I’m Claire Ptak and along with running my bakery-café, I am a food writer, food and prop stylist, recipe developer and consultant. Violet is my small bakery based in East London. I started my business as a market stall on Broadway Market, cooking from home before opening the café in 2010. All of my cakes are baked with organic flour, sugar, milk and eggs. Many of the other ingredients are organic as well, like our Madagascan vanilla pods and pure cane molasses. Limited edition buttercream icings that adorn our birthday cakes, cupcakes, and fill whoopie pies and biscuits, change with the seasons. They are made by whipping up butter and sugar then gently folding in fresh fruit purees, melted Valrhona dark chocolate, freshly brewed espresso, home-made flower cordials or dark caramel made with sea salt.
Spring brings Elderflowers, gooseberries, rhubarb and Alphonso Mango icings; in the Summer we use Kentish cherries and strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from Suffolk and Dorset blueberries. In the Autumn we puree figs, Fragola grapes from Italy, and local apples and quinces. Winter is the time for oranges, lemons, clementines, and grapefruit. We can’t live without coconut, so we always offer it.

Other favourites include cinnamon buns, a fresh ginger and molasses cake, chocolate rye brownies, fruity spelt cake, flourless chocolate cake, oatmeal-raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, and chocolate-vanilla sandwich cookies. Mince pies, Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings are available from November, and during Easter we have sticky hot cross buns, all made using our own candied citrus peels. Originally from California, I worked as a pastry cook and later pastry chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley before moving to London in 2005.