This born and raised Londoner and self-taught baker is a woman after our own, err, hearts. Starting as a humble hobbyist, these days she’s designing pastries for Elton John parties and Alexander McQueen videos and scoring amazing spreads like this one in Pop. And last year she helped found the Young British Foodies Foundation to recognize other young talent – talk about a big heart…
Name: Lily Jones aka Lily Vanilli
Current Location: Abu Dhabi working on a new project…. still secret.
Day Job: Baker
Daily Uniform: Jeans, Apron, Dr Martens.
I have a few: Ideas
In the kitchen, I swear by: Shouting expletives
The taste I couldn’t live without: Salty
Can you tell us more about your Bleeding Heart Cake? How did it come about? It was a romantic notion.
It’s pretty bloody realistic, but looks insanely delicious! We’re feeling a little cannibalistic. Will you be making them again for this year or have any other tricks up your sleeve that you’ll be serving for Valentine’s Day? I’m making a few for Bart’s Pathology Museum’s annual Mending Broken Hearts seminar.
We read that you created a life-sized sponge cake replica of a client’s boyfriend’s head. How romantic! It looked like a scene from the movie Se7en – and the receptionist at his office recognised him when I dropped it off.
Ideal Valentine’s gift you would want to be given: Can of Red Stripe is always nice.
Favorite thing you’ve ever made/created: I always like what’s next best of all.
What goes well with a slice of Bleeding Heart Cake: A head full of rain and a heart full of pain.
Dream date scenario: Pool, beer, lots of laughing, ride home late on the back of a bike (footnote: I win the pool games)
I love what I do because: I can do it.
Lily Vanilli’s Bleeding Heart Cake Recipe: Surprise The One You Love
They are scarily realistic, but delicious with a red velvet sponge, cream cheese frosting and blackcurrant & cherry ‘blood’.
These are actually very simple….I use a Red Velvet cupcake – so bake a batch from your favourite red velvet recipe (there’s a good one in my book ‘A Zombie Ate my Cupcake‘). There is really no trick to making anything like this, just find an image (preferably of the real thing) that you want to copy and keep it in front of you while you work with the fondant.
Once the cake mixture is spooned into cupcake cases, use a piece of molded tin foil wedged between the case and the pan to make a little nick which will form the top of the heart.
Cool cake in the pan for 3 mins then transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely, remove their cases and set aside.
Now take approx 100g of poppy red fondant and roll out using a silicone rolling pin and mat – to about 1/4“ thickness – into a stretched out oval shape.
Place the cake in the centre of the oval and pipe a little bit of frosting (I use cream cheese) under it. Wrap the cake with the fondant with the groove at the top -and swiftly bring the fondant together to meet at the top of the cake, – using the extra fondant at the top to form three arteries (use blunt, rounded fondant tools to do this carefully). Don’t worry about any creases or gathering in the fondant – they make for useful gory details later on.
Place onto a miniature cake board (secure in place underneath with some piped frosting)
Now paint the heart using a soft brush and piping gel mixed with dabs of claret red and black food dye – it will stay really glossy.
When you are ready to serve, use a pipette or spoon to add black cherry sauce to the arteries and in a puddle around the base.
Lily Vanilli Bakery, 6 The Courtyard, Ezra Street; www.lilyvanilli.com
Open Sundays 8.30am-4pm