#cakershour, All Content, Blog

What’s New on Mr Baker’s Cakes: The Blog?

Hey cake chums!

I thought I’d just drop by and quickly fill you in on what has been happening at Mr Baker’s Cakes HQ since my last update, this time last week. Like most of you, I am still isolating at home (other than going into school to provide childcare for the children of essential key workers), but I have been managing to keep myself pretty busy with a whole host of cake and baking-themed projects.

I know that many of you will have seen bits and pieces on social media, but if your timelines are anywhere near as busy as mine are at the moment, it can be easy to miss things. So to make things a bit easier, I thought I would just round everything up into one conveniently digestible blog post for you. Let’s get stuck in…

 

Renshaw Facebook Live

Renshaw Facebook Live - Mr Baker's Cakes

On Friday last week, I was invited to takeover Renshaw’s Facebook page to complete a live cake decorating challenge. To celebrate the release of the recently relaunched Renshaw Icing Multipacks and inspired by my live Christmas Cake Decorate-along back in December, Renshaw challenged me to decorate a cake in a theme chosen by one of their subscribers.

With only about an hour’s notice of the chosen theme, I’d like to think that I managed to pull something reasonably respectable together, but I’ll let you be the ultimate judge of that.

Renshaw Facebook Live - Mr Baker's Cakes' Bunny Cake

As always with Mr Baker’s Cakes live videos, it was a little bit fraught and a little bit rushed, but definitely a lot of fun. If you missed it, you can watch it back over on the Renshaw Facebook page now – find it at this link.

 

Mr Baker’s Cake School – Episode 2: Scones

Friday also saw the release of episode 2 of my brand-new YouTube series, Mr Baker’s Cake School and we were tackling scones.

Episode 2 of Mr Baker’s Cake School - thumbnail

While they might be everyone’s favourite element of the quintessential afternoon tea, scones can be tricky little customers to get just right, but thanks to a couple of top tips in this week’s video, you should find that all your future scones come out as perfectly as can be…

Mr Baker's Cakes - Finished Scones

I have already received some wonderful feedback from those of you who have baked along with last week’s episode, so thank you so much for getting in touch. And be sure to keep the photos of your bakes coming – you never know, you might just see them pop up in a future video…

And if you haven’t watched epsidoe 2 of Mr Baker’s Cake School yet, you can watch it here.

 

Kenwood Care Package

#KenwoodCarePackage - feaured

In lieu of a new issue of Something Sweet magazine on Sunday, I published a blog post letting you know all about how Kenwood are encouraging those of us who are baking at home to bring a smile to the most vulnerable members of our local communities.

As well as publishing a whole host of fun and easy recipes for you to bake at home and running regular Facebook Live sessions over on their page, in support of their charity of the year for 2020, Kenwood have pledged to donate £1 to Mind for every photo of your bakes that you share on social media with the hashtag, #KenwoodCarePackage.

If you would like to know more about the Kenwood Care Package campaign, you can find the full blog at this link.

 

What’s next?

As I teased in last week’s blog post, I am still hard at work on a selection of tutorials, including a really fun wedding cake project that I have called the Family Affair Doodle Cake. I’ll leave you to see if you can work out what this might mean…

Of course, this Friday will also see another brand-new episode of Mr Baker’s Cake School and, in honour of Good Friday, we’re baking Hot Cross… somethings. Well actually, it’s up to you! I am running a poll over on my YouTube community tab right now and you need to choose whether you would like to tackle traditional Hot Cross Buns, or something a little bit less technical, in the form of Hot Cross Muffins – all the flavours of a Hot Cross Bun, with quite a bit less of the effort.

To cast your vote, head to this link now! And be quick, the vote closes this time tomorrow!

 

Twitter #cakershour

Finally, you may have seen in last week’s #cakershour preview that I was debating suspending our weekly get togethers until after the lockdown is lifted and our businesses can resume trading. I put the suggestion to the group during last week’s session and the response was unanimously to keep them going as a weekly social for now. So that is exactly what we will be doing… 🙂

#cakershour with Mr Baker's Cakes

Saying that, I must confess that I am not able to attend tomorrow, as I am otherwise occupied. However, I am delighted to announce that the lovely Thirzah Slater of Cakey Goodness will be stepping in as your guest host for this week’s session (Thank you, Thirzah!).

