RESULT of the 2013 Christmas Prize Draw

The 2013 Petescakes Christmas Prize draw was drawn by Mr M Edwards and the lucky prize winners were as follows:-
1st prize an 8" Christmas cake won by Karen Gould (678)
2nd prize a 6" Christmas cake won by Georgina Cooper (705)
3rd Prize a 4" Christmas cake won by Joy Tune (728)
4th prize a 4" Christmas cake won by Norah Jones (735)

Congratulations to all the above winners.
May I take this opportunity to wish all my customers old and new, a .....

RESULT of the 2012 Christmas Prize Draw

Congratulations go the following customers who won a prize in the Petescakes 2012 Prize Draw. The winning tickets were drawn by Mrs Gillian Pejic.
1st prize, an 8" iced and decorated Christmas cake, was won by Mrs Nicola Jackson with ticket No 624.
2nd prize, a 6" iced and decorated Christmas cake, was won by Mrs Hannah Lowe with Ticket No 633.
3rd prize, a pair of 4" iced and decorated Christmas cakes, was won by Mrs Jane Patrick with Ticket No 571.
May I take this .....

RESULT of the 2011 Christmas Prize Draw

Congratulations go to Claire Snell who won the 8 inch iced and decorated Christmas cake in this years FREE prize draw with ticket number 406 which was drawn by Mr S J Rotchell. Claire will be collecting her cake later this week. May I also take this opportunity to thank everyone for their custom and to wish customers old and new a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Barclays Trading Places 2009

Barclays Trading Places 2009

In April this year, after again being persuaded to enter for this years event, I was lucky enough to win a place in the top 100 in Barclays Trading Places Awards 2009. Backed by the Government, the awards acknowledge those who have overcome hurdles to start a business, and have turned their lives around for themselves and their families.

Petescakes Top 8 business in the Western region!

Petescakes Top 8 business in the Western region!

In June 2008, I was encouraged by The Job Centre Plus to apply for the Barclays Trading Places Award 2008. Pete's Cakes was selected as one of the Top Eight Businesses in the Western Region and my wife and I attended the awards ceremony on the 8th July at the Chateau Impney Hotel, in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, where I received the certificate from Neil Butler, Barclay's Regional Director for Western and Wales.

This was followed up by an interview with Dan Tierney on the 'Pete Morg.....

Pete awarded by the Learning and Skills Council!

Pete awarded by the Learning and Skills Council!

On the 12th March 2008, after being nominated by Business Initiative, I was lucky enough to win 'A Learning and Skills Council and European Social Fund, Stars for Skills Achievement Award' in the 'Best Re-Trainer' category.

The award was presented by BBC's Ashley Blake at the Molineux Football Stadium, Wolverhampton. This was followed up with a feature about 'Pete's Cakes' in the Evening Sentinel on 9th April 2008.

The Early Days

People often ask 'How and why did you start cake decorating?' and 'Have you always done it?'

To answer the second question first --- No, I have only been baking and decorating cakes as a hobby since 2002, but I have always been fascinated to see the cakes and decorations that other people create from seemingly nothing more than a few ingredients, some marzipan and some icing.

I suppose it all started with my mum and dad. Mum was always baking a Fruit cake, Chocolate cake or sponge cake for me and my sister when we were little. I've always enjoyed cakes, especially the eating part, but I didn't know how to decorate them. Mum and Dad used to make Wedding Cakes for friends and relatives and I used to watch as mum baked the cakes and dad Royal Iced them and then made the flowers for them using a bewildering array of icing nozzles.

In the summer of 2002, I saw an advert in the Evening Sentinel for a Sugarcraft class on Wednesday evenings. Being the coward that I am I didn't fancy going on my own or being surrounded by strange women, so I 'persuaded' my best friend's wife that she would really like to learn Sugarcraft. Maybe it was the promise of a visit to the pub afterwards that finally clinched it, but it did the trick and she enrolled each September with me for the next four years.

The classes were run by Barbara Bratt and she was the major influence which persuaded me to carry on with the cake decorating, she showed us how to make beautiful flowers and leaves in sugarpaste, then she would show us how to wire them up into a stunning arrangement to display on the cakes. She had a passion for sugarcraft that rubbed off onto everyone who came to her classes. Over the four years that we attended the Wednesday class, it became not just another adult education class but a social occasion as well. It was a very sad evening when, on the final night of the summer term 2006, Barbara announced her retirement. Wednesday nights will never be the same again!!

So, going back to the original question, apart from my mum and dad, it's Barbara's fault that I started cake decorating because if she hadn't made the first Wednesday evening such a warm and welcoming one, I would probably have given up and not gone again.

Recent Developments

After I was made redundant at the end of 2005 my first thoughts were great--more cakes!!! Then I thought again and realised that there was a vast difference in making cakes as a hobby for friends and making cakes as a business for strangers. Also I thought that with my health problems, which had been exasperated by my previous job, and my age, I'd find it difficult to find a full time time job. Luckily, Deborah, at Newcastle Job Centre Plus, encouraged me to take the self- employment route and start a cake decorating business.

I decided to enrol at Stoke-on-Trent College to try and improve my skills and increase my knowledge in Sugarcraft. I was fortunate to be accepted under the wings of some very talented tutors, escpecially Steven Kirkby who made the most amazing flowers and foliage in sugar, and Julie Hilditch, who was an absolute wonder with (amongst other things) a nozzle, icing bag and bowl of Royal Icing. Alan Jones ensured I gained the knowledge to keep me (and everyone else) safe in the kitchen.

All this couldn't have happened without the help of Alison and her team at the North Staffs Workforce Development Project in Hanley who sorted out all the finances for the courses.

Then came the next most daunting bit. How do I run a Business? With so many things to sort out......Business Plans, Finance, Tax, Insurance, Registering the Business and Premises, Marketing, Advertising, Costings, Profit and Loss sheets, Legal Implications, Insurance, Food Hygiene, Equipment Stock, etc. etc. - the list seemed endless! As luck would have it, an advert appeared in the Evening Sentinel informing anyone who was thinking of starting a Business that there were free courses available for budding Entrepreneurs. So I went on them. The courses,(run by Business Initiative on the Festival Park Site) proved invaluable. Thanks to Jill, Gayle and Pete at Business Initiative, Pete's Cakes was born as a part time business on 4th October 2007. Twelve months later I decided to go full time.

The begining of 2009 saw the birth of The Stoke-on-Trent Sugarcrafters Club. This is a modelling club run by Maisie Parrish to teach students the skills of modelling in Sugar Paste. How fortunate to have a talented artist like Maisie living on the doorstep when people come from all over the world to learn to model in her classes.