Fiona Cairns - Client Profile

Fiona Cairns found herself regularly congratulated by her friends who praised the stunning cakes she had made in her kitchen at home, and was encouraged by them to ‘give up her day job’ to develop a business around her outstanding talent.

Fiona Cairns with wedding cake It took the entrepreneurial instincts of Fiona’s husband, Kishore Patel, to fully appreciate the potential of a bakery business in which her rigorous standards, insistence on ingredients and decoration of the highest quality would be the guiding principles. Now encouraged, Fiona took samples to The Conran Shop and immediately received an order for 72, which she later learned, had sold out within hours.

Twenty six years later, in mid-February of this year, Fiona received a phone call from Clarence House and the invitation was to produce the Wedding Cake for His Royal Highness, Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton.

Miss Middleton, had long admired the style of cake decoration pioneered by Victorian baker, Joseph Lambeth. His beautiful cakes smothered in flowers so perfectly formed from icing sugar that only close scrutiny could reveal that they were not real.

Choosing Fiona and her team to produce such a cake acknowledged the years of practice and training that ensured, probably uniquely, she could be relied upon to produce a cake that would be perfect and literally, fit for a King. Nine weeks later, there it was, eight tiers of immaculately decorated delicious fruit cake, standing on a smoked glass plinth in the Picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace, attracting the highest praise from 600 very discerning guests. The Times called it a ‘masterpiece’.

It is apparent that The Royal Wedding cake will be the defining achievement of Fiona’s career, as interest in her and in the business pours in from all over the world. Nevertheless, the core of the company remains the same as ever. Hundreds of thousands of fairy cakes and biscuits are produced for major stockists every year. Brides to be will still be able to order their own wedding cakes from a range of designs exclusive to Waitrose. Customers of Waitrose, Harrods, Fortnum and Mason, Sainsbury’s and Selfridges will marvel at the beauty of the cakes and, offering them to guests at home for tea, will receive praise in their judgement at having chosen so well, such praise being as well-founded as that received from Fiona’s friends, around her table back in 1985.

The journey from the kitchen table to Buckingham Palace has been long and at times delicate and even difficult but also a great deal of fun. Eleven years ago when there were only seven employees and one small oven, Kishore Patel joined as a full time MD. As he says “the first and most important change he made was to appoint Goodman Jones as the company accountants. In those eleven years the Company has grown from seven to nearly 90 strong. At each step and every turn, almost on a weekly basis, Goodman Jones have advised, nudged, cajoled, challenged and praised in equal measure. They have been a steadfast partner and true to their word. The Royal Wedding Cake took five days to bake – Fiona Cairns is still in the oven with Goodman Jones by our side, twenty five years later and not yet ready to come out!”