Cake-maker set to retire with fondant memories
SHE has served up an important element of thousands of Island celebrations over the years, but now one of Jersey’s most well known – and best loved – cake makers has announced her retirement.
Ann Pallett, who runs Bake Me A Cake from her home in St Brelade, is hanging up her mixing bowl – and turning off her trusty industrial-sized mixer, nicknamed Merlin.
At her busiest she was fulfilling 13 cake orders a weekend, spending 18-hour days in the kitchen and planning her week with military precision centered on what needed baking/icing/building/decorating when.
She is now winding down to spend more time with her granddaughter and to focus on other hobbies, such as sea glass and pottery art. A vegetarian for 35 years, she has also become a vegan during the past 12 months – a lifestyle that does not sit well with recipes packed full of eggs, butter, cream and chocolate.
Mrs Pallett (58) – a trained chef who started her cooking career serving up chips at the former Harvest Barn pub at Vallée des Vaux – says she will miss being a part of people’s special celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and christenings.
What she won’t miss, however, will be the sleepless nights spent worrying about transporting her creations, the occasional mishap and the odd – albeit rare – bridezilla.
‘I have had accidents with cakes, it is quite nerve-wracking,’ she said. ‘When you are delivering cakes you have to drive with no momentum, and I can have a sleepless night before delivering a cake or cakes – sometimes I was delivering three wedding cakes on one day.
‘To make matters worse I live on a road with three sleeping policemen!’
The mother-of-three, who left school at 16 and studied under Franz Schindler at Highlands College, where she also completed an advanced pastry course and went on to teach herself, added: ‘I have had one cake that has collapsed on me, my heart nearly stopped. But I managed to find a cake in the freezer that was luckily the same size, not the same flavour though, and I was able to re-ice it. Another time I had spent a whole day making these sugar roses and they were stuck on polystyrene. I had to go out and when I came back my dog had eaten all the roses – I could have killed him!’
Her most unusual request has been a cake shaped like a molar tooth, complete with blood, for a local dentist, while favourites have included replicas of La Rocco and Seymour towers on wedding cakes, and a corporate order featuring characters based on all the firm’s directors.
‘I will miss it a lot – it has been a pleasure being part of so many people’s special days,’ she said. ‘But I will still have my granddaughter to make cakes with.’