Author Lily Jones, more commonly known as Lily Vanilli, is an East London based baker, known for her creative and unconventional designs. Dubbed ‘the rock n’ roll baker’ by Dazed and Confused magazine, she has worked with the likes of Elton John and Nigella Lawson. ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ is her first recipe book.
Each recipe has a mini introduction, accompanied by easy to follow instructions. The layout is simple, and nicely spaced. And each step is clear, honest and concise, with images on some recipes to show you how to deal with the trickier stages.
I think the over-the-top ‘part graphic novel, part cookbook’ design is brilliant. It’s a little different to your other cupcake related books on the market at the moment, and really stands out. The illustrations by Paul Parker are amazing, and really fit the cake designs.
What I really like is that there is a cupcake design for everyone! At the back of the book, she lists a range of simple cupcake recipes, from her famous red velvet flavour to simple vanilla. She also provides helpful tips so you can change them to fit your taste or preferences, making the book timeless.
The ingredients are easy to find, and she has also added a list of tools and suppliers so you don’t miss out on anything. Lily is also a promoter of fair trade ingredients, so that gives her cupcakes an added edge. Here's one I made earlier.
Brilliantly designed, and really easy to use: 4/5
Earlier this month, SW Craft Club also had a bloggers’ daytrip to Lily’s shop in East London. Based just off Columbia Road, in Shoreditch, her shop is the perfect destination to spend your Sunday afternoons.
I managed to catch up with Lily to ask her about her book, and what it is about cupcakes that makes them so damn desirable!
Hi Lily, so how did the name 'Lily Vanilli' come about?
It was one of a long line of silly baking puns in a conversation with my friend Anita on msn - she was in Australia at the time. I just started using it for real after that.
What is it about cupcakes that make you so passionate about them?
I wanted to call the book 'Zombies Ate My Cake' but my publisher was insistent that cupcakes should be in the title as they were so popular. The whole book and the grotesque style of decorating that I was doing were meant to be a reaction against cupcakes!
So why do you think cupcakes are so popular at the moment?
I think it was a fashion moment, plus they make sense as a snack. They’re individual and the right size, pretty and portable. People like cake so it follows that they will like a cupcake.
Ok, so what inspired you to write 'A Zombie Ate My Cupcake'?
I think kids and grown-ups alike have a fascination with anything gory, or with insects and horror, I know I do. The imagery of the book is inspired by comics and B-movies and I love horror in general.
Nice! And finally, do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline we should know about?
We have a huge event coming up! It’s called the YBF’s- it’s a celebration of all the new creativity in food and a search for the next generation of passionate foodies. We think what's happening in British food at the moment is a movement, a breaking down of the old systems and a fresh exciting start.
We’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks Lily!
If you’re interested in learning more about the YBF’s, you can check out their website here! [www.the-ybfs.com]. You can also keep up-to-date with what Miss Lily Vanilli is doing on her website! [http://www.lilyvanilli.com/]