Happy New Year!! Luxury Wedding Cakes- 2019 review.

It’s the end of another year!! Where has that gone?

2019 is almost over and so I thought I’d do a recap and a roundup of the year at STHQ. It’s been quite a year of changes for me. Here is my 2019 review

2019 for Sweet Temptations looked something like this:

42 Weddings

1 Celebrity wedding and feature in Hello!

1 Celebrity birthday cake

1 Business relocation

1 London base secured

Lots of meeting with lovely couples and other wedding industry professionals

Being courted by a luxury wedding show

Being invited to exclusive wedding industry events

And a bronze at Cake International in collaboration with two other local cakers, proving there really is collaboration over competition.

Not bad for a one woman show! It’s only when I look back like this that I realise how far things have moved on in a year.

One side of our piece
Part of our Cake International entry

Moving on.

The moving was quite literal! And not planned. But I think the best decisions are often not planned.

As you know I am now based out of the stunningly beautiful Clovelly on the North Devon/Cornwall border. Before you gasp at this, I’m up the top! There was no way I was going to be trying to take cakes up and down that hill and cobbles…… been there….. done that….. in the back of the open backed Landover….in reverse. That’s another story for another time though.

It happened by accident, if these things are ever really accidents. One of my best friends lives in Clovelly, also up top. We had been to the cinema to see Marry Poppins Returns (as two grown women, with no children in tow) I was dropping her home and happened to look across the car park to the row of shops that are there. One was obviously empty, so I asked her about it. The next day she took it upon herself to email John (the estate owner) and CC me into it, telling him that I was interested. I am so very glad that she did!! Now I had never really thought about having a business premises outside of the ‘cake nook’ at the back of the house, but it was clear I was outgrowing that. Had Em not been so proactive I may still be annoying the family with cake stuff all over the house, and moaning that I have no space. It has turned into one of the best things to have happened this year. And you can now come and see me there to talk about your wedding cake. The views are just breath-taking, and you can go and look around the village afterwards.

Decisions Decisions. 

Another snap decision was joining The Wedding Gallery in London. I knew about it, and had been following them on Instagram. I knew it was the most amazing place, and also that it was quite exclusive. A girl can dream. However I was at a NAWP meeting (national association of wedding professionals) and got chatting to a wedding planner there. She said I really needed to go and see them at The Wedding Gallery, especially as it was literally just around the corner. So I did. I turned up, introduced myself, told them a fellow NAWP member recommended I visit. They were so lovely and welcoming. Hannah showed me around and said that if I wanted to become a member, they would be delighted to have me. And so I did just that! And it’s another decision I am very glad I made.

images of the wedding gallery
The Wedding Gallery

I would say around 75% of my couples are London based, even thought they are getting married here in the South West. And many are unable to get down to see me in person. I’ve done countless weddings where I haven’t met the couple at all, and that’s a shame. So being able to have a London base that I can use to meet with couples has proved invaluable. I’ve already met several couples there this year, and hope to meet many more.

More Decisions!

When you are a sole trader you have to make a lot of decisions about how to structure your time. And one thing I did this year was to cut down on the number of wedding fairs I decided to do. I enjoy wedding fairs, but there are so many of them, and only one of me. One opportunity I did say yes to though, was to exhibit at South West Wed Meet Up. I always try to go to these industry networking and training events, and the March one is the biggest one of the year. This year it was at Deer Park near Honiton over two days, with lots of workshops and guest speakers. There’s also the chance to exhibit to your fellow industry professionals, and they asked me.

Again I said yes, and again it was a good decision. Also attending the event was the lovely Anisha from BrideLux, who curate some of the worlds most luxurious wedding shows. My cakes clearly impressed her, as she asked me if I would like to be part of future BrideLux shows. Sadly I’ve not managed to do that yet, but it’s on my list. And, in the meantime, she invites me to their stunningly beautiful industry events. They pride themselves on only working with the best, so being on their radar, and included in their world, is an honour.

Mayfair rooms The Connaught
The Mayfair Room at The Connaught

Celebrity Love.

Now you may have noticed on the intro list that I mentioned a couple of celebrity cakes? Well one I can talk about, and one not. Well I probably could, but I won’t.

Back in the new year I got a phone call about a wedding cake. Nothing unusual. We chatted cake, date, venue etc as usual. It was the bride I was talking to, she gave me her name and then said that the wedding was probably going to be featured in Hello! Magazine. This took me back for a second as I hadn’t recognised the name, but then I’m not good with names in general. It turns out the wedding was of top model Jade Parfitt, and was attended by other super models and society figures. And it was indeed featured in Hello! A five page spread with a full page just of the cake cutting photo!

Hello! Full page spread
The giraffes! And the full page spread in Hello!

The other celebrity cake? Well it was a birthday cake, and all I’m going to say is Hollywood A list, and leave it at that.

What a Year!

