Updated: Oct 27, 2020
To talk to Gillian Bell about baking is to be swept along on a journey inspired by children's story book adventures and the true romances of the couples she bakes wedding cakes for. Like Mary Poppins herself, Gillian flies in to spread her special type of magic at weddings in far-flung destinations.
Gillian doesn't know what she's going to bake for each occasion until she arrives and meets the happy couple; she says the recipe for a wedding cake that captures their unique and personal story appears to her as she gets to know them.
Baking wedding cakes has taken Gillian from her home-base in Brisbane, Australia to such places as Sweden, France and Scotland, the US, Japan, China and more. Her cakes are breath-taking works of art but first and foremost, Gillian says, she wants them to be delicious.
Most of her clients are well-travelled people who find her work through word of mouth, although there are certainly some Hollywood stars and landed gentry among her clients.
In this episode of ExtraVirgin Podcast, we hear how her love of baking developed, and about her unique approach to creating a wedding cake, including why she starts baking at midnight on the eve of the wedding.
She also shares tips for anyone who's a little nervous about baking but would like to give it a go. Her motto is "has whisk will travel" and there's a fair chance that listening to this episode will have you reaching for a whisk and a recipe too. Enjoy! Click here to listen.
You may also be interested in checking out Gillian's own lovely podcast, Dispatch to a Friend, which she creates with her good friend Annabelle Hickson. The podcast is a heart-warming look into their lives through the letters they write each other while Gillian travels, whisk in hand, and writer Annabelle captures life on her pecan farm in north-western NSW.
The podcast, like many things in Covid-effected 2020, is in hiatus but the back catalogue is worth dipping into while we wait for new episodes. Like Gillian's cakes, it's a tribute to travel, cooking, flowers and love.