What is behind the pastel pink shop front on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Ebury Street? Peggy Porschen Cakes has been serving up a slice of cake heaven and delicate sugary confections since 2003.
Run by Peggy Porschen, we step inside the Belgravia landmark to discover more about the business and how one of the world’s top cake artists made the move to Belgravia.
Peggy’s passion for baking stems from her childhood spent in the German town of Düren, about 30 miles south-west of Cologne. Her love of eating cake developed into a desire to produce her own creations when in 1990, aged just 14, she baked a cake for a boyfriend.
Eight years later, Peggy moved from Germany to study at the internationally renowned London cookery school Le Cordon Bleu.
“Studying at Le Cordon Bleu was the stepping stone in my career,” she says. “I learned the proper techniques from the best chefs and how to be highly meticulous and hard working.”
After completing The Grand Diploma of Cuisine & Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, Peggy worked as a pastry chef at The Lanesborough Hotel in Knightsbridge and celebrated caterer Rhubarb Food Design.
German master-baker Gerhard Jenne, proprietor of Konditor & Cook – which has numerous branches in London – gave Peggy her first cake-decorating job. “I soon started to acquire my own commissions and my first big job was to produce 500 Fabergé eggs for Elton John’s White Tie & Tiara Ball, which was quickly followed by Stella McCartney’s wedding in 2003,” she says.
In the same year she set up her home-based business Peggy Porschen Cakes that started out creating sweet treats for friends and colleagues.
After the release of her first book Pretty Party Cakes in 2005, the business went from strength to strength and Peggy soon became the exclusive wedding cake partner of Fortnum & Mason.
She now counts Sir Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Madonna, Sting and Cheryl Cole among her A-list clients, which helps explain why Peggy says wedding and celebration cakes are the flagship element of her bespoke cake-making company.
That business, which made the move to Belgravia in autumn 2010 and is run with her New Zealand-born husband Bryn Morrow, is open to the general public.
Peggy Porschen Parlour in Ebury Street serves up a freshly-baked, ready to eat collection of cupcakes, layer cakes and coveted confections seven days a week.
“It was always a dream to have my own shop and offer my cakes to people on an everyday basis. The parlour also stocks my own homewares and a collection of jams and loose leaf teas – all inspired by the ingredients used in my kitchen,” Peggy says.
The shop also sells the nine books Peggy has written, while the parlour is home to the bespoke design side of the business. “I regularly bring out new wedding and celebration cake collections and my brides enjoy visiting our Bridal Boutique – a space dedicated to one-on-one consultation and tasting for those wishing to commission a bespoke Peggy Porschen design,” she says.
The business expanded in January 2011 with the opening of Peggy’s first Cake Academy opposite the parlour in Elizabeth Street. She points out it is London’s first cookery school dedicated entirely to baking, cake decorating and sugarcraft.
“I have created a year-round curriculum with project-based and technique-led courses and classes to suit a variety of proficiency levels,” she explains.
Her aims for the future include a dream of making a cake for Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry. “She’s not getting married as far as I know,” Peggy says. “But I would love to make a cake for Mary Berry one day, I’m such a fan of hers and I think she is a national treasure. I would love to see her reaction to one of my cakes.”
Peggy Porschen Cakes Ltd can be found at 116 Ebury Street and is open Monday to Sunday between 10am and 6pm. Peggy Porschen Academy is based at 30 Elizabeth Street. For more information, visit PeggyPorschen.com