I’m sure all of the regulars will all be in attendance too, so if you haven’t been able to join us until now, please do not worry… they will make you more than welcome – and hopefully I will be able to swing by for some of the chat at least…

Whilst we will be using #cakershour as a weekly social event, we will not be having a weekly business-focused theme, but we will still use some key questions just to focus our conversations and keep things moving. You can check out a sneaky preview of this week’s questions below…

Easter Week with Thirzah Slater:

Q1 What have you been baking or caking this week?

Q2 Are you planning any special cakes or bakes for the Easter weekend?

Q3 Are there any Easter bakes that you would love to have a go at and would like a recipe or tutorial recommendation?

Q4 What is your favourite Easter treat to either bake, eat or both and why?

Q5 Do you fancy another baking challenge?

I do hope you will be able to join us for #cakershour – we meet every Wednesday from 9pm-10pm over on Twitter – just search the hashtag #cakershour to get involved…

 

But anyway, there you have it… you are all caught up! As always, please do keep in touch and keep sharing the results of your baking adventures with me. You can connect with me on Facebook here, Twitter here and on Instagram here. And if you fancy becoming a part of the cake chums community, why not join the Cake Chums – with Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group at this link.

I do hope you are all keeping safe and well out there and, until next time… happy caking!

xx

#cakershour, All Content, Blog

This week’s #cakershour…

Hey #cakershour chums!

I do hope you will be able to join me for this week’s Twitter #cakershour this evening.

If you have yet to bite the bullet and give it a go, you can find all of the info you need to get started in our original launch post from a few weeks ago.

This week's #cakershour - thumbnail

As the lockdown continues and with most of our businesses closed for the time being, I can fully appreciate that you may be thinking that online professional networking and development are rather moot at the moment. Our numbers were definitely dwindling last week!

However, thanks to Matt (@mattfclarke1971) challenging us all to master macarons, I didn’t want to leave you in the lurch this week at least, so we will still be meeting up as planned tonight to see how we all got on (I still haven’t attempted my nut variation batch yet – that’s this afternoon’s mission).

While we’re together, we can then decide as a group if we want to continue using the hour as a social tool for now, or whether we would rather stick a pin in it and pick it back up once the lockdown is over.

As such, there will be no set theme for this week’s #cakershour, but I will still use some focus questions just to keep us on track if that’s ok…

Q1 Did you take part in @mattfclarke1971’s #cakershour macaron challenge? If so, how did you get on? And which recipe did you use?

Q2 What else have you been baking and caking this week to keep you busy? (How are you doing for ingredients? Have your supply lines settled down now or are you down to the dregs?)

Q3 Have you watched any tutorials or Facebook/Instagram Lives that you think we should all check out?

Q4 What are you planning on baking/caking this week?

Q5 Do you want to continue with #cakershour as a social get together for now or would you rather stick a pin in it until after the lockdown is lifted (whenever that may be)?

 

Again, I do hope that you will be able to join us over on Twitter for this week’s #cakershour (every Wednesday at 9pm) and I look forward to catching up with you all…

And remember, stay safe, stay indoors and, until next time… happy caking!

x

cakershour thumbnail
All Content, Blog

Welcome to #cakershour…

Hey #cakechums!

Earlier this week, as you will have seen in my previous post, I attended The Cake Professionals Conference, during which, I attended an intensive coaching session called ‘Be Your Own PR Agent’, led by Kate Beavis of Your Vintage Life.

Kate Beavis - Your Vintage Life

During the workshop, Kate talked about the awesome networking properties available on Twitter, which regular readers will know that I have also written about at length in the past. In fact, for the longest of times, I have been a huge advocate of the power of Twitter for both professional networking and professional development opportunities and I think it would be fair to say that many of the amazing opportunities that I have had during my caking career, from appearing on The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice through to opportunities to collaborate with brands and organisations, have come my way through interactions that primarily started on Twitter.

During Kate’s workshop, I actually verbalised the fact that, in my experience, many cakers do not seem to use Twitter particularly religiously, which seemed to resonate with the rest of the group. As a result, I thought it might finally be time to get started on a project that I have been thinking about for the longest of times now.

#cakershour promo image1

With regards to Twitter in particular, I am incredibly aware that when you first join the platform, it can seem a little bit tricky to wrap your head around so many aspects of it.

