The Incredible Edible

Cali-born baker, Clare Ptak worked under the legendary Alice Walters at Chez Panisse before moving to London to become the capital’s cake supremo

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Your earliest memories in the kitchen?

I began baking with my mother and grandmother (which is pretty universal). The two let me make a huge mess and experiment in the kitchen with weird ingredients and methods, making it a fun and supportive process. I wish I could say I was as liberal with my own daughter, but I am much too OCD for that level of mess.

What spurred you to open your own bakery, Violet Cakes?

My customers. After starting The Saturday Cake Stall, I was receiving requests for cakes all week long while juggling projects as a stylist. The home kitchen couldn’t keep up… and in 2010 the cafe/bakery was born.  My tastes change a lot, both aesthetically and culinarily and that is what makes invention and experimentation so pleasurable.

Quince and Orchid Cakes

@violetcakeslondon // Instagram

Violet Cakes at Palm Heights Grand Cayman

@violetcakeslondon // Instagram

What's your favourite flavour of the moment?

Bergamot lemons. They have been especially delicious this season, so we have unveiled a delicious Lemon - Earl Grey Buttercream for our chocolate sponge cakes.

How did the collaboration with Palm Heights Grand Cayman come about?

The chefs at Palm Heights Grand Cayman approached us to develop some pudding recipes for Tillies, the new restaurant at the resort. They have an amazing team and were dream collaborators. I’ll never say no to working with an enthusiastic team that is after real change. There is nothing more frustrating than jumping onto a project as a consultant and seeing a lack of results.

Any other projects in the pipeline?


What inspired the title for your anticipated cookbook out this spring? What can our readers expect from the culmination of five years' work?

I’m a big Andy Warhol fan and discovered his 1953 lithograph series, Love is a Pink Cake with poetry by Ralph Thomas Ward, many years ago. I knew I needed to incorporate the title somewhere, at some point. The book felt like the ideal place. It took five years because a cookbook is personal. I was so thrilled to receive the first edition and it is now available on pre-order here.

Victoria Sponge Heart Cakes

@violetcakeslondon // Instagram


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