the David Cakes brand national and international recognition with David receiving more and more requests to reveal the secrets of his technique
In 2009 David decided that the timing was right in his career to share his free-hand cake decorating techniques.
After working a 9 hour day, David closed his retail store and set up tables and chairs in the middle of his cake store and weekly training events began with 4 hour basic cake decorating workshops. Due to high demand from students to learn more David then introducing follow-up 1 day and 2 day master class courses during weekends, sharing commercial cake decorating secrets of his trade to hobbyists and beginners.
As the months passed David’s training events gained more and more momentum and increased popularity with not just local, but now national UK students travelling to Liverpool to attend and learn.
David’s cake decorating masterclass courses were made up of a mix of first time cake decorators, owners of small cake decorating businesses and students sponsored by large corporations – all eager to discover the secret of David’s free-hand method of cake decorating while embracing over 30 years of David’s retail cake store business experience, teaching philosophy and unrestricted ‘no rules’ creative mindset.
Understanding the importance of creative innovation, product development, marketing and re-invention to ensure long term business growth were topics David mixed (and still does) into his training programmes, which students embraced, along side learning centuries old free-hand cake decorating techniques he had been passed down from his grand masters during his time at college.
With David having 30 years of retail cake store experience under his belt, students soon realised they had come to the right place!
Besides having the honour of welcoming UK students, David has had the pleasure of welcoming international students who flew into England from all over the world to attend his masterclass courses in Liverpool.
USA | Canada | Argentina | Brazil | Venezuela | Uruguay | Colombia | Mexico | Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates | Oman | Iran | Iraq | Kuwait | Bahrain | Egypt | Turkey | Greece | Israel | Russia | Nigeria | Kenya | Ghana | Zambia | India | Bangladesh | Hong Kong | China | Macau | Japan | Vietnam | Taiwan | Philippines | Sri-Lanka | Malaysia | Brunei | Singapore | Australia | Trinidad & Tobago | Puerto Rico | St Maarten | Maldives | Mauritius | Cuba | Ireland | Iceland | Norway | Sweden | Denmark | Austria | Switzerland | Germany| Italy | Spain | Portugal | Mozambique | Angola | France | Netherlands | Belgium | Poland | Estonia | Lithuania | Latvia | Romania | Hungary | Bulgaria | Croatia | Slovakia | Czech Republic
Within a few months of launching cake decorating courses in Liverpool, international academies and International Corporate Executives from around the world invited David as their international guest of honour to attend cake decorating seminars, VIP corporate events, conventions and charity benefit galas where he showcased his free-hand Royal Icing techniques, presented after dinner speeches and captivated live audiences playing the piano as he performed his original music.
The global experience has also taken David and his assistant Edward to corporate events in Spain, Portugal, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Brunei and the United States of America.
Corporate sponsored events include
The Royal Diamond Jubilee Tea Party – Hong Kong
Royal Brunei Airlines International Executive Convention – China
The Borneo Cake Exploration Tour – Malaysia | Brunei
Futian Shangri-La Hotel Legendary VIP Wedding Fair – China
Hong Kong International Bakery Expo VIP Cocktail Party – Hong Kong
The Americas Cake Show Convention – Florida USA
KINO Cake Decorating Competition – Malaysia
VIP Charity Benefit Gala – Kuching Malaysia
David studied bakery, cake decorating and food technology at ‘Colquitt St. Nautical and Technical Catering College’ in Liverpool.
At the age of 17 David achieved ‘Distinctions’ in City and Guilds and was awarded the ‘The Renshaw Cup’ including an all expenses paid scholarship to attend the world renowned ‘Richemont School of Patisserie’ – Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.
In 1983 David officially started David Cakes business from home and opened his retail cake store in 1984. In 1985 he briefly taught weekly cake decorating classes to his local audience, but only for a few months due to increased demand for his bespoke cake decorating service.
By the end of the 1980’s David’s achievements included making a Royal Wedding Cake for The British Royal Family and receiving many TV and business awards for product innovation and staff training – including ‘The National Training Award’ presented by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
During the early 1990’s fondant coated wedding and celebration cakes started to become more popular in the UK, so David introduced new smooth-edge fondant covered / delicately piped cake designs to his retail cake store collection – with emphasis on retaining his free-hand Royal Icing piping signature style.
Even after the arrival of smooth and simple designs, there was still a very high demand for traditional Royal Icing coated cakes decorated with lavish ornate over-piping resulting in David Cakes product range becoming more diverse and with a wider audience appeal which enabled his business to survive in ever changing times while evolving with fresh innovative challenges and creative ideas that instigated new cake design trends.
Up to this time wedding and celebration cakes were only available in the UK from specialist cake shops and cake decorating materials only available to the bakery industry – but this was about to radically change.
The late 1990’s saw the dawn of UK supermarkets starting to sell mass produced wedding and celebration cakes, but also cake decorating materials. In order to stay ahead and ensure his survival in ever more competitive times of business, David had to re-invent and expand his wedding and celebration cake product range – offering new and exclusive original ideas – not available elsewhere.
In 1998 David introduced palette knife cake painting with Royal Icing to his wedding and celebration cake retail store product range, offering a brand new style of decorated cake which proved very popular with both wedding clientele and the younger generation.
From floral – to landscape – to pop-art and beyond, David had invented a new revolutionary style of Royal Icing creativity.
Over 20 years later from when he created the first prototype palette knife cake painted designs that were proudly showcased in David Cakes retail cake store window, palette knife cake painting is still as popular today as it has ever been.
The 2000’s saw the evolution of cake decorating into the mainstream, popularised by reality TV shows and live competitions.
In 2011, David completed filming in Canada for the now globally successful 13 part reality TV series ‘CAKE WALK’. Upon his return to Liverpool, he felt it was time to revisit to what he loved to do, but had not yet fully fulfilled – his passion for teaching.
Bidding a fond farewell to his retail business, David closed David Cakes cake store in 2012 and embarked on his new full-time teaching journey.
In 2020 now 55 years of age, David may appear to be set in his traditional ways, but he simply believes that besides being a quick and cost effective art-form ideal for commercial business growth, free-hand cake decorating has such a rich history that needs to be preserved for future generations – with a continued high demand from students wishing to learn free-hand techniques, the survival of centuries old art form is looking very positive.