Today we are looking at the incredible cake inspiration that is Lily Vanilli!  We absolutely adore Lily’s stunning creations, and love her creativity, which is incredibly evident in all of her bakes.

We first came across Lily on a trip to the Columbia Road Flower Market, where we stumbled upon a bakery tucked away on a cobbled street just off of the main road.  Inside the bakery where lots of tempting treats, including Rose Apple Custard Tarts and Flourless Carrot and Hazelnut Cakes.  After grabbing a bite to eat (and being thoroughly impressed) we did a little research and came across her stunning instagram and website.

Lily Vanilli Portrait

After an unconventional start in baking (she fell into it after a degree in philosophy, and a career in graphic design) Lily returned to London after time working in Australia.  The recession had hit, and it was a real struggle to find work anywhere.  She decided to take up baking, and before she knew it, had been featured by The Times, and become the go-to-girl for bespoke baking.

“My ethos is really to make something that’s delicious, using the best quality ingredients. And whatever the cake is made from is part of the decoration – we don’t use fancy piping or equipment, it’s all kept simple and fresh – and it’s so important not to make things too sweet.”

Lily Vanilli Doughnut Cake

This is a very busy lady.  With countless wedding clients and private commissions across the world, AND her London bakery, Lily Vanilli means business.  She has been featured in countless publications including the Sunday Times, and has a wealth of famous clients including Alexander McQueen, The Saatchi Gallery and Elton John.

The baker and cake designer has been described as “One of the most sought after artisan bakers of her generation” by the Stylist Magazine, and ES Magazine dubs her “The Queen of Baked Goods”. 

Lily Vanilli House of Hackney Cake

After a short flick through her instagram, it is pretty easy to see why.  Vanilli’s bakes look just as delicious as they are beautiful.  Which, once you have seen them, is quite the promise.

We adore her floral tiered cakes!  This stunning design for a wedding festival at House of Hackney features gentle soft peonies, blueberries and the Vanilli twist – free form gold chocolate chunks.  Not all of Vanilli’s cakes are this sweet in appearance however.

Lily Vanilli Bone Cake

The baker famously created a ‘Bleeding Heart’ showpiece – a gory, very realistic Red Velvet heart, complete with thick, sticky blood sauce, and aortas.  Should you wish to release your own gory baker, you can find the recipe over on her website.  And this isn’t the only macabre bake Vanilli has rustled up – she has also decorated stunning three tiered cakes with delicate (and delicious) meringue bones.

Lily is the author of two incredibly popular recipe books – ‘Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth’ , which was named as one of The Independant’s Book’s of the Year, and ‘Lily Vanilli in A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’.  

Lily Vanilli 70s Cake

Both books feature easy, step by step guides to creating a wealth of Lily’s gorgeous cakes, and will have you looking like a pro, (and impressing your instagram followers) in no time!

As a taster (you’re welcome!), below we have popped a recipe for our favourite Pineapple, Coconut and Black Sesame Seed Cakes below.  This makes 10 very tasty cupcakes.  You can find many more delicious recipes over on Vanilli’s website.




100g unsalted room temperature butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
250ml plain yoghurt
200g plain flour

2.5 tsp baking powder
150g shredded coconut if you can make/get it, otherwise dessicated is fine too
200g fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, finely chopped

2 tsp black sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish

Decorate with vanilla buttercream & pineapple flowers


Preheat the oven to 180C

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing to high. About 4 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and beat gently on a low speed just to incorporate.

Add the yoghurt, keep on a low speed & beat to combine.

Sift the flour and combine evenly with the baking powder

Add this to the batter and beat to combine, again on a low speed just until incporporated.

Finally mix in the coconut, black sesame and pineapple on a low speed.

Split this between your individual cake tins / cupcake pans, well greased.
Bake until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Cool slightly in the baking tin, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now, having looked through Lily’s extensive catalogue of gorgeous work, you will understand that we have decided to order one of her delicious cakes tomorrow.  To celebrate that it is a Friday.  That’s reason enough right?

Author:  Hannah Coates