In Annettes Kitchen
It's midday on a Friday when I pull up to smell the most delicious
aroma coming from the kitchen. I realise its lunchtime and I hadn't even
had brekky yet! The smell is like a carrot to a donkey, hanging there
but I can't eat it. The tantalising smells are from the freshly made
cup-cakes Annette has just pulled out of the oven.
Annette Dudley is the creator of Annettes Cake Designs, a business
born out of sheer determination, an artistic mind and lots of hard work!
She was born and raised in Stratford and went to boarding school at
St Mary's. After leaving school, Annette completed a diploma in
Business Studies, Accounting Technicians and Management at WITT before
getting a job as an administrator at Ford in New Plymouth. After three
years working for Ford, Annette moved on to Fonterra as PA for a couple
of years before the birth of her first child.
It was in 2002 that Annette and her fiancee started planning their
wedding. It took a while to find the cake they were looking for and
unfortunately back then, there was only one capable person to create it.
Due to popularity, their cake maker was completely booked and wasn't
able to create the cake they wanted. So she went to Auckland the week of her wedding and brought a cake back from up there.
Annette quickly realised a gap in the market. There had to be more people in Taranaki that serviced this sought after industry. So she decided to enter night classes in cake decorating and while
continuing to work full-time at Fonterra, self-taught the art of cake
She remembers her very first cake. A Bob the Builder birthday cake
for a friends daughter. Her first attempt at a wedding cake was also for a
good friend. "The wedding was in Patea and that was a stressful trip!
Ask any of the other four people in the car!" she recalls. All went well and the bride was very happy. Annette gained a number of
orders from that same wedding and this combined with yellow advertising
got her start in the industry.
Since starting out in a local cafe until her commercial kitchen
at home was complete, it has been six years of experience under her
belt. Annette has over three large photo albums full of cake images from
all sorts of occassions. She doesn't know exactly how many she has made
but thinks it would be over 100. "In the wedding season, I make on
average three to five cakes a week!" she says.
When asked what the most important things are to remember for a
couple looking for a cake-maker, Annette replies "I recommend booking in
advance. Don't leave it to the last minute or you might get
disappointed. I would also get people to check out my website and
facebook page to see what cakes I can do and if you're happy, give me a
call for an appointment and we'll sit down together for a chat of what
you want. I can do most things and deliver Taranaki wide".
I ask if I can take a couple of photos while she works. There are
two wedding cakes on the counter, one is a blue and white tiered cake
made up of chocolate mud, fruit and lollie cake (yum - my favourite).
The other cake is black and white and is a traditional fruit cake. "I
don't get asked that often to make fruit cake these days." Annette says.
She mixes up the icing for the cup-cakes. This is another
wedding order and is fast becoming a trend. I can see two reasons; they
are a perfect gift for a guest to take away and they look impressive
altogether on display instead of the usual wedding cake. She ices one
through her pipe bag in less than 20 seconds and the finished product
looks like a perfect white gardenia flower (also my favourite).
Annette is a very down-to-earth person, really easy to talk to and
eager to help you create exactly what you want. It's worth the drive out
to see her and hey, you might just get a cute cuddle like I did from
her gorgeous daughter too!