Why â€śElderflower Cakes?â€ť
CĂ©line: I love the flavour and it smells incredibly good. Itâ€™s pretty, just like our cakes are. So when we started thinking of a name, it came up quickly as our brand.
Franceska: I didnâ€™t know what elderflower was until I started working at Ottolenghi. Itâ€™s not a flavor we use in Brazilian cuisine at all. But I soon realised it was a very fragrant smell and such a delicate flower. I thought it would fit right in with the idea we had for our business.
Why did you decide to open Elderflower cakes?
CĂ©line: Iâ€™ve always wanted to have my own business, ever since I was 15. It started with the idea of having a tea room/pastry shop in France. I built up this idea in my mind for years, and then at 26 I decided to come to London for six months and get inspired by the traditional afternoon tea and by all the coffee shops. Six months turned into three years and the right meeting has made Elderflower Cakes possible.
Franceska: Iâ€™ve been thinking about opening my own business for the longest time. In the beginning I wanted to open a bakery back in Brazil, but I lacked experience. So I came to London to learn and after three years here I figured it was worth a try.
Both: Working on markets is for us the best way to start running a business. It allows you to start little, bring your creativity, exchange easily and directly with customers. If everything goes right maybe some day youâ€™ll see an Elderflower Cakes shop.
How would you define your pastry style?
Franceska: Iâ€™m minimalist in most areas of my life. So I guess it reflects on pastry as well. I tend to go for very simple yet classical stuff. I love simple food, I find itâ€™s very honest to its flavours and I think thereâ€™s some kind of challenge on doing simple. Itâ€™s much more difficult than people would assume. The whole â€śless is moreâ€ť kind of thing.Â
CĂ©line: We are not into cakes with colorants and too many flavors. We like making simple cakes with a twist. We pay a lot of attention to the look of our products, and we have a keen eye for details, but in the end it all comes down to flavour. Baking fresh and with seasonal ingredients is the best way to deliver only the highest quality.
So who are you and how do you know each other?
Franceska: I was born and raised in Brazil. For the longest time I thought Iâ€™d be a lawyer. I went to Law school and failed the Brazilian bar exam twice until I realised Iâ€™d never be happy doing that for the rest of my life. Once I figured I wanted to work with pastry I packed my bags, went to Canada to attend Le Cordon Bleu and then decided to come to London to spend some time in Europe and to learn as much as possible. Once in London I worked for The Hummingbird Bakery and then I went to work for Ottolenghi.Â I started working at Ottolenghi a couple months after CĂ©line. She was the only girl in the pastry team and as soon as I saw her working I knew I could learn a lot from her. Some time after that she became the Pastry Head Chef and I was her sous-chef. And the rest is pretty much history.
CĂ©line: Iâ€™m French and when I was 15 years old I already knew I wanted to have my own pastry shop. So, at 18 I started my apprenticeship as pastry chef and while I was doing that I discovered what a chocolatier was and I fell in love with it. So after my CAP (an equivalent of a year diploma with an apprenticeship) I decided to take a chocolatier and sweet confectioner CAP and then get a BTM (an equivalent of a two-year-vocational). I spent the three years of my apprenticeship working in a wonderful chocolate shop called â€śChocolats Batailleâ€ť. I learned a lot there, from making incredible desserts to amazing chocolates. After that, I worked in different places as a chocolatier and figured it was time for a change, so I came to London. My first experience in London was at restaurant 34 in Mayfair. It was great and I learned a lot and I was also able to express my creativity. After one year at 34 the opportunity came up for me to work for Ottolenghi. I started there as a pastry chef and soon became the head chef at the Islington branch. It was an amazing year and a half where I met extraordinary people and most importantly I met Franceska!