Friday, 8 June 2012

Bearwood Bakes

Jo-Ann Lloyd contacted welovebearwood to tell us why she loves Rachel Gandolfi’s cakes.  One look at Rachel’s facebook page and we could see why.
We decided to contact Rachel to find out more.....
Rachel.....your cakes look amazing.  How big a part of your life are they?
“I now work full-time as a Town and Country Planner and I’m a Mum to Luke (12) and Chloe (8) and aside from running a bit, I do a lot of cake-baking in my spare time.
 I’ve always loved cooking and baking and my parents were always encouraging my brothers and me to get busy in the kitchen when we were growing up, but I only started selling cakes a few years ago. Since then I have done 7 weddings, probably 20 christening cakes, hundreds of birthday cakes and I feel like I’ve sold millions of cupcakes!
I set up my own website and went under the name of ‘Flutterby Cakes’ but I couldn’t keep up with the orders and so I took the website down before Christmas last year. I sell my cakes at the Bearwood Handmade Fayres which the Crafty Muthas set up and these have proved incredibly popular.”

We have seen you before at the Crafty Muthas’ Fayres.  What do you like about the fayres?
“I am one sixth of the infamous Crafty Muthas, and those Crafties have helped me through some pretty rough times in recent years.
 I always have the front table at the fayres so that people are greeted by cakes and other sweet delights as they walk through the door and I have had so many lovely comments about my cakes, it always overwhelms me. At the fayres I also sell bags of fudge, rocky road, shortbread, Viennese whirls, butter tablet and spiced nuts and jam, chutney, larger cakes and muffins. But the thing I sell most is cupcakes! “
We love cupcakes – what kind is your best seller?
“The people of Bearwood can’t seem to get enough of them! Most people go for the classic flavours of vanilla, raspberry and chocolate but Guinness with cream cheese frosting is also popular and I am always trying new flavours.
I recently made white chocolate and cardamom and it was fantastic, and other slightly less common cakes I’ve made include, whisky and burnt butter, ginger treacle, courgette, rosé cava, blueberry and lime, earl grey tea, tequila and lime, chilli chocolate and Jack Daniels. I love trying to come up with new flavours of Christmas cupcakes!”

How do you make them taste so good?
“People tell me that my cakes are ‘special’ but I don’t do anything different than anyone else, I just enjoy doing it and I am a firm believer that if you are going to do something, you should do it right. Especially if someone is paying you to do it! “

Do you have any tips for fellow Bearwood bakers?

"There is one thing that many people forget when making cakes – the vanilla. Always remember the vanilla, particularly in buttercream!”

So how’s the future looking for your cakes and how can our readers contact you?

“At the moment I take orders for weddings and larger events (and I’m pretty cheap!) but I don’t really take any more orders for smaller birthday cakes etc. I don’t advertise and all my orders came from friends or from people who have bought cakes at the fairs or through word of mouth. So if anyone reading this needs a wedding cake or a bunch of cupcakes and you would like to get in touch, please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email and I’d be happy to bake you some cakes!
 You can reach me on 07929 748237, or

What’s your connection with Bearwood?
“I moved over to Birmingham in 1997 from Northern Ireland where I grew up, to attend Birmingham University to do a Postgraduate degree. After University I fully intended to move back to Ireland, but low and behold, I met a French man! As such, I ended up staying here and we set up home in Bearwood before our second child was born. I’ve lived in Bearwood now for nearly 9 years in the same house and I have to say, I do love it and I don’t get homesick for Ireland anymore. “
Why do you like living here?
“Part of what I love about Bearwood is the people –there are some wonderfully creative, eclectic and interesting people living in this town and I have made some amazing friends since living here.”
What’s your Bearwood All-Star?
“I also love Warley Woods and for me, nothing beats running up through the woods in the morning when the sun is shining through the trees. I feel lucky to live so close to two glorious parks.”
How do you see the future of Bearwood?
“As for the future of Bearwood, I think that there is so much enthusiasm and community spirit in the air now, and so many people are putting an incredible amount of energy into proactively planning for this town that it can only result in a positive outcome. It’s a shame that we weren’t successful in the Portas bid, but even without that, I can see good things on the horizon. I have to say though, the money would have been well spent on improving the High Street so fingers crossed for round two. “
We love to ask everyone this question....what makes Lightwoods Chippy’s chips orange?
“As for what makes Lightwoods Chippy’s chips orange, is it that they’ve all been tangoed?”
Thanks so much Rachel.  Any last words...
“Here’s a picture of me in standing beside a huge chocolate baby in Brussels! I love cake, but I love chocolate too.
I wonder if Jennifer Emmanuel (Charlie’s Mom’s Chocolate Factory) could make me one of these? “ 

Wow!  What a brilliant idea – you’ve heard it here first Bearwood!


  1. It must have been one of Rachel's cakes I won in the raffle at the last Crafty Muthas Craft Fayre. It was lovely!

  2. Yes Annie, it was mine! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I think Rachel's cakes look amazing - can't wait to try one!