Dawn Blunden

bespoke cake maker to the Royal Family / tutor / public speaker


The Royal wedding cake of the now King Charles III and the Queen Consort. A spray of flowers to adorn Her Majesty Queen Eilzabeth‘s 80th birthday cake. The cake for Camilla Parker Bowles‘ 60th birthday, and (then still) Prince Charles‘ 60th and 70th birthday cake plus cakes for the Duchess of Cornwall granddaughters. Regarding such references, this British lady bears the title „cake maker to the Royal Family“ rightly. Anyone who sees her delicious designs made of high quality ingredients immediately understands why she considers her passion for baking as a creative art form. No doubt: 'Sweet dreams (are made of this)'!

Dawn Blunden

bespoke cake maker to the Royal Family / tutor / public speaker


Dawn Blunden finishing the marzipaning on a cake
Dawn Blunden finishing the marzipaning on a cake | © Dawn Blunden

From a private hobby to a full-time professional job: that’s how everything developed for Dawn Blunden (* 1956 in Poole, Dorset), who loved to spend hours cooking and baking as a child with her mum and grandmother. Later working for British cosmetic company Lush, combining the ingredients for its lip balms and other products, she started making birthday cakes for her children first, then a few for friends. Word of her exceptional talent spread by word of mouth. Mrs. Blunden signed up to lessons and night schools learning more about baking and its attached decorative arts - the icing on the cake so to speak. After sufficient expertise was available and she had moved to Lincolnshire, her shop Sophisticake was opened in Woodhall Spa’s Broadway Centre in April 2003 offering „beautiful bespoke cakes made with love“ (company slogan).

Her first royal assignment came about after her son Darren, a freelance royal chef who used to cook for Prince Charles, put her name forward when the couple were seeking a cake maker. After submitting a „test subject“ in form of a rich fruit cake for His Royal Highness Mrs. Blunden got the commission for the Royal wedding cake months later - despite the fact that she was up against several big names as competitors! So the final decision was purely a real matter of taste.

The task was a cake that could be cut into 800 to 1.000 slices plus another 2.500 pieces which could be handed out to guests. Available time given to design and bake the huge cake: four weeks! The Making of the final product (weight: 108 kg) required 1.080 eggs and 20 bottles of Brandy besides further fine ingredients. The result tasted so good to the clients and their guests that it was even worth a separate report on dailymail.co.uk for good reason: „Three weeks after the wedding, King Charles sent the bakery owner a thank you note. He wrote: 'I can't tell you how much my wife and I are enjoyed eating pieces of wedding cake for tea each afternoon. It really is delicious!' 

“For me baking is such an absolute joy, I’m so passionate about it,” Dawn Blunden told lincolnshirelife.co.uk. “It’s a huge responsibility to make a cake for someone, whether they’re royalty or not, but it’s also lovely to be a part of their special occasion. I love what I do, and for me it really doesn’t feel like work at all.” She who has also baked celebratory cakes for actor/comedian Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean, the Swedish former world No. 1 tennis player Björn Borg and musician Steve Winwood (former Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith) states: „I’ve always said if you have a job you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life!“

Dawn Blunden lives near Coningsby, Lincolnshire (Great Britain).


Interview January 2023

Pat-a-cake pat-a-cake, baker’s (wo)man: A real royal joy (not only) for Britain’s Queens & King


How does intuition present itself to you – in form of a suspicious impression, a spontaneous visualisation or whatever - maybe in dreams?

Intuition/imagination for me come in different forms & therefore it’s very difficult to decide if it is indeed intuition or the work of my imagination. Intuition is of course an instant knowing of something; that is right, a thought or image that suddenly pops into my mind from nowhere in particular whereas, imagination seems more of an elongated thought process. But my head seems to always be thinking in cake or icing & whether something, either in thought, idea or solid matter, would or indeed could, be made to work in cake form & if not cake then icing…meaning a carved cake of the subject matter/idea or a handmade model. This is regardless of what subject matter is.

I tend to use intuition more where people are concerned rather than in my work for instance whether I like a person or not. It seems to be an instant thing, a gut feeling if you will and for no apparent logical reason.

Will any ideas be written down immediately and archived?

For me imagination is the more used process, certainly where my work life is concerned, which basically is the major part of my life. I keep a notebook by my bedside & write down or sketch random ideas or thoughts that wake me at unearthly hours. These I sometimes discard, but more often than not, I use them to expand into ideas that will become a cake or model or they’re put away for use at a later date. I have a large file full of ideas/imaginings that I never dispose of as they will be useful or used, whether whole or in part or to be built upon, at some stage in the future.

?: How do you come up with good or extraordinary ideas?

I think most naturally creative people come up with good ideas, for me personally it also comes from an absolute love & passion for what I do & have built a vast knowledge of & experience in, this fabulous artform over some 40 years, also discussion & information from clients, my peers & all the things around me all help with coming up with good or great ideas.

