Entries tagged with “wedding cakes”.


Cape Town will be put on the national map from today, when the first episode of the ‘Charly’s Cake Angels’ TV series, focused on Charly’s Bakery, is flighted on SABC 3 at 16h00 this afternoon.  Each of the thirteen episodes focuses on a unique aspect of Cape Town, and will make Cape Town synonymous with Cake Town!

Mother-and-daughters-team of Jacqui, Alex, Roche and Dani Biess are excited about the ‘mucking afazing’ (their cheeky slogan) opportunity they were given to not just make their well-loved distinctively pink bakery famous, but also Cape Town, the city they love, with its creative qualities.  Charly’s Bakery has operated for 21 years, and has become known for its designer cakes, and no design request for wedding and birthday cakes has been insurmountable, be it representing Cape Town, cars, fashion accessories, and many more designs.  Cake is symbolic of the most important events and milestones in one’s life.  To celebrate the success of the TV series, Charly’s Bakery will donate R5000 to one of a number of charity alternatives, the most deserving being voted for by their fans.

The ‘Charly’s Cake Angels’ programme series came about when Producer Justin Bonello, of Cooked in Africa Films, approached Charly’s Bakery.  Not only will the creative cake shop receive valuable coverage through the TV series, but there will also be a book published and merchandise will be for sale.   A new website has been launched for Charly’s Bakery, to co-incide with the TV series.   The DVD cover for some of the episodes summarises the background as follows: “Charly’s Cake Angels is a reality series which will take viewers down the rabbit hole deep into the world jammed with screaming ‘Eat me’ cakes.  Every week viewers will be treated to the Charly’s team tackling yet another impossible cake for a fabulous function”.

Executive Producer Peter Gird said as follows about the TV series: “…’Charly’s Cake Angels’ is far more than a documentary set in a bakery, but offers a truly unique and entertaining view into the lives of the ‘Angels’ and the community they serve, and provides an entertaining and heart-warming showcase to truly ‘mucking afazing’ cakes that do more than make people’s mouths water.  Don’t be fooled into thinking ‘Charly’s Bakery is a factory.  It’s a philosophy and a way of life, with strong local and social media following.  Our partnership allows us to portray the joie de vivre, laughter, creative innovation and candy-striped chaos that patrons don’t usually see, to a local TV audience and beyond. using social media and in-store promotional mechanisms”.

In a most unusual manner, the tourism assets of Cape Town and beyond are built into the TV series.  So, for example, the cake that Charly’s Bakery baked to represent Cape Town, and showcased at the Design Indaba earlier this year, is covered in the ‘Cape Town Cake’ episode.  So too, in conjunction with Cosmopolitan, a range of handbag and shoe cakes was produced and became the programme theme for the ‘Fashion’ episode.   The ‘Revenge of the Rhino’ episode is dedicated to the birth of a rhino, particularly poignant, given the death of rhinos due to poaching at Aquila Game Reserve, where footage was shot for this episode.  Table Mountain features in many of the episodes.

Bonello has published three books: ‘Cooked in Africa’, Weekends Away’, and ‘Out of the Frying Pan’. He and Gird have also produced ‘Cooked’ (broadcast on BBC), ‘Getaway to Africa’ (broadcast on M-Net and Discovery), ‘Exploring the Vine’ (broadcast on M-Net and National Geographic), and ‘Fresh Living TV‘ (broadcast on etv).

Charly’s Bakery, 38 Canterbury Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021)  461-5181. www.charlysbakery.com

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Cape Town has a super fun bakery that pulls out all the stops to make a special person’s birthday a special one, the creativity of Charly’s Bakery knowing no bounds.   Strictly speaking, Charly’s Bakery should be called Jacqui’s Bakery, as it is Jacqui Biess who is the energetic and creative powerhouse running Charly’s Bakery with her three daughters Alex, Daniella and Roche. 

In honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on Sunday, Jacqui has been infected by the spirit of unity and goodwill amongst South Africans resulting from the World Cup, and is calling on Capetonians to join her, her family, staff and friends in walking the Madiba Unity Fan Walk on Madiba’s special 92nd birthday.  At the end of the Walk, Charly’s Bakery will share a special 4-tiered Golden Wicked chocolate birthday cake with the walkers, serving at least 300, and singing Happy Birthday to Mandela.

Says Jacqui: “South Africans experienced a month of magic. We felt alive, united and inspired. We felt safe. We walked the streets of Cape Town for the first time in years and felt the magic of our city. Our relationship with our country and our people grew to new heights. We fell in love with our country again. This walk is not political, it’s not about blame, it is about keeping the gees and unity of the World Cup alive…opening our hearts and keeping South African unity a reality. Our Tata has shown us what it means to be free and to be able to live without fear of being who you are. He did it for 67 years, we can do it for 67 minutes”.

