Interview with an expert

Ask the Expert: Lindy Smith

Lindy Smith - cake decorator extrordinaireLindy Smith is a world renowned cake decorator with a ton of books under her belt. And when I say a ton I mean A TON!! The latest Creative Colour for Cake Decorating  has won her the prestigious International Gourmand Cookbook Award.

I met Lindy at a press launch a few months back. She was doing a demonstration and the PR girl kept saying ‘Lindy has been doing this with the sugarpaste cutters’ and ‘Lindy has been doing that with the cookie shapers’ and I just stood there thinking – “that’s not THE Lindy Smith? Is it?” but it was and I couldn’t believe it. She was so down to earth – but then let’s face it all cakey people are pretty lovely (aren’t we?)

Me & Lindy

We chatted for a while and I told her about the cake Darcey requested for her 7th birthday party last year. Not one of mine, not a Darcey imaginative idea but one of Lindy’s. She wanted the whale from Lindy’s book Party animals . The girls love to pour over cake books whilst eating their morning cereal choosing what they want next year. Usually they change their minds on a daily basis but not this time. The whale was very cute and I was happy with the end result.

Whale cake

  So, never one to miss an opportunity I asked if I could interview Lindy for this here blog and she kindly said yes so here it is. Lindy  shares her passions and inspiration behind her beautiful cake designs with us.

How did you get into baking and cake decorating?

I have baked ever since I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon! I was lucky, both my mother and grandmother were keen bakers so learning to bake cakes was all part of growing up. As for cake decorating, I was inspired by my own wedding cake to take evening classes in cake decorating. I fell in love with the craft right from my very first lesson, which was how to make sugarpaste – no manufactured paste available then!! I have tried many crafts over the years but sugarcraft is the one that I love the most, it combines my love of baking, art and design and colour, what could be more perfect?

Who inspires you most in the cake decorating arena?

I have had the privilege of meeting many many talented sugarcrafters from around the globe from Brazil to Australia, Canada to Portugal.  These peoples work is amazing, but when it comes to inspiration for my own cakes I like to look to the world of art and design and beyond. I strive to be different and take influences from what I am drawn to, whether it’s a flower in my garden, a piece of wrought iron work or an elaborate wall paper.

What do you do for fun?

To de-stress and relax I like to spend time outside in my garden, cultivating colourful and scented flowers and tasty organic vegetables. My garden is where I forget all the trails and tribulations of everyday life and just concentrate on the job in hand whether its pricking out delicate seedlings or attacking an over grown bush with a pruning saw.

Lindy Smith Owl cake

owl cake detailWhere is your favourite place to go out for dinner?

Well, I recently moved house so I’m in the process of finding new places to eat out. But a place we discovered whilst house hunting and one we’ve been back to on numerous occasions for lunch is the Ludlow Kitchen. It serves amazingly tasty, local fresh food – fabulous

What kitchen gadget could you not live without and why?

My Kenwood mixer, my old one packed up at Christmas after 25 years service and I was totally lost without it!

What’s your favorite meal?

I like to eat a wide variety of food from grilled fish to marinated venison, food that is fresh and full of flavour. I love sampling new dishes and trying new flavour combinations. But actually what I miss most when I’m working away from home is beautifully cooked fresh vegetables!

What’s your favorite dessert?

I have two favourite desserts: the fabulous sticky toffee pudding served with a really good vanilla ice-cream and the gorgeously decedent baked but gooey chocolate fondant – what a treat!

Are you a Tea or coffee drinker?

Both! If I am out I will always try and find a good local coffee shop – a real treat for me is a superbly blended cappuccino, it’s an art! I’m quite experimental when it comes to tea, in my kitchen at any one time I will have between 6 and 10 varieties of loose leaf tea ranging from say a first flush darjeeling tea to jasmine silver tip china tea. 

How long did the book take to write?

This was quite an involved book so from conception to repro took 16 months. Although I created the cakes and wrote the text over an 8 month period

Were there any major disasters when working on the book?

 No major disasters per say but I did start afresh with the peacock cake. Originally I was using much stronger colours and larger cakes but the overall effect wasn’t elegant enough so I scaled down the cake sizes and brought a fresh look to the colours – I’m thrilled with the result

What is your favourite cake design in the book?

I am really pleased with how the peacock inspired cake turned out but my favourite has to be my carved owl cake, he has such character.

Tell us about the International Gourmand Cookbook Award for Best Pastry Sweets Book in the UK.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were started in 1995 by founder and President Edouard Cointreau, whose family have owned vineyards since 1270 and are probably best known for Cointreau liqueur and the Frapin and Remy Martin cognac brands. The awards are seen by many to be the Oscars of the food industry, so I am really thrilled to have won the Pastry Sweets category for the UK, especially as its such a large category and cake decorating only constitutes a small part 

What’s next on the Lindy Smith to do list?

 I have a lot happening this year, but I’m currently working on my next book which is being launched at the Cake international exhibition at the NEC in November. I am also in the process of finalising images and text for a Lindy Smith 2015 calender which is being produced as a licensed product – my first foray into licensing, which is all very exciting.

Creative Colour for Cake Decorating, Lindy Smith (David & Charles) available from all good booksellers or online at

Lindy Smith peacock cake Lindy Smith Peacock cake EmmaMT


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1 Comment

  1. Love the owl cake, so different! But then the little whale made me smile too, great idea Emma.

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