I’m nearing the 5th anniversary of Flossie Pops Cakery and each year brings something new and usually surprising! I’ve taught adult classes since the business began and as a result of their success, three years ago opened my new teaching space in our annexe, which I also use for wedding consultations. Life is very much easier if you don’t have to clear away the breakfast things, odd socks and forgotten homework before teaching and I adore having my very own space – albeit nestled in between my husband’s office and the room we made into a den for the kids.
About a year ago the children persuaded my to try and ‘teach cakes at school’ and my initial reaction was absolutely not! I’ve always thought I didn’t want the chaos, mess and noise that baking or decorating sessions at home with the kids always creates, but I’m up for a challenge and spoke to the girls’ school about providing a decorating session as part of the extras (clubs) programme. We agreed it was a perfect autumn and winter activity when the grounds are waterlogged and muddy and the weather not conducive to being outside so I started after the October half term. I had two groups of around 8 kids in each (all girls to begin with) ranging from 9 – 12 in age and found myself staggering in each week with boxes of cupcakes, bags of buttercream and loads of icing to an excited and amazing group of kids.
Because of the space available for the sessions, we focus purely on decorating, so I bring two cupcakes per child each week and two I’ve made in advance to demonstrate our theme. Far from being noisy, messy and difficult; the sessions are calm, fun and so incredibly rewarding. I’m a total convert to teaching children and love the attention they pay, the enthusiasm and delight we share in creating wonderful things from sugar and the pride they all feel carrying their creations back to lessons (usually with a ziplock bag of icing leftovers!). They often bring their own ideas and add unique twists to their work, so I learn plenty in the process too.
Realising there was also demand for holiday sessions, I ran two Halloween cupcake workshops, a Christmas workshop (as well as my usual adult christmas cake decorating day) and now have two Valentine cupcake sessions planned (and almost fully booked) for February half term.
Before I ran my first holiday class, I was terrified – luckily my work-experience student from last summer and Girl Friday, Hannah, ably assists the sessions, clearing up splattered buttercream, guiding wobbly hands and furnishing us amply with squash, biscuits and coffee! Every child leaves with huge smiles, and, just like the adults, say they didn’t believe they could make something that looked like this when they started the session. It’s also a wonderful catalyst for my own creativity, making me think and research ideas that little hands and maybe not-so-dexterous fingers can create in a set time. We don’t always get through everything in the weekly classes (depends on how deep the discussions about the benefits of iPhone 6 vs 7 and who’s going to see Justin Bieber take), but I’ve also been amazed how children as young as 6 can sit for 2 1/2 hours really engaged and focussed.
I have a new found admiration for teachers who manage to stand up and teach all day as two or three hours ‘hands on’ time leaves me exhausted, but I really get why people teach and I can genuinely say it’s been a revelation and an incredible development! Needless to say, the book is still only half written…
Workshops dates for adults and children can be found on the workshops page of the website. I also offer bespoke one-to-one tuition for anyone wanting to tackle a specific cakey issue.