ARD Bakery

I came across this most extraordinary cake maker recently, also called Alison. Of course I enjoy an instant friendship with anyone else called Alison so I reached out and interviewed her. I was curious what makes Alison tick and where her creativity comes from and tried to ask her some searching questions…

Her business, ARD Bakery, is insanely impressive and I will enjoy watching it grow and evolve over the years…

Tell me a little about your training and education?

I originally studied sculpture at Glasgow School of Art graduating in 2004. I then grew interested in using this interest in 3d forms in a more practical way, creating products, so moved to London to Study Fashion Accessories first at London College of Fashion,  and then went onto do a masters at the Royal College of Art.

What about your jobs over the years?

After graduating from the RCA, I worked for 10 years in various fashion companies, designing bags, shoes and jewellery. Most recently I worked from the Greek designer Mary Katrantzou, who is known for her bold, colourful prints.

A Mary Katrantzou creation, you can certainly see the relationship with Alison’s designs…

This experience really influenced my cake design in terms of combining form with print.

Have you always loved cake?

Yes, I always loved baking. My mum, and granny are very good bakers, and I think this definitely rubbed off on me growing up. But it was certainly not something I thought I would end up doing as a career!

What gave you the idea of making cakes your job?

 I never originally thought it would become my job. I just started playing around with the idea of combining a much more design-led aesthetic to cakes. I then discovered printed icing, and this opened up a  world of possibilities in print design, that could be applied to cake.

I started putting my designs on instagram, and soon people wanted buy them. It just grew from there. 

What inspires your incredibly distinctive designs?

I find inspiration in many places. I look a lot at interior design and products, as well as architecture. Of course the bold, playful  use of shapes and colour of the Memphis Group are also a big influence.

Do you have a favourite all time cake?

I don’t have one particular favourite, but there are cakes that stand out for various reasons. My first ever wedding cake was from my brother’s wedding.

It was very nerve wracking, as I had never done a tiered cake before, and I also didn’t know if the design would work, or be too overwhelming on a larger scale. But thankfully it turned out great, and was really the start of that side of my business, which has been really successful for me.

How are the cakes delivered?

The cakes are quite fragile, so delivery is alway a bit tricky. For wedding cakes I deliver and setup myself. But for the smaller celebration cakes, I currently offer collection only from my home in the Shawlands area of Glasgow.  

I have recently moved to Glasgow, from London, and I had a great courier there who only delivered cakes, and took great care over them, so I am hoping to find something like this in Scotland, so I can start to offer delivery for all my cakes.

Do you have plans for a shop?

Not at the moment, as I currently prefer to make everything to order. Maybe one day though!

Or any other future plans?

I am working on growing my chocolate business, as this is something that really took off during lockdown. And also growing my cake business in Scotland, including more wedding cakes.

Alison’s chocolates are truly amazing – and most importantly easy to deliver!

Her 6 piece box
12 piece box… how delicious do these look?
Her latest offering is an advent calendar – how very useful!

I am fascinated by Alison’s story, her move from fine art to design over the years and I am blown away by her cakes, her chocolates and her creativity, I am definitely going to keep in touch. Who would like a tour round the kitchen where all this action takes place?

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