The planned route starts off at 12h00 on Sunday at St George’s Cathedral, moves along St George’s Mall, and links up with the bridge which crosses over Buitengracht Street, onto the Prestwich Memorial precinct at St Andrews Church (at Truth Coffees).  The Fan Walk will link in with the Ubuntu Festival, which takes place this weekend.  DJ’s and live musicians such as Hot Water, The Gugulethu Tenors, Coda, Sterling EQ, and Mthika will peform along the route. There will be a strong CCID presence in the city.

Charly’s Bakery was started by Jacqui’s husband Karl-Heinz (Charly).  After completing his baking apprenticeship at Cafe Anton in Swakopmund, Charly opened a cake and coffee shop on Thibault Square, and then Charly’s Cafe in the V&A Waterfront, their breakfasts being particularly popular, as were their buffet lunches. The next move was to Roeland Street, where Jacqui and Charly set up a wholesale bakery for two years, before switching to retail sales.  They never advertised, but relied on word-of-mouth from their happy customers to grow their business. They received coverage in magazines regularly, being close to the offices of Associated Magazines, and ad agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather.   It was their willingness “to play” when receiving an interesting challenge for a shoot that made them popular amongst the media.  Jacqui recalled how she was given six hours’ notice from Jane Raphaely of Associated Magazines to do a high tea for Oprah Winfrey at their offices.  She was asked to make a cake for Archbishop Tutu’s 75th birthday, reflecting his life.  They have recently gone onto Twitter, and will be starting a blog soon.

A year ago Charly’s Bakery moved out of their Roeland Street location as the building is earmarked for demolition.  Jacqui looked for a building she could own independently, and was delighted when she could first lease and now buy the current building in Canterbury Street, which was previously the Beinkenstadt Bookshop, and its 1898 heritage connected with her Jewish soul.   She renovated the building, keeping everything she could – the bookshelves were reused, and the pressed lead ceilings were renovated.   The outside of the building took five weeks to paint, and looks like a heavenly pink iced cake.

A Bakers’ supplies store will open in the upstairs floor, stocking icings, coloured dough, ganaches, and cake decorations, to enable working and upmarket moms to bake their own special birthday cakes.   The TV reality programme “Cake Boss” has encouraged a greater focus on baking and decorating, says Jacqui.   Jacqui is working on a book documenting the story of Charly’s Bakery.  

Charly worked himself out of the business three years ago, training his staff and daughters in fundamental cake baking, and this opened the door to Jacqui and her team to pursue creativity, playing with decorations, and having fun, “finding their inner child”.  They have no rules, and push the boat with words and visuals on their personalised cakes and cupcakes.   They use attractive pink and white striped boxes for their cakes, the words “mucking afazing” on them being an indication of their “wicked” humour!   I asked Jacqui whether she would move into food service again, given her previous experience in doing buffets, as she does sell quiches and pies, as well as cakes and coffees, for sit-down guests.   She is focused on her core business, which is cakes, and wants to keep it that way, she says.  

Birthday cakes and cupcakes for parties top the pops at Charly’s Bakery, but wedding cakes also keep them busy, with 5 – 7 orders per weekend in summer.   Charly’s Bakery works with Frances Bell, a classic cake decorator, and they make a good team in using Frances’ classical skills and marrying them with their own funky and fun decorating.  The bakery is open for customers to see, at least the decorating part of it, and the shelves display the cakes awaiting collection.   The World Cup inspired the Charly’s Bakery team to score with their country-theme cupcakes, and the football theme they applied in so many fun and creative ways.  Cakes range in price from R145 – R195, while the Decadent Chocolate Cakes range from R175 – R225.

It is rare that a family team gets on so well to all be involved in the business, and having fun while doing so.  Jacqui Biess is a character, a mensch, no-nonsense, a powerhouse, creative, goal-orientated, and a bit of a rebel, smoking her self-rolled Drum Original tobacco-filled cigarettes.  But most of all she has the “gees”, and she is determined to share it with her fellow Capetonians in honour of the father of our democracy.

Charly’s Bakery, 38 Canterbury Street, Tel 021 461-5181. www.charlysbakery.co.za  Twitter @charlysbakery. Mondays – Saturdays. Closed for winter break 1 – 23 August.

POSTSCRIPT 18/7:  It is estimated that 1 500 Capetonians particpated in the Madiba Unity Fan Walk today, an astounding turnout. Coverage on e-tv, the Weekend Argus, Voice of the Cape, and Cape Talk, as well as Tweets on Twitter helped to create awareness for the event, which was blessed by incredible weather.   The cake (photograph above), baked in honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday was shared with the walkers.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com