IN ISOLATION WITH JO KUFLIK
LOVE ISLAND CAKES, PAPHOS
Jo Kuflik grew up in Bournemouth in the UK. She moved to Cyprus in 2011 to join her mother Jackie in the family cake making business – Love Island Cakes. Today, they run Love Island Cakes together with their amazing team of bakers and decorators. Baking is a skill that runs through Jo’s family with her mother, grandmother and great grandfather all having worked in the industry. Jo lives in Lower Tala with her partner.
They make delicious and beautiful masterpiece cakes for all types of celebrations islandwide, including, wedding cakes, anniversary, and birthday cakes. Here, we speak to Jo about her time spent in isolation.
Where are you spending isolation and who with? Any pets?
I have been at home, in Tala, with my partner Adam and our three rescue cats Mitty, Ben and Mamacat.
How are you coping with isolation? How are you staying busy?
Lockdown has been busy! I have been in contact with many brides, planners and hotels rescheduling weddings for later this year, into next year and beyond. During my downtime, we have been working on our garden, making it a little safer for our cat Ben who sadly got hit by a car in January and was left blinded. He is very much of an outdoor cat and loves spending his days carefully mapping his way around the garden and sunbathing. Thanks to the wide range of board and card games at the shop, we also have some of these at home and have spent many long nights at the dining table enjoying/arguing over them!
What is the current status of your business?
The shop reopened on a part-time basis on 4th May. We are open Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am until 1 pm and we look forward to getting back to full-time hours as the lockdown comes to an end and our customers feel more confident about venturing out and treating themselves again.
Do you have anything you would like to promote?
We are offering a takeaway and delivery service. We have also found that as birthday parties have become significantly smaller, to family-only events or even people isolating alone, many are choosing to have a bespoke hamper put together, rather than a larger birthday cake, with their favourite treats from Love Island Cakes, such as brownies, cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies and even gifts from the shop, which can be accompanied by a bouquet of flowers or a plant from our amazing florist, or a bunch of balloons.
Do you have a message/advice for other business owners?
Try to stay positive. Whilst the Lockdown has of course been in the interest of our health and has seen good results across our beautiful island, it will have caused untold stress to many; I really hope that with the wonderful community spirit here in Cyprus, small businesses will feel the love and support of locals when reopening.
What is positive about being in isolation?
Spending more time with my cats… and Adam. I have thoroughly enjoyed having more time to cook meals at home and to take my time, often for much of the day using the slow cooker or wood smoker.
What is negative about being in isolation?
I miss seeing family and friends, being able to go for a nice cocktail by the sea or a meal at one of my favourite places such as Last Castle, The Lodge or Tweedies.
Are you cooking and if so, share your favourite dish?
I have been making simple but delicious favourites but with much more time – baked meatballs with mozzarella, slow-cooked barbeque ribs, Lasagne, Lamb shanks, and have been experimenting with eastern recipes too, such as Vietnamese, Korean and Thai food.
What have you been watching to pass the time? Can you recommend any films/series?
Who doesn’t occasionally binge a good series…? Ozark was fantastic! We raced through ‘After Life’ in an evening (much laughing/many tears), RuPaul’s Drag Race (plus the UK version, celebrity special and all previous series…!) and we marathoned through all of Star Wars, the Conjuring Series and of course, the classic, Indiana Jones.
What have you been listening to in terms of music? Can you recommend an album?
We have been leaving a lot of our music choices up to Alexa. She knows our favourites – Kaleo, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Nina Simone and too many others to mention…
When things get back to normal, what are you looking forward to the most?
Being able to see our customers, colleagues and planners again (hopefully without face masks), I cannot wait to start meeting our Brides & Grooms and making wedding cakes!
Can you provide a quick and easy cake recipe for our readers?
Yes, it’s gotta be our Love Island Cakes Brownies …
This is our own tried and tested brownie recipe. It’s easy to make, delicious and versatile – try adding your own extra goodies, such as dried fruits (or freeze-dried berries), salted caramel, your favourite biscuits (broken into smaller chunks), marshmallows or white chocolate chips. Use a large square tin (around 9-11” inch), a swiss roll tin or an 8”x12” for this recipe, the larger the tin the shallower the brownie so don’t worry if you don’t have an exact size. If you use a smaller tin, let it bake for a little longer but the inside should be squidgy.
- 400g good quality dark chocolate – we recommend at least 55% cocoa solids
- 265g unsalted butter
- 490g caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 medium eggs (beaten)
Completely line your tray with baking paper, use butter or non-stick spray to attach the paper to the tray/pan (so that the paper doesn’t slip). Pre-heat your fan-assisted oven to 160c or adjust accordingly for your oven.
Melt 300g of the dark chocolate and butter together gently in a bain-marie, in a saucepan (very gently so it doesn’t scorch!) or you can use a microwave to melt in short bursts. Keep 100g of the chocolate to one side for later. Once melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Whisk together the egg, salt and sugar. This will take a few minutes in a mixer or with an electric whisk or longer if you hand-whisk – prepare for a good workout and an achy arm. The egg mixture should be VERY fluffy.
Pour the melted chocolate and butter mix into the egg and combine.
Add the flour and fold in gently until combined.
Pour your brownie into the tin and ease it out to all edges, sprinkle the reserve 100g of chocolate over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Leave to cool completely before cutting into individual brownies or serve later whilst still warm with ice cream!