Local girl has a sweet touch

Cake-maker Gina opens new shop to showcase her skills

Cakes, glorious cakes, are brightening up one corner of Brackenbury Village thanks to a tasty new business venture. And it’s got off to a sweet start, says Gina’s Cakes owner, Gina South, as she was swamped with orders just days after she opened the doors of the Bradmore Park Road store.

The 39-year-old professional sweet-tooth says: “I’ve had such a good response. “Crowds of people have been coming to stand outside my shop and admire the work. “I’d been running the business for more than 10 years at a studio in Ladbroke Grove, so I thought it was about time I had my own shop.” Even as we chat some children have been drawn to the shop, their noses pressed up to the window looking at her colourful display of ballerinas and football cakes. Local girl Gina was born in Hammersmith and has lived there for the past five years, with a spell in White City before that. She studied textiles at Camberwell Art College and later worked as a colour mixing technician and ceramic tile painter. Her steady hands take after her father, who was in the merchant navy and as a hobby put ships in bottles.

And about a decade ago, Gina decided to turn her artistic ability to crafting cakes. “I start with just a piece of square sponge which I can make something really nice out of. I do really like that; it goes back to my art school days,” Gina says. Flicking through her cake portfolio, you can see custom-made creations, personalised for their recipients. Gina has made everything from Alice in Wonderland to Wallace and Gromit figurines, moulded from icing, which are exact copies of the animated characters. But it’s not all sugar and spice in Gina’s succulent world. She has had great success with a special Jaws birthday cake, complete with a stormy sea stained blood-red as a giant shark surfaces from the top of the cake. In its crushing bite is an edible rendition of a mangled body. “It’s tremendously popular with young boys,” laughs Gina. But her personal favourites are the organic cupcakes.

“I use paste colours which are fat-free, nut-free, and glutenfree, but I do try to use the best ingredients,” she says. Gina offers me a glittery cupcake with a perfectly sculpted little rose on top that looks like porcelain but is as soft as butter as I take a bite. “I honed my skills in classes at the Wornington Centre in Kensington and Chelsea,” says Gina. “I now teach cake decorating there on Mondays.” She decorates cake bases that she commissions out to local bakers – but is not revealing any names. “You’ve got to have some secrets,” she smiles, assuring me that there are no Oompa-Loompas involved. “I can tell you one baker is local and they are all small, family orientated businesses.” To formally introduce herself to her new Hammersmith neighbours, Gina is cracking open the bubbly on Saturday, May 10, from 1-5pm. My advice is to get there early to beat the sugar rush.

Courtesy of Hammersmith & Fulham News

(Featured 6 May 2008 Hammersmith and Fulham News)

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