“The more bizarre, the better” – that’s the challenge of a cake design firm which has made some eye-catching creations over the years.
From the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower to the Taj Mahal and Caesar’s Palace – there is no job too big or small for Horden-based Celebration Cakes.
Other designs the company has been asked to make over the years include The Bellagio Hotel and The Venetian Hotel, both in Las Vegas, and replicas of landmarks closer to home, including Lumley Castle, Auckland Castle and Langley Castle.
They have even made cakes for celebrity fans including Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, ex-EastEnders star John Partridge and designer Wayne Hemingway.
One of the family-run firm’s most recent designs was a replica of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, in Barcelona.
Peterlee couple Tina and Simon Copeland approached the company to make the cake for their wedding at Hardwicke Hall Hotel, in Hesleden, last summer.
The finished product was 4ft-high and made from Celebration Cakes’ own sugar recipe, featuring its distinct turrets and spires.
Irene Grove, who runs the Cotsford Lane-based business with daughters Deborah Shiel, 28, and Angela Grove, 31, said: “People come in and say ‘oh my goodness, I’ve never seen anything like this before’. We try and push the boundaries and go a little better each time.
“Each time I get a challenge it’s harder than the last one.
“I’ve never said no, but sometimes I wish I had! But I always get there in the end.”
Irene, originally from Peterlee but now living in Wheatley Hill, said the Barcelona Cathedral was the hardest design she had created since opening the shop eight years ago.
Before setting up the premises, she had taken over the space in her husband’s garage to make her cake creations.
“Each one we do, we raise the bar,” said Irene, who is also mum to Helen Grove-Rogers, 41.
She said it took around six weeks to make the Barcelona Cathedral, including researching every part of its architecture, through going online and even visiting travel agents, casting an eye over different viewpoints of the real-life structure.
Irene joked: “It can be like Wimpey Homes in our kitchen.”
Irene and the girls make cakes for all occasions, including weddings, birthdays, Christenings and even divorces and are providing a three-tier wedding cake worth up to £400 as part of the Hartlepool Mail’s Bride of the Year competition.
Irene said what she enjoys most about her job is “seeing the finished article”.
“There is an awful lot of pride in it and to get good feedback from brides and grooms is amazing,” she added.