Who should I be following? How do I get people to see my tweets? How do hashtags work? How do I get people to follow me and to interact with me? How can I use this time productively to actually grow my business and develop my professional network?

With so many perceived obstacles, I can completely understand why so many people are discouraged from persevering with it.

I am incredibly lucky that I joined Twitter right in the early days of the site (thanks to my brother) and, although I initially used it purely for personal social networking, these early experiences made the transition to setting up a professional account an awful lot easier to do, particularly as I was able to bring a lot of my followers with me.

However, alongside this, in the early days of Twitter, one of the best ways that I found to expand my professional and social networks on the platform was to join in with weekly hashtag events, such as #bakershour, #cupcakehour and so on.

With that in mind, I thought it might be useful to launch a brand-new weekly networking opportunity for cake professionals (and keen amateurs too) over on Twitter, which will hopefully allow us to connect with each other, break down some of the initial barriers to getting started on the platform and hopefully let us have some fun at the same time!

#cakershour promo image2

To get involved, you will obviously need a Twitter account and I would suggest that you have a profile purely dedicated to your business. If you already have a personal account, set up another one. As with all aspects of PR and marketing, you want your Twitter to tell people who you are, what you do and where you do it, and a dedicated profile will do that far better. Your username should be as close to your business name as it can be (hopefully without a gazillion numbers after it) and if you can match it to your other platforms (e.g. Instagram), even better.

Mr Baker's Cakes - Twitter Profile

This is what my profile looks like and, although I am not suggesting for a moment that mine is a perfect example, you will see that it does indeed give you a very quick overview of who I am, what I do and where I do it. It also links people to my website (quite literally WHERE I do what I do) and I also have a picture of me DOING what I do. Cake pics are great and all, but personally, I like to see who I am chatting to, so I would suggest a profile picture of yourself – a headshot or similar – and then use the pictures of your fabulous cake creations as your profile header.

Once you are set up on the platform, be sure to come and find me – my username is @mrbakerscakes.

The next thing will be to come and get involved in #cakershour.

My plan is that we will meet one evening a week – on Twitter – for an hour… (hence #cakershour) giving us all a chance to get to know similar businesses in our industry and build our professional networks by connecting with them. In fact, it is important to note that all of my discussions here are about building your professional network. I don’t advocate Twitter as a tool for finding customers – save that for Facebook and Instagram.

The structure of the #cakershour will be fairly loose to begin with, to let us get to know each other and allow you guys to get used to the Twitter platform, but my plan is that each week will have a theme (which I hope you guys will begin to suggest as we move forward) and I will share some discussion points in advance, in the form of questions, to allow us to structure our sessions effectively.

These will allow you guys to share your own knowledge and experiences within the industry and hear advice from others too. It’ll be important to interact with each other – don’t just talk about your own experiences, but comment on others as well – ask questions, share your thoughts and opinions on situations and hopefully make some new friends and form some new professional networks in the process. You will be able to follow as many or as few of those taking part as you want to, building relationships, which will hopefully encourage you to continue using the platform in between our weekly #cakershour sessions too.

Where possible, I will try and encourage other organisations which may be able to provide useful perspectives and insights on key topics (such as marketing, working with the press/media, legal issues, etc.) to come and join in, but I am keen to not be too prescriptive about what each weekly session will look like, as, like all of the best social media content, I want it to be something that grows and develops organically, responding to the needs of the group as a whole.

That is pretty much my vision for #cakershour. What do you think? Does it sound like something that you would find useful to help you grow your business? I do hope so! To get started, we will first need to agree a suitable day of the week and a time that we think this would work for as many of us as possible.

My initial thought was to hold #cakershour at 9:00pm, every Wednesday evening as this will mean that most of us will (hopefully) have stopped work for the night, the children will be in bed and it will be a chance to wind down and just have a good chat before retiring ourselves… what do people think?

If that doesn’t work for the majority, then let me know ASAP, as once we have the date and time locked down, I will be able to announce the details of our first session (including a quick video introduction to Twitter for any of you who would like a bit more guidance on how to get started on the platform).

I do hope that #cakershour is something that can really take off and really capture the same spirit of connection and collaboration that we were able to see at The Cake Professionals Conference earlier this week, because, as Henry Ford said:

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

So yes, get in touch, let me know if Wednesdays at 9:00pm works for you and hopefully I will see you there…

Until next time, happy caking!