GCSE Food Technology - Cakes

We have received a number of requests for information from students studying the above course. The following details - we hope - will help answer the majority of your questions.

Don't forget to explore the rest of our site for any additional information.

You are always welcome to visit either of our shops to see the cakes on display, view our portfolios and see the vast range of equipment now available to sugar crafters and cake decorators.


Background Information.

Imaginative Icing was established in 1986 by Janice Springall when she opened her first shop in Scarborough expanding later to larger premises at 22 Falsgrave Rd. She expanded again opening a second shop in York on Fishergate, moving in 1994 to Lendal in York (opposite the main post office).

Imaginative Icing specialises in creating high quality celebration and wedding cakes with a difference. They also stock everything you can think of for decorating cakes (and probably some you wouldn't) from the traditional cake frills, candles and mottos to more specialist items such as cutters, moulds and stencils.

Our friendly and helpful staff are all experienced in cake decorating and are always willing to provide advice and assistance to our customers.

Tins and stands are available to hire. In addition a full range of Wedding Favour nets, almonds, boxes and accessories are stocked.

Window displays are always kept interesting as well as topical, when ever possible, most recently the York window played host to a 3D caricature of Gordon Brown as part of the ECOFIN summit held in York. Also during the world cup '98 Des Lynam and the popular fantasy football team of Badiel & Skinner, plus a large J.R. world cup, graced our windows.

Our aim is to inspire those who think they can only manage snow peaks and use cake frills, to try something more original such as the roll out sugar pastes and use the simpler cutters or stencils. Once most people have tried these things they realise how creative they can be!


Previously asked questions and their answers.

Q What sort of cakes do you use ?

A Victoria Sponge and Fruit Cake


Q Which is the most popular amongst customers ?

A Equally popular


Q Do you bake your own cakes?

A Yes


Q In the case of sponge cakes - are they baked in advance and frozen, bought in or baked prior to


A The sponge cakes are baked prior to decorating.


Q What types of icing do you use?

A Sugar paste (roll out icing), Marzipan, Royal Icing, Buttercream (for filling the sponge cakes), Flower paste and Pastilage(for flowers etc...)


Q Which of the above is used the most ?

A Sugar paste.


Q Do you specialise in any type of cake (eg Wedding)?

A No we do cakes for any occasion, Weddings, Birthdays, Christenings, Engagement, Corporate, Anniversary, Halloween, Christmas etc...


Q What is the most popular range of cakes that you do through-out the year?

A Birthday Cakes - Adult & Children

Wedding Cakes , Corporate Cakes


Q Apart from white, as a cake covering, what is the next most popular colour you use?

A Ivory


Q Do you make Novelty Cakes?

A Yes


Q Are they 2-D (baked in a shaped tin) or 3-D(cut and built into shape) ?

A Both


Q Do you have a range of designs or do you do customised cakes only?

A Both


Q What are your range of prices?

A Childrens Cakes from ................ £20.00 (sponge)

Novelty Cakes from ................... £20.00 (sponge)

Celebration Cakes from ............. £28.00 (6" fruit) £23.00 (6" sponge)

Wedding Cakes from.................. £174.00 (for 10", 8" & 6" fruit cakes)

These prices are correct as at August 1998 and will vary according to the exact design etc requested


Q When is your busiest time of the year?

A For cakes it is July/August/September and in the shop it is the Christmas period


Q Do you have any automation to help you?

A Yes we have a large catering mixer and a large catering oven, but as we do not mass produce anything we do not have any other automation.


Q On average what time do you allow for ordering cakes?

A Birthday and Celebration Cakes = 2 weeks minimum

Wedding Cakes = 6 weeks minimum


Q Do you take on extra staff at busy times?

A No, we just work longer hours


Q How many cakes do you decorate in an average week?

A approximately 30


Q How many cakes on average can you decorate in a busy week?

A approximately 40


Q Do you hire cake tins?

A Yes, we also hire cake stands.


Q What is the most popular tin hired?

A The traditional Square and Round followed by the Hexagonal and numeral frames.


Q How do people obtain their finished cakes?

A The majority of our customers collect their cakes, however, for wedding cakes we do offer a delivery service.


Q What do you use to pack your finished cakes in?

A White Card Cake Boxes.


Q Are the card boxes all the same shape and do they have see through lids?

A Yes they are all square and they are customised to fit the cakes that won't fit in them

They do not have see through lids.


New Questions Sept 1998

Q: Where do you get your ideas for novelty cakes from: are they just thought up or are they planned for a target consumer to fill a hole in the market?

A: All our cakes are made to each individual customers order. We don't do a large batch in a single design because we are a specialist cake shop & hand craft all cakes to order. Designs are our own based on what the customer requires, the shops have several cake dummys on display to give customers some idea of the finished product. The shop window has more cakes on display plus some original designs to do with the current events going on at the time.

Q: Which ideas are more marketable than others?

A: Pretty cakes, Cute bears/mice etc.., Well known Characters, Traditional and...for the more adult taste...the more saucy the idea the better.


Q: How do you decide what flavour a cake with a chosen design will be?

A: This is down to the customers choice.


Q: Which ingredients are best for cake decoration and why?

A: VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE - Better than a light 'cream cake' sponge as it keeps its shape when cut & then covered in sugarpaste. Fatless sponges, the ones used for cream cakes, just get squashed under the weight of the icing.

FRUIT CAKE - Is even more stable and keeps its shape better without squashing, ideal for shaped cakes as marzipan can be added for the finer detail and left to dry before covering in sugarpaste

MARZIPAN - An almond based paste, comes in various types, ideal for covering fruit cakes or tasty hand crafted models for the tops of cakes.

ROYAL ICING - an Icing sugar & albumin based icing, gives a light, and very flat surface to marzipaned cakes ideal for the more traditional cakes. Used on other cakes for piping decorations and writing inscriptions (happy birthday etc..) onto the finished cake surface.

SUGARPASTE - A Icing sugar & gum based paste, also called roll out icing. Easy to mould, shape, colour and roll out and you don't have to wait for the sugarpaste to dry before finishing the final decoration on the cake. Also you can add gum tragacanth to it so that it will dry harder for modelling with.


Q: Can you tell me anything about the design process of a novelty cake. From original idea to production for the shop ?

A: The thought process goes something like this.....

1. How many people is it to feed?..How big does it have to be?...What occassion is it for?....what type of cake base is wanted?...How long have we got to make it?

2. What is their idea?...Is it stood, sat, sleeping, flying, swimming, eating, an inanimate object (computer/car etc..), do we have any reference material?, is it feasable in cake?

3. What is the basic shape?....does it need supporting?....do any bits need prefabricating before adding to the cake?....is it going to travel a long distance before being delivered?....What colours are needed?....How many & what colour candles?....What shape & how big a board is required?

4. How big a box is needed?....Is the customer collecting the cake? or are we delivering it?.....Does it fit into the car / taxi / van?

5. Can they afford the design?...Can they leave a 50% deposit?

Back to Introduction .....WEDDING CAKES ......CELEBRATION CAKES ......GIFT ITEMS ....SUGARCRAFT .....RECIPES ......WINDOW DISPLAYS ......OFFICE ......LINKS .....Sign GuestBook