In between all of this I seem to have done 42 wedding cakes! I didn’t realise it had been this many, although I knew it was a busy year. My feet and knees will attest to that! I’ve been so very lucky to be able to work with some truly lovely couples this year. It is always my pleasure to be able to be a part of such a special day, and to help create beautiful memories. Every wedding, and therefore every wedding cake, is unique, and that’s part of what makes my job so special.

cake pic round up
A few cakes from 2019

All in all it’s been quite a year! Behind the scenes there’s also been a lot going on, and I’ve relied on my work to keep me going. My husband and the man I’ve been with since I was 17, has been battling prostate cancer, then went and got facial shingles, which gave our son chickenpox! So, although the above reads a bit like a dream, it’s not all been good. Life never is. I’d hate you to think this is a smug post about how wonderful things are, because there’s been parts of this year I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But I have also been very lucky.

If 2019 has taught me anything, it’s to celebrate the wins. I hope you have many things in 2019 to celebrate, and that there’s even more of those moments in 2020.

If you’re interested in having a Sweet Temptations cake for your wedding, click HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes; A week in the life! (well of the cake maker)

Last week was a busy one for Sweet Temptations. Although wedding season hasn’t really started yet, and my next wedding cake isn’t until March 9th, that doesn’t mean any time to rest!
When there are no cakes to make there is still lots to do. And so this time on the blog I thought I’d lift the lid on what happens when we aren’t in the cake studio.
The week started and ended with a wedding fair.
On the 17th Feb I was exhibiting at the first really big fair of the year, the Art of Weddings show at The Pavilions Centre at The Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge. These are always super busy, and last week was no exception! It’s great to get to meet couples face to face. So often everything is done via email, which is fine. But, sometimes, it’s good to get out of the cake nook and let people meet the face behind their wedding cakes. I always take tasting samples with me to fairs, and I almost ran out! Keep an eye on the ‘come and see me’ tab on the main site to see where I will be and when.
The Monday was my birthday, so I did take the day off (more or less). It was also the first day of half term. I don’t think you ever really get a day off when you run your own business though, your brain is always ticking over. I keep a notepad and pen by the side of the bed for those 2am AHA!!! Moments.
Tuesday saw me at the new STHQ for a spot of painting. I’ve just signed a three-year lease on a studio at the stunning Clovelly. You may have heard of Clovelly, or even been there, as it’s a very popular place to visit. This will become the ‘go to’ place to come and see me to discuss your cakes. Although the baking and constructions of your wedding and events cakes will still take place in the cake nook near Bude. So Sweet Temptations now has a base in both Devon and Cornwall!
After the painting (and feeding one of my best friends’ cats) It was home to pack ready for a flying visit to London.

NAWP spring meeting at RIBA
On Wednesday I headed off to London for the spring NAWP meeting. NAWP is the National Association of Wedding Professionals of which I’m a professional member. I took a good friend with me who is also a local cake maker and caterer. In theory we are in direct competition, but in reality we are anything but. I’m a strong believer in the hashtag #collaborationovercompetition, as that is what truly makes everyone’s business work so much better. And so Jax (Jax’s Cakes N Bakes) and I headed off to beautiful Fitzrovia.
The meeting was at the Royal Institute of British Architects on Portland Place. A magnificent art deco building and a stunning wedding venue. It was a great evening of networking with fellow wedding professionals from every area of the industry. Many of us work alone, and so the chance to meet up is very important. I met some new contacts and caught up with others who have become friends. If you are looking for high end, reliable and dedicated suppliers then I highly recommend giving NAWP a visit.
Literally just up the road from out hotel was The Wedding Gallery Official at One Marylebone Rd. I’ve wanted to visit this luxury wedding showcase since it opened just over a year ago. And so being so close was too good an opportunity to miss! On Thursday morning we went for a lovely walk around Regents Park, and then headed to the Wedding Gallery.


Wow! What an amazing place it is! They were very welcoming and allowed us to wander around. I will be joining their private members club so that I can make them my London base. They have an elegant bar and meeting area that is perfect for meeting with my London brides.
Sadly we couldn’t spend as long there as we would have liked because we had the train home to catch.
While I was in London I had a phone call asking if I could do a last minute birthday cake for the Saturday. I always take my diary away with me as this often happens. Although it might take me longer to get back to you when I’m away, I always will as soon as I can.
And so Friday I hit the ground running. An early start to get the birthday cake baked and decorated. I do try to accommodate last minute requests, but this isn’t always possible. However, this time I was able to help. One birthday cake was lovingly designed based on the details I was given, baked and decorated ready for the birthday on the Saturday.
Fortunately the birthday cake was only going a few miles, so that was the first job on Saturday. From there it was back to Clovelly to meet up with Jax again who helped me with the rest of the panting. I am a big woose with heights, so Jax did the high bits for me. She then had way too much fun being destructive and taking the old sign from the previous business off the outside.
After collecting flying silver letters from across the car park it was back home to prep for another wedding fair.
Which leads us to the end of the week. Another Sunday and another wedding fair. This time it was an open day at a new venue, Fir Hill, near Newquay. Completely the opposite of the venues we were in in London, but no less beautiful. It just shows the wide variety of venues on offer. We were given a delicious lunch by the food truck exhibiting there, and got to chat to excited couples in the spring sunshine. Not a bad way to end the week.

