Tata’s Birthday Celebration is here, along with our best sale of the year! To celebrate, we caught up with Lucy Drummond, owner of LucifyCakes and the creator of Tata’s incredible birthday cake. Lucy created a divine Sweet Orange and Chamomile Birthday Cake to highlight our favorite summer scents from the farm. Read on to meet Lucy and learn how you can recreate this beautiful cake at home too!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a Manhattan native, but I’m currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. I love the raw beauty and friendly people here in Vermont, and I’m passionate about local ingredients. In addition to using Vermont flour and seasonal ingredients, I always bake with dairy and eggs from ethical Vermont farms.
I launched LuciflyCakes in May of 2019 with a focus on high-quality ingredients and stunning designs, and have created cakes for Michael Bloomberg, the founder of SoulCycle, world-renowned architect Gene Kohn, and more!
Where do you pull inspiration from when designing cakes?
Ah, the million-dollar question! There is in fact a lot that goes into achieving the final decoration of a cake. I get so much of my inspiration from the very talented community of cake artists on Instagram, and I also have a collection of design books that I pull from. Usually, I have some sort of idea based on the flavors of or occasion for a cake, and then I actually rely heavily on spontaneity.
I infrequently know what the final product of a cake will look like when I begin. Once I begin to stack and crumb coat (the frosting layer around an entire cake that traps in crumbs and creates a more smooth canvas for the application of the frosting base) the cake, it starts to sort of speak to me and tells me what it needs.
I try to create coherence between the smaller elements such as piping and shades of color with the larger impact of the cake.
What’s your favorite kind of cake?
When I first started baking and designing cakes, I loved classic vanilla or chocolate cake. Now I am all about a filling, and think every cake should have some kind of fruit, ganache, butterscotch, or even cream cheese filling to enhance its moisture, texture, and flavor profile.
As of late I have become entranced with French flavors, like Crème Mousseline French Buttercream — which combines crème pâtissière, praline (ground hazelnut caramel), and whole egg buttercream.
What’s the number one tip you’ve learned in your career baking cakes?
Temperature is your best friend and biggest foe. For example, on a cool day, I can smooth out a buttercream frosting just with my finger. When it’s hot, touching a cake in the same way can destroy the decoration. Learning how to use temperature during baking and designing is a process, but it really allows for a higher level of exactitude.
Tell us about the cake you made for Tata’s Birthday this year — we can’t wait to taste it!
This cake was inspired by the new summer scents from the farm — and all things Tata Harper Skincare! Natural forms, a respect for the organic, and a complex palette are all at play here. The sweet orange is great for cakes — orange zest is a strong flavor that pairs very well with vanilla and tangy cream cheese. Chamomile is bold, too, and perfect for a summer celebration!
How can we recreate something similar at home this summer?
Have fun with it! Use any flowers you like, perhaps add a pastel color to the frosting, or even some fruit decorations. Anything natural can look good on a cake like this. Just make sure to wrap any flowers you actually stick into a cake in floral tape, otherwise you can get a slight sour taste (and never use poisonous flowers!).
Do you have any tips for budding bakers?
Take risks! Some of the most fun and successful cakes I’ve made have resulted from welcoming the unexpected and going with whims. You will be most successful and creative not if you copy what others have done, but if you tap into your own unique ideas and inspiration!