WHEN requests poured in for eggless cakes this Longwood woman rose to the challenge.
Sharon Blackburn set up her own cake business – the Sugar Velvet Cake Company – just over a year ago.
And now the mum-of-three is now cooking up a storm with the latest craze for cakes made without egg.
Popular among the vegan community, Sharon said a large portion of her cakes are made without the traditional ingredient.
She said: “When I first started the business, I wanted to do every single type of cake and I had a couple of enquiries for vegan cakes, which call for no dairy products.
“I developed a couple of recipes for vegan and some for eggless, which are particularly popular among the Asian community.
“I would now say that 30% of my orders are for eggless cakes.
“Over time I have developed the recipes.
“Egg is part of the reason the cake rises and so I have had to find alternative rising agents by experimenting.
“Often I use condensed milk with additional ingredients like bicarbonate of soda.
“A chocolate cake lends itself best to being eggless, such as the entirely Belgian chocolate cake.
“But for vegan cakes I have to use no dairy at all, so without giving away too many secrets, I use oil or other forms of fat with raising agents.
“The alternatives can be better and suit those who suffer with the smallest of intolerances.”
The 42-year-old waited until her children were old enough to set up the business.
With her eldest child now aged 16, she has built a separate self-contained kitchen within her home and makes around six celebration cakes a week.
She is particularly busy at the moment, as the wedding season is from May to September.
She continued: “A self-contained kitchen was necessary as the family kitchen didn’t really lend itself to intricate cake making.
“I have spent years reading about cake design and have had books sent from Germany, France and all over.
“It is very rare to be able to sculpt a cake just from Belgian chocolate and that type of work is not seen outside of London.
“I love making them; it combines my love of art and baking. Finding all these wonderful alternatives is always a challenge.”
To find out more about Sharon’s unusual recipes visit www.sugarvelvetcakecompany.co.uk