This week we caught up with Sweet Carolina to find out about how she has made a business out of what she loves.
Hi, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Carolina, and I sell sweet treats, small cakes, biscuits, alfajores, brownie bites, and meringues. Everything sweet, everything bite size. At the moment I am based at home in West Dulwich. It's normally a one-woman band but on the busiest time of the year, I can have up to two more people working with me in the kitchen.
How long have you been creating baked goods and what attracted you to the trade?
I always baked as a hobby and because it was my way of expressing my love to my family and friends. I began to trade three years ago because I wanted to make a living out of the thing that I love most. What I love about trading is the relationship with my customers, knowing what they like, or if they have any dietary restrictions, the small chat every morning at the markets, and when they tell me that they loved this or that, because having a treat is a way to indulge yourself and I love to be a part of that.
I put my heart into every cake and you can feel that when you try them. I don’t bake anything that I do not like or I wouldn't give to my family or children.
What does a working week look like for you?
I work every day from Tuesday to Sunday. From Tuesday to I'm in the kitchen by 9:30am to organise the weekly baking for cafes I provide for. On Saturday and Sunday by 6:00am I have to have everything ready to go to the Markets. Monday is my kind of free day.
Friday is one of the busiest days of the week, as I am baking for tomorrow's markets. There is a batch of vanilla biscuits in the oven and my mixers are preparing the batter for the cakes. The kitchen smells delicious, a mix of vanilla, melted chocolate, and caramel.
How do you ensure that your ingredients are organic and fresh?
I have a wholesaler for the main ingredients, sugar, flour, nuts, eggs act. Suma is my wholesaler and all my ingredients are organic and fair trade. For fruits, I use my farmers' markets or the local green shop and I try to stick to what is in season as possible or at least a fair trade product.
My disposable materials are compostable and I do not use or provide any plastic bags to my customers.
What makes trading at the Horniman special for you?
The venue is beautiful, I love being surrender by Gardens even when the temperature is always at least 2 C degrees lower than any other place in London, there is plenty of families and children and the museum itself is in a way a “small family business”, so I feel part of a big family helping other people to have a great day and a good experience.
Do you have anything special planned for the coming seasons?
I try to stick as seasonal as possible, now that apples, figs, and pumpkins are in season, you will have plenty of treats with those ingredients. Apple pie, apple and caramel cakes, pumpkin loaves etc.
Halloween is coming soon so I am in the process of making hundreds of scary biscuits, ghostly meringues, and terrifyingly indulgent cakes.