Tracy Desmond from Trace of Cakes took home a bronze Blas na hEireann award in 2015 for her Chocolate Biscuit Cake Pieces. You can find out more on www.traceofcakes.ie or to find out more more details on this and our other winners and finalists in our 2015 directory
When & why did you start your business?
I started my business just 3 yrs ago. I was a stay at home mum of 3 wonderful children. I had baked a decorated a birthday cake for my partner Kevin at the time, this was my first attempt, and it turned out pretty good. From that moment, my life completely changed. Kevin paid for all of my many courses, bought me my first mixer and tools required, and it all went from there. We converted our garage here at home, so I could work day and night. My family were a huge help to me, in every way. And before I knew it, my business had started. Word quickly spread, and within 3 yrs I find myself some weeks unable to cope with the orders and interest in what I do. Within the last year, I have received my very proud Blas na hEireann award for my favourite chocolate biscuit cake. And also caught the eye of Lisa Cannon from TV3’s Xposé , in which I got the amazing opportunity to travel (with her wedding cake) all the way to Italy. It has opened huge doors for me, and now I’m making cakes for Neil Prendeville on occasion. As well as a great review from chef Kevin Dundon and Rachel Allen. The sky is the limit!
Who is your food inspiration?
My food inspiration has to be all of my great ‘caker’ friends around Ireland. They are a great support to me. The talent for baking and Sugarcraft here in Ireland is 5 star. And they rarely get the acknowledgement they truly deserve. But Ron Ben-Israel is one of the greats! But I also have such fond memories baking with my Dad when I was young. The typical ‘licking the spoon’ of cake batter, is definitely the most enjoyable. Both Mum and Dad are very hard workers, but always find time to make the most beautiful food and desserts. I get my drive from them absolutely.
What do you love about your job?
Every single part really. I work 24 hrs a day practically! Some nights I am still working until 5am, finishing wedding cakes and orders but the pleasure of seeing someone’s face light up when they come to collect cakes is priceless. It’s such a great feeling to get that reaction from someone, when knowing I created the piece from scratch with my own two hands.
What is your typical day?
A typical day starts for me at 10 am. But most days, I can be found still decorating and baking away until the early hours
What was your best day since you started this business?
My best day was on September 4th last year, when I was with Lisa Cannon and Richard Keatley when they finally saw the finished cake I had made for their wedding in Florence. It was a great journey for me and Kevin (my now fiancé). We drove the whole way to Florence with the cake. It was a fabulous drive, right through France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, stopping off at all of the great sights on the way. But the surroundings of the Castello De Vincigliatta in the hills of Florence, where the wedding was held, was definitely the most enjoyable part. Lisa and I have become great friends since, and I’m sure I will be making cakes for her for every occasion from now on 🙂
What three words would you use to describe yourself/your business?
Passionate, hard working, artistic
What do you think is the key to success?
The key to success is without doubt having to be willing to work the very long hours and to enjoy it. Taste is a huge part, so playing around with new flavours, and not stopping until it’s the best. Taking on board customers needs, and appreciating every day at such a wonderful job. Well, I don’t call it a job, it’s more of a ‘love’ really.
Has there ever been one single moment which has changed how you look at your business?
The moment I received an award for the taste of my product had to be a turning point for my business, it was such an incredible feeling, and has driven me to achieve even better in 2016
Myself and Kevin are getting married this year. He is certainly my rock, he helps me in every way, baking, mixing, cleaning and accepting my ridiculous working hours. In fact, he never goes to bed until I finish, no matter what time in the morning. He’s there with me 100%. And if course, my family, mum, dad and sisters Carol and Deirdre. Without them, my business would not be functioning at all. I’m a very lucky girl.
I will of course be making my own wedding cake, and delivering it too. I know it will have to be spectacular. The pressure is on, and there is already huge interest as to how it is going to look. I really can’t wait to start it. Kevin is going to help me bake it and I might leave him decorate just a very small piece of it!