If you think this stunning coo cake looks familiar, the chances are you’ve spied it on social media.
The creation has gone down a storm and appeared in publications as far afield as the US, with everyone from brides to coo lovers putting in a order.
But what of the baker behind the masterpiece, who painstakingly assembles the horns and paints the endearing coo features directly onto the fondant?
Society took a special trip to Alford in Aberdeenshire, and met Charlene Meier in a bid to discover the secret to her success.
The founder of Ohhh Crumbs, Charlene, who is originally from South Africa, arrived in the north-east in 2007.
She previously worked in oil and gas as an executive PA, but found herself questioning her career oath during her second maternity leave.
Having decided to revisit her passion for cake decorating, she is now the proud owner of an incredible business.
Tell us how Ohhh Crumbs started?
My job was really busy, but I always had this longing for something more creative.
My husband works offshore, and we don’t have family here. It was the reality of juggling family life with a busy work schedule, so I was racking my brains during maternity leave.
Now I have a 10 year old daughter and six year old son. It was during my maternity leave with my son that I started thinking about a role which I could do at home.
I’d never been a keen baker, so to set something up like this came as a surprise to my family.”
I always used to buy cakes and then redecorate them though.
I started off doing cupcake bouquets, but I didn’t think anyone would come to just outside Alford to collect them.
It turns out they did, and I got ridiculously busy. So next on my list, was cakes.
Was it scary to start your own business?
Of course, and I don’t think I’d have made the jump were it not for encouragement from my mum.
I was kind of raised just to appreciate the fact that you had a job. But my mum still encouraged me to go ahead and do it.
I didn’t know if it was going to work out or not, but I’d tell anyone to just go for it.
All you really have to lose is money, and I’ve never been money driven, much to my husband’s frustration.”
I am doing something I love, so I’m happy.
Talk us through the process of your designs.
So I bake the cake and split it into four layers, then fill it and ganache it.
Then it’s covered in fondant. I paint it and add texture. The paint is edible coloured dust mixed with melted coco butter.
Depending on the design, one order can take hours and hours.
Have you always loved art?
I studied photography and graphic design years ago, and I did ceramics as well.
But I stopped when I had my kids, I hadn’t painted for years.
Cakes are now my medium and they seem to sell well.
I take bespoke orders and every cake is unique, so I’ve actually scaled back on how much work I take on, particularly as I can work on an order for a number of days.
What is your most popular design?
The Highland Coo without a doubt. Maybe it’s Scottish thing, the signature animal of Scotland and the north-east in particular.
I love doing designs which are timeless, elegant and bespoke. I’m quite fussy in what I take on, because I don’t like to copy anyone else’s work.
I think the baking side is actually a little more stressful than the decorating side of things.
I love it when people say they trust me, and they give me free rein.
What do you love about your job?
I find it quite therapeutic once I know what I’m doing. I’m a procrastinator, I actually perform better under pressure having left things till the last minute.
Once I’m running with an idea, I can blink and it’s 6am. I love taking that step back and looking at my work.”
I also love to see the look on the customer’s face when they see their cake.
Do your customers hail from all over?
They can do. A coo cake travelled to Yorkshire once, and the man surprised his wife with it.
I delivered a cake to Bonnybridge, that was a stressful drive with a three tier cake on board.
What’s next for the business?
I went through a phrase of wanting to grow it, make it bigger and better.
But kids are still very young, and I’m not looking to build an empire.
My eldest is almost 11, and I think to myself – how did that go by in a flash?
My husband is amazing. He works really hard off shore, so I don’t feel that pressure of having to bake all the time.
Do you have a favourite design?
I love the Highland coo, but I’ve done hundreds of them now.
I love doing creating something new that I haven’t done before, a one off.”
I did a collie design which I really enjoyed, maybe because I grew up with collies.
What would your advise be to anyone thinking of doing something similar?
So I keep very clear working hours.
I think it’s really important to never forget about your family when you’re running a business.
Of course there have been hard times for me, but you’ve got to try not to overdo it.
You can find out more via https://www.facebook.com/OhhCrumbs/