Words By Caterina Dassiè
Cocoa & Drizzle is a brownies business…you heard me…BROWIES (and blondies) delivered to your door. Lauren, the founder and baker, graduated in Law at Warwick University last July and currently works as a Paralegal in Cardiff and bakes in her spare time back in Swansea. Quench had the opportunity to both try out her delicacies and exchange some words.
Hi Lauren, thank you so much for taking some time to answer my questions; I was wondering when did you start baking?
I started baking when I was a little girl – even though my mum despises any type of baking! My grandma likes to bake and so I grew up baking sweet treats with her quite a lot. My love for baking grew from there and from the age of around 13 I used to spend my free time reading baking blogs and trying out new recipes. I’ve always been a chocolate fiend at heart, so brownies used to be my go-to bake for any celebration. Cocoa & Drizzle was built from there!
Grandmas are always the best cooking teachers! Both my grannies taught me a lot about cooking and baking as well. So… When did you start selling your brownies? How did they idea come up?
I started selling my brownies at around October 2018, after I struggled to find a job. My flatmates had mentioned that I should contact some local stockists and ask if they’d be interested. I thought why not, the worst thing that they could say was no! My dad has his own business and I’d always envisaged myself doing the same in a few years, so I guess I just started early on my plan.
As they say, most of the time the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It looks like your business is running well, but is it hard to manage your time between work and baking?
It is quite a juggling act to balance work and baking, along with every other part of my life! I’m very lucky to say that I get a lot of help from my family – my parents deliver any coffee shop orders and are always available for collections, so I couldn’t be more thankful to them. I have to make sure I structure my time and ensure that I have at least one day off baking every week, so I don’t get burnt out. Making lists has definitely become second nature to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without my notepad for my ever-expanding to-do list. It also massively helps that I still really enjoy baking, it’s a great stress reliever at the end of each day, and never feels like work.
I guess your notepad is your key to success. Did you expected your business to become as popular?
The business has definitely gone from strength to strength over the last few months, and I honestly never expected it to take off like it has. I had vision of my Instagram page being photos of some bakes that I’d done for friends – I had no idea that people would be as interested as they have been. It’s so lovely to hear everyone’s positive feedback and receiving repeat orders from customers!
I thought this would give a variety of choice for customers. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially if they had any allergies or intolerances. I also take any requests for flavour that are not on the flavours list, so people can make their own bespoke brownies. I haven’t received any wacky request yet! I have tried and tested each flavour at least twice before I’ve added it to the menu, to see how they turn out and to ensure each bake is bursting with flavour.
As you want to satisfy every request, I am wondering if you have any future plans for the business, e.g. vegan options?
Future plans for the business include collaborations with different local suppliers and expanding the range of product offerings, to include some truffles, or brownie pops. I currently offer vegan brownies, but I’ll be looking to include some vegan blondies – I just have to perfect the recipe. There’re also few things in the pipeline at the moment that I can’t wait to share, so keep a look out on my Instagram page for any updates!
Nice! I can’t wait, I’ll check your account then for updates. As a “brownies professional”, could you provide some suggestions to our readers on how to make the best brownies?
My top tips for baking brownies would be to use chocolate and cocoa powder in the recipe, as this creates a fabulously rich chocolate flavour. Also, make sure that you do not over bake brownies. Insert a toothpick in the centre of the pan once they’ve been in the oven for the required time. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are a few moist crumbs, they are ready. Check every two minutes until you have reached moist crumbs. I hope this helps!
I will for sure keep these tips in mind for the next time I bake them and I will let you know the outcome! As I am quite obsessed with being environmentally friendly, especially concerning food, what do you do with leftovers?
I try to minimise the amount of leftovers by baking in larger batches, but there are usually a few odds and ends leftover. I will normally give these to my family to eat, or some work colleagues. I think anyone who knows me has had enough chocolate over the last few months to last them a lifetime.
I mean…I am envying your relatives and friends right now; I looove chocolate! Lauren, thank you so much for your time and sweet goodies, it was a pleasure both trying them and talking to you.
All my pleasure. I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity.
…Now that you know a bit more about Lauren and her business, I would like to tell you about her actual products: brownies and blondies!
I had the opportunity to try almost all the flavours offered, but as describing all of them might not be as helpful for who wants to try them out, I decided to just give a few feedbacks and tell you about my favourites.
Out of all of the brownies I have tried, The Ferrero Rocher Brownie was definitely the best! The chocolate in the batter was perfectly strong and I could flawlessly taste the hazelnut flavour of the Ferrero Rocher; it had a good balance of the two. The batter itself had a really good texture and it was moisty, but not sloppy – it is very hard to find a brownie with the perfect texture even in the best bakery in town!
Regarding the blondies…I have to admit that it was my first time trying them out (I know I should feel ashamed!), and I was pretty sceptic but after having the first bite, I surely wasn’t disappointed these were my first.
I tried the Jammy Dodger, Cherry Bakewell, Salted Caramel and Biscoff. Out of them, the Cherry Bakewell was my favourite! It had the perfect combo of sourness given by the cherries and sweetness of the almonds, which were also giving a crunchy consistency to the batter.
There were some flavours, such as the peanut and the orange ones, which I felt like needed a bit more of the toppings. Also, a few brownies had the batter less soft and moisty than others, but I guess it really depends from which part of the baking tin they were taken once cut.
Overall, the brownies were really good, but I loved the blondies more – maybe because I didn’t know what to expect from them. I surely recommend trying both of them out, especially for the convenience and to support local businesses. Lauren is really kind and friendly as well, and as she said, you can even ask her for your favourite flavour; so, what are you waiting for?
I’m starting my Legal Practitioners Course and Masters of Laws later this year at Cardiff, and I’m looking forward to it!