Lily Jones (aka Lily Vanilli) is a baker and cake designer based in East London, whose client list ranges from Alexander McQueen to the BBC. She is the author of two recipe books and co-founder of the Young British Foodie (YBF) Awards. She has a bakery on London’s Columbia Road and consults for bakeries and brands around the world. We were lucky enough to catch up with her to find out a little bit more about her and her fantabulous sponge creations.
The idea for The Lily Vanilli Bakery just evolved from selling a few cakes, very slowly and organically, into a business with its own name. So the idea itself never really happened because by the time I conceived the thought of it as a business, I was already doing it.
I have always loved baking and cakes but I never had any idea of what I wanted to do for a career. I wasn’t a little girl dreaming about growing up to be a baker. I count myself very lucky that I found something I enjoy so much.
I’m self taught, I learnt through books and practice – and You Tube, so I’ve never had any real training per se.
We were tired of waiting for someone else to come up with The Young British Foodie Awards, so me and two others launched it ourselves; about five years ago. The idea came really because we were tired of waiting for someone else to do it. We wanted to shine a light on the people who are changing the face of British food and drink at grassroots level – that’s where all the really exciting stuff happens.
The cake is hugely important to the aesthetic of a wedding and one of the things people dream of when they picture their own wedding. I love working on a wedding where the cake is coordinated with the flowers, the venue, the outfits and the decor – all of it!
The creative process between me and a couple starts at my website – there, they can choose flavours and put together a mood board of images; this helps them expand on their own unique design and flavour ideas, and opens up the conversation between us. My feeling is that as it’s likely the most decadent cake you will ever buy, it should be exactly as you like it – from the flavour through to the design.
It sounds corny but I always like what’s coming next around the corner… I love every piece of work that we do. We always make something bespoke and unique, so I’m always excited by the project I’m currently working on, and whatever is coming next.
Have fun! That’s the best piece of advice anyone can give to a couple getting married.
The first thing I’d pack for my honeymoon would be my bikini… always, always, always a bikini holiday!
Start your wedding cake adventure with Lily on her website lilyvanilli.com.