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Pinay Cake Artists Hitting Sweet Spots in London
When best friends Valeri Valeriano and Christina Ong flew to London in 2008 to work as a nurse and a caregiver respectively, the idea of going into cake design, let alone starting a cake business, never crossed their minds.
As Christina put it, they fell into it “by accident.”
On Mother’s Day in 2011, they wanted to give a special surprise to two of their friends, whom they consider their surrogate moms in London.
“Valerie stumbled on this Youtube video of a sunflower cupcake tutorial using buttercream and with no other tool except a zip lock bag. So she tried it at first. They loved it and one of them suggested, ‘hey, why not turn this into a business?’ So we did,” Christina recalled.
They decided to focus on buttercream, despite the fact that it was the hardest to make.
“Here in the Philippines, we grew up loving buttercream right? And also everyone else is doing fondants, so we thought it’s something we love and love to taste and we thought if we worked on it, explore it more, then we’d come up with something different,” Valeri explained.
They both knew that working with buttercream would make them stand out, and hopefully help them break into the already massive cake industry in London.
Like mothers, with their cake artistry as their baby, they experienced birthing pains.
“It was really hard because when we were starting we literally had to send hundreds of e-mails to different schools, magazines and newspapers just to give us a chance to pitch in different fairs. Sadly, nobody replied to any of our emails,” Christina said.
They got their break when a participant in a local school fair cancelled at a short notice – three days before the event.
Christina and Valeri, who were starting their fledgling business called Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes that time, did not hesitate to take their place and in two days, they pulled off 200 cupcakes and 180 cake pops.
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