7marvels

I’m excited to launch and bring you my ‘Small Business Spotlight’ series… 🙌🏼

Each week, I’ll be introducing you to a new business! This is the first instalment, and what better way to start than with 7Marvels – an independent home/online bakery based in Richmond Upon Thames?!

I got the chance to ask the wonderful Cristina Popescu, founder, director and head baker of 7Marvels, some questions and you can read the full interview below…

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Cristina Popescu, founder of 7Marvels

Tell us a little bit about yourself & your small business: ‘7Marvels’

CP: I’m a homebaker based in Richmond Upon Thames. I started 7Marvels two years ago.

A fun little fact about my business is that I made the decision to start it at our annual street party in 2018!

Here is a link to my website for more information about me and my passion for baking

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Macaron Stack

Why did you decide to open your small business?

CP: Since a very young age I’ve always been passionate about cooking and baking in particular but I never really took my passion up until recently when I started my baking business.

It originally started as a macaron business but later went on to be a bakery with a myriad of different treats (birthday cakes, celebratory cakes and french pastries)!

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What are your hopes for the future?

CP: I am so grateful for the fact that I am able to do what I love for a living; and so with that said I hope that my business carries on to thrive and flourish in the coming years.

As we all know, Covid has hit most small businesses hard… So, this next part of the interview with Cristina at 7Marvels delves into how Covid restrictions and these past lockdowns have affected her home business.

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How has 7Marvels been affected by COVID?

CP: I am lucky enough to have been able to stay open amidst those uncertain and turbulent times.

Having an online-only shop has helped me in various ways to stay open and carry on making cakes; I was able to bring a smile to people’s faces with my cakes and pastries which matters a lot to me.

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Mille-Feuille

How has your business had to adapt since COVID?

CP: Having a business open during Covid has to a certain extent confirmed my initial decision of opening an online shop in spite of having a cake shop on the high street.

Have you noticed any changes in your business (sales etc.) since the COVID lockdowns?

CP: I have noticed changes in customer tendencies as they are more inclined to buy online.

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What advice would you give other small business owners – or those looking to start one?

CP: Get all the resources and equipment needed to start an online business alongside with the rest. I believe that e-commerce is becoming progressively more powerful and prosperous than it was before.

The most important thing is to do what you love and be passionate about it, and you need to have the resilience and determination to carry on with it even if it gets difficult. Your love and devotion will be apparent in what you do and the customers will become recurring ones.

There you have it… Luckily for Cristina, Covid hasn’t affected her business, as it was very much online-based to begin with.

A massive thanks again to Cristina for giving up her time to do this interview, and for giving some awesome advice for self-starters too. What a sweetheart! 🥰

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Paris Brest

7Marvels’ cakes/bakes look 😍😋 incrEDIBLE! (you’re welcome! 🎤⬇️)

Here’s an added bonus, Cristina’s business caters for most dietary requirements, offering treats that are vegan, low-sugar, eggless and gluten-free! What’s not to love about some delicious guilt-free goodies!?

I’m planning on ordering one for my birthday this year, and I cannot wait! Judging by how quickly last year went, I’ll be 30 at the blink of an eye!

Follow 7Marvels on Instagram

LIKE 7Marvels on Facebook

There’s lots to come in this series… So watch out for more interviews with small businesses in the coming weeks. I’ve got everything from crystals stockists, candle makers, hairdressers and beauty salons! ✨

This is the most consistent I’ve ever been… Thank God for scheduled posts!

There’s nothing more romantic than a gooey fresh-out-of-the-oven brownie!

Well, today – I’ll be showing you how to make that “berry, berry” nice looking brownie slab, pictured above!

DISCLAIMER: they’re topped with dried crushed raspberries and edible rose petals for that extra bit of yummy love.

Want to know the best part? They’re ONLY 144 calories per slice! Usually, brownies range between 350-400 calories each! 💪

brownies

Ingredients needed to make the lovely brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter (just melted)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 1/8 sugar or sweetener

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour or plain flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Crushed dried raspberries and edible rose petals (for garnish)

brownies

Way to make the lovely brownies

Begin by preheating your oven to 175 degrees (or gas mark PHWOAR!)

Then, grease your baking tray with a fine layer of butter or oil, before adding parchment paper.

Next, make a start by adding the hot melted butter, coconut oil and sugar into a bowl. Mix vigorously for about a minute.

Afterwards, add the eggs and vanilla extract – before mixing again for another minute.

By now, it should be time for the flour, cocoa powder and salt (in another bowl) – add them to the wet ingredients, fold gradually until you can no longer see any dry ingredients.

*insert chocolate chunks or chips here (optional)* if you’re planning to do it, now’s the time.

Top tip: don’t over-mix. If you overdo it, you’ll end up with a cake. As tasty as cakes are, they’re no brownie.

Tips when making lovely brownies

Another top tip: ‘folding’ just means drawing the a sideways infinity sign with your spatula (going around the sides of the bowl) and covering the wet mixture over the dry as you do it (meeting in the centre).

Transfer your batter into the greased and lined baking tray, before popping in the oven for 20-25 (depending on the strength of your oven).

Top tip: brownies don’t have a set-time, people feel differently about tastes & texture. What I will say though, bake them until it no longer jiggles on the top when you shake it.

Another top tip: pop a toothpick in the centre to check. If it comes out with chocolate all over it, congratulations you’ve got yourself a tray fudge brownies! 🎉

Tea

Ways to enjoy the lovely brownies

Want a tea to pair it with (not that you’d need it)? I’ve got the loveliest suggestion!

All that leaves is to set the tray aside out to cool before cutting it into slices (and adding the crushed raspberries & edible rose petals).

I don’t need to tell explain the final step, do I? It’s basically just you putting a slice in your mouth – not even on a plate!

If you get a chance to try these, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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