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The great Hambledon bake off with The Crumby Bakery - Surrey Creations

PUBLISHED: 11:08 13 September 2016

Charlotte and Molly hard at work in their Hambledon bakery (Photo detail: Philip Traill)

Charlotte and Molly hard at work in their Hambledon bakery (Photo detail: Philip Traill)

Philip Traill

Founded by Charlotte Lee in 2010, as a home baker producing mainly cupcakes, The Crumby Bakery has gone from strength to strength. Now, after a brief flit with a cupcake and coffee shop in Godalming, they are doing a roaring trade online from their base in Hambledon

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2016

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It’s perhaps no surprise, having started out in the same year that The Great British Bake Off hit our screens and kicked off a mass home-baking religion, that The Crumby Bakery has grown and grown.

Beginning from an old family recipe for delicious cupcakes, owner Charlotte Lee has built the business largely through word of mouth and a home-made website. Eventually building enough orders to make it her full-time job, she has now employed a second baker too.

“Things have changed a lot since I started,” says Charlotte. “Having had a few casual staff to help run the coffee shop while I made the cakes, we finally found a fantastic baker – Molly. Since she joined the team, we’ve really managed to grow the business together and have now relocated to a barn unit twice the size of our first shop.”

This has allowed these intrepid bakers to add a cake-making supply shop, for all of those Bake Off fans desperate to rustle up their own culinary creations, as well as offering a series of baking classes.

“Customers get really excited about the show and always want to chat about recipes and techniques,” says Charlotte. “It’s definitely upped the profile of baking in general.

As many SL readers will be aware, one of the key challenges in Bake Off is the show-stopper, where bakers unleash their creative madness on the sometimes unsuspecting judges. Has the popularity of said challenge led to any particularly strange design requests, we wonder?

“Our strangest design has to be a Mexican Day of the Dead skull cake,” says Charlotte. “It was half of a beautiful face, looking through a broken skull, and the other half was a painted Day of the Dead mask. It turned out beautifully and the birthday girl was blown away.”

Their creations are not always so unusual, however, and along with those cupcakes from the secret family recipe, they do a sterling trade for weddings too.

“Our favourite design so far was a three-tier drip cake that we produced for a wedding in January,” says Charlotte. “The bride and groom were fantastic to work with and really let us run away with the design. It included chocolate drizzle around the tiers, a chocolate sail on the top tier, gold-leaf brownies, edible flowers, meringue kisses, gold-leaf macarons, caramelised walnuts and gold coffee beans.

“Each element linked in to the sponge flavours and the whole effect was stunning – so much so that we’ve designed a whole new range of cakes based on this design.”

It seems that you can have your cake and eat it, after all.

• For more information about The Crumby Bakery, visit thecrumbybakery.co.uk

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Need to know

Surrey Creations is a series by local photographer, Philip Traill, exploring people in their work environment, capturing the characters and what they do in a single image. Contact Philip by e-mail: philip@traillphotography.com

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