Are great ideas based on intuition and do they reveal themselves in a kind of clear as well complete version that just has to be realized? Or is it endless trials and errors (after the first spark) that result in constant developments up until the final result?

Intuition is perhaps the base line of a good or great idea because it gives a person the ability to understand instinctively whether it is in actual fact a good idea, or for me if it’s worth pursuing or not. I see in my head a finished cake, model or picture so then, barring maybe the odd tweak,   I sit and work out the logistics of getting it made or finished. Which is fairly straight forward & comes back to confidence & knowledge of my subject.

What if there is a deadline, but no intuition? Does the first fuel the latter maybe?

In my work life there are always deadlines or dates to meet. Occasions such as birthdays or weddings etc are always specific times & dates which must be met at all costs. But in turn these mustn’t or can’t be allowed to interfere with the ideas/imagination which, in turn are all part of the design process. If the idea, design or imagination isn’t there, there is no deadline because for me the latter has to fuel the former or the commission is declined.


What inspires you and how do you stimulate this special form of imaginativeness?

Everything inspires me from mother nature to material, patterns, shapes & colours, toys, art & buildings, the list is endless so it IS literally everything. I think maybe it’s because we creatives look at things in a different way to others, this in turn fuels the imagination & ideas so it becomes a never-ending circle with one leading to the other.

How do you separate the good from the bad and which ideas are worthwhile to be explored further or whether one idea has the potential of being outstanding really?

Separating good ideas from bad is an instinctual or intuitive thing because, once I know or understand the limitations of either myself or that of what I’m trying to achieve is possible & lastly if it’s aesthetically pleasing, then sorting the wheat from the chaff as it were, is a fairly instant thing. I also think as I know my subject so well, it comes down to confidence, knowledge & an understanding that even a bad idea sometimes only needs tweaking here & there for it to become or morph into a good one.

Has it to appeal to you primarily or is its commercial potential an essential factor?

First & foremost an idea has to appeal to ME, as it makes the whole process easier, more enjoyable & the finished product therefore, is fabulous rather than mediocre… so happy me, happy client & in turn, better business…everyone wins.

I found in the early years of my career, trying to work on a design that maybe the customer absolutely insists upon & that I knew wouldn’t work to its best advantage without tweaks or changes, means I’ve not been able to put my heart & soul into the whole process up to & including the finished cake/design. It just fuels stress & frustration instead of calm & enjoyment. So, I’ve since advised, cajoled & ultimately insisted that I’m listened to as a consummate professional…maybe a bit of a “Mother knows best” scenario but, trust is also a big thing & once the client sees the finished product, they understand where I’m coming from & return time after time including the Royal family!

Do you revisit old ideas or check what colleagues/competitors are up to at times?

Occasionally I do revisit old ideas but try not to, as my reputation is partly built on the belief that as everyone of us is an individual every cake has to be a one off too. This helps to keep my work unique as well as commercially keeping up with changing markets & tastes. We in the cake world all watch, share, follow & usually help each other in whatever is needed or asked for.


Which time/place/environment suits your creative work process the best (tranquillity or pressure) and which path do you take from theory/idea to creation?

I work mainly on my own in my shop, which is situated inside a village shopping arcade consisting of six small businesses.

My shop premises is calm & quiet but for a little background music & the odd shopper that pops in that doesn’t have an appointment booked with me. But although this is my sanctuary, the place I love to be & work best in, I work very well under pressure. I am organised, time efficient & never panic which in turn eases the pressure. As a person I am often described as laid back & great in a crisis!

But calmness & having time works best for creativity, I think.

What is better in the realization process: speed and force creativity i.e. grasp the magic of the moment, or a slow, ripening process for implementation/elaboration?

This is a difficult part to answer as both are equal I think, but dependent upon what I am working on & how much time is allocated for the task in hand.  I think sometimes the creative part IS grabbing that magic & in those instances everything seems to effortlessly fall into place, whilst on another occasion extra time is needed to elaborate on & make the creation absolutely right. This part usually involves me trying to place sugar flowers onto a wedding cake where I want it to be & not where “it” wishes to be, is time consuming as well as a little frustrating so I have to work with rather than against the flowers so that we are all happy with the outcome.

If problems occur during creativity or one’s stuck even, how can these be solved?

When or if a problem arises that can’t be corrected after several tries, I tend to walk away, make a cup of tea or go for a short stroll & come back with “new eyes” refreshed, frustration gone & look at it again… this normally is enough to put things right or see the way ahead & get the problem solved.

How important are self-doubt and criticism (by others) during such a process i.e. is it better to be creative on your own, only trust your own instincts, or in a team? 

All creatives suffer with self-doubt. We are our own best or worst critics & never think we or our work is good enough. The problem is we strive for perfection, but humans by nature are flawed therefore we can never attain it but it doesn’t stop us from trying & this in turn stops complacency setting in & so the circle continues. Criticism from others is for me harder as I take it extremely personally. I find it creatively quite crushing & difficult to accept, I would rather walk away from the situation than continue, hence I work mainly alone. I never have been much of a team player & have this need to be in control of things. It comes from a really difficult childhood.

For me it definitely suits me better to be creative on my own & I absolutely have to trust my own instincts.

Should a creative always remain true to him-/herself including taking risks & going against the flow or must one, for reasons of (commercial) survival, make concessions to the demands of the market, the wishes of clients and the audience’s expectations?

I always try to stay true to myself otherwise what’s the point? It would I feel, eventually eat away or destroy the very creativity that feeds my soul & the love I have for my craft. Wouldn’t it just be making me similar to or the same as everyone else?  I still make cakes/models or an unusual sugar flower etc, just for me, because it excites & interests the creative in me & I suppose there’s also this need too as well. I make them so that I can push myself to learn something new or elaborate on, an idea that I’ve thought of previously. It’s never just good enough to stick to what I already know or can already make, as I think in time this becomes boring & mundane.  But I do also make them to help show the public that wander along to look in my shop window & my clients, just how versatile my craft can be & sometimes the extraordinary or completely different things that can be made with the mediums I use. It again I suppose, goes back to the circle, in the fact that, if I can get a client to think outside the box as it were, they can also get really excited about an occasion cake that is totally individual & different to everyone else’s, this in turn keeps me coming up with new ideas/designs etc & therefore enjoy, & am kept excited by, my work. I also think that when both are happy, I’ve gained a satisfied client that will keep returning, I in turn get paid & then I love receiving the praise/feedback which in turn builds my confidence & self-belief so that I will keep trying something new, so the circle continues.

Although this strategy isn’t always necessarily sensible or commercially viable, I believe that too many people chase money & profit to the detriment sometimes, of the more fulfilled human being they could be. Although I understand we all need money to a certain extent; I don’t believe that commercially or otherwise it should be the be all & end all.

How is innovation still possible if one has established a distinctive style and, just in case, is it good to be ahead of one’s time even one hazards not being understood?

The whole point where “distinctive style” is concerned, my hope is that, other than the quality, taste & workmanship of my cakes & the handmade items I make…back to the striving for perfection…. I don’t think that I necessarily have one. Although I was surprised a few months ago, when my sister said that she could always tell if something, was made by me.

I’m also not sure if I’ve ever been ahead of my time!

When does the time come to end the creative process, to be content and set the final result free - or is it work-in-progress with an endless possibility of improvement?

As I’ve mentioned before I have to let the creative process end & give the finished cake over to the client or venue as the occasions, I work too are date & time specific, so I have no choice. I just try & allow plenty of time so that the process will have time to come to a natural conclusion. As to improvement everything can always be improved, but it’s usually decided by time & talent or capability.

In case of failure or - worse - a creativity crisis how do you get out of such a hole?

Mainly because of my upbringing, failure was not an option & still isn’t. If I failed, I’d be crushed & I believe unable to cope with it, so I don’t or dare not entertain it.


Should/can one resist the temptation to recycle a ‘formula’ one’s successful with?

An idea or formula can always be recycled but invariably it’s because a “dead end” has been reached or the creative process is denied or has stopped for some reason & therefore one perhaps has no choice but to recycle. Or if in my case a client insists, which is rare, as I try to steer, advise & cajole into another decision. But I think it should be resisted at all costs, unless it can be changed or morphed into something else. For me I just keep pushing forward & push through any negativity until that next new idea shows itself.

Is it desirable to create the ultimate/timeless work, but doesn’t “top of the ladder” bring up the question of “what’s next?” i.e. isn’t such a personal peak “the end”?

It’s desirable to create that ultimate piece of work but surely creativity is an entity that changes or evolves constantly, therefore that ultimate piece today will become another & different ultimate piece tomorrow. A bit like a world without end.  I’m constantly asked what I believe is the best thing I’ve ever made or my favourite & I answer “whatever it is that I’m working on”. Creativity cannot ever be stagnant or it will cease to exist & that in turn will never happen.


To choose one creation that I’m most proud of or represents me the best is like asking me to choose my favourite child! Impossible, but maybe most proud would be the cakes I’ve made for our Royal family because I am a micro business in a village in Lincolnshire & to win the commission for the wedding cake of the now King Charles III is I think, amazing & for them to become returning clients, even more so. This has led to me travelling around the UK as a public speaker also to numerous TV & radio appearances, splashed me all over the internet & as far as my grandchildren are concerned, I am known “globally”!

The Royal wedding cake of the now King Charles III and the Queen Consort
My favorite work: The Royal wedding cake of the now King Charles III and the Queen Consort

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