Fir Hill
A week in the life of a luxury cake maker. I can’t say it’s a typical week. Because I don’t think there is a typical week in this business. But it was a fun and productive week, and why I love doing what I do.

Luxury Wedding Cakes: Myth busting part 2

Welcome back!
Let’s bust a few more wedding cake myths.
When I started part 1 I thought it would be a single blog post, until I started writing! I quickly realised that there are a lot more myths surrounding wedding cakes than I originally thought.
So let’s set a few more things straight.
A few years ago cupcake towers became a huge trend. And a lot of people started asking for them thinking that cupcakes will be cheaper that a traditional, stacked wedding cake. Actually it can often be the opposite. Cupcakes themselves are not particularly expensive individually, maybe £2-£5. But multiply that by 150 guest and it quickly adds up! The reason for this is that each cupcake will have to be decorated individually, they each have a pretty case that also must be supplied. Then you might want a fancy cupcake wrapper too, another expense, and they each have to be assembled, which can be time consuming. So a wedding cupcake can easily be £5 plus each. A cupcake for each guest will be bigger than a standard serving of wedding cake, and so there will actually be more ingredients and baking involved. Although you will end up with more cake. However this can mean that people don’t want to eat their cupcake there and then, as they are full of other things. So you’ll then also need cupcake pods or individual cupcake boxes to take them home in, another expense to factor in. In addition you can’t cut a cupcake for the cake cutting photos! Well you could try I guess, but chances are you’ll want a cake big enough to use for the cake cutting, so add that in as well.
The bottom line is that cupcakes are not going to be cheaper than a traditional stacked wedding cake. So only go with this if it’s something you really want. Not because you think it’ll be a cheap option.

In a similar vein to the myth about cupcakes, is the one about cutting cakes. Cutting cakes are basically sheet cakes or basic A4 size cakes that are kept in the kitchen to be cut up and brought out after the wedding cake has been cut. This is usually done because there are a large number of people to serve cake to, more than would be practical or desirable to do the main cake for. I often do these for big corporate events, but they can be done for weddings. They are a good idea if you want to cut the cake after the meal, with the day guests, but also want to be able to serve cake to your evening guests. Cutting cakes can be kept in the venue kitchen and brought out as part of the evening food. But it’s not going to be a way to bring the wedding cake cost down by any significant amount. If you think about it, a cutting cake will still be baked in the same way and with the same ingredients as the wedding cake. It will still need to be iced, just not decorated. So there will be a small saving, but not by as much as people think.

The third myth surrounding making the wedding cake cost less, is dummy cakes. Dummy cakes are fake cake tiers that we use to create the display cakes you see in photo shoots and at wedding fairs and shows. They are invaluable, and can be used in combination with real cake tiers to make your cake look much bigger. This is great if you are having a smaller wedding, but want a big, showstopping, cake to wow your guests. However, again, there is an assumption that having fake tiers will bring the wedding cake costs right down. Not true! Yes there may be a small saving, but it will be very small. A dummy cake has to be purchased, and they can cost up to £20 depending on size (even more if they are custom made sizes or shapes) They also have to be covered and decorated in the same way as the real cakes, taking just as much time and materials. I do dummy tiers with real tiers quite often, and it works really well. Just remember which is which when you come to cut the cake!!
I think the main thing to remember is that most cake makers are not trying to upsell or somehow con you. A good cake maker will not charge you anymore because it’s a wedding cake. We work out our prices based purely on the work and time involved in the cake we are asked to make. I have made corporate and even birthday cakes that have cost more than a wedding cake. It comes down to the old saying ‘cheap cake isn’t good. Good cake isn’t cheap.’ And a good cake maker will be able to work with you to give you something within your budget.
So what should you budget for your cake? I get asked this a lot at wedding fairs ‘How much will a wedding cake be?’ And it’s really a how long is a piece of string question. All my cakes, for whatever occasion, are priced individually according to the work and time involved. Although I do have a price guide on my website, it is just that, a guide.
If you have a set budget for your cake then it’s a good idea to let your cake maker know what it is early on. That way they can work with you to bring your ideas within your budget. I would recommend allowing at least £350 for the wedding cake. It’s another myth that the wedding cake will be the cheapest element, as I said just now ‘good cake isn’t cheap.’

So here’s a little recap:
1/ Cupcake towers can actually cost more that a stacked cake. And there’s lots of extras like cases, wrappers etc to factor in.
2/ Cutting cakes are a great idea