Silvana Riccetti began making cakes when she was 11; at work her baking was so popular that colleagues called her the Cake Lady.
When she lost her job in 2011, Silvana turned her hobby into a full-time career – and is now passing on her skills to others by launching a series of workshops.
Silvana taught herself the art of cake decorating around 20 years ago, when her daughter was a baby, building up her skills until she could charge for her work.
As an account manager at Cadbury’s, she made cakes for workplace charity events and colleagues began ordering celebration cakes from her.
“That gave me the confidence to approach Andrews café in Chapel Walk to see if they’d be interested in selling my cupcakes,” says Silvana.
Soon she was supplying them regularly, accepting orders for celebration cakes too: “I’d work in the evenings and weekends to make them because I was still working full time,” she says.
“One of my most unusual requests was a wedding cake for a couple whose theme was the artists Salvador Dali and Magritte. The cake had to be complete with melting clocks – and the Manchester City mascots on top! But they were so delighted with the result that they’ve since ordered another cake from me.”
When Cadbury’s closed its Sheffield office and Silvana was made redundant, Andrews offered her the chance to help set up a cake shop.
“I knew it was a big risk, but I had to try it, so I enthusiastically set about decorating the shop and making enough dummy cakes to fill the window.”
Orders came pouring in and she was soon getting so many that she had to rope in partner Phil to help with the baking.
Silvana realised the time had come to expand, so she took on an assistant to run the shop and moved the business to her home in Richmond. There she has a work room when she bakes and decorates her cakes and now runs classes too.
She has also launched a series of decorating workshops at Budding Picassos in Woodseats. Details: 07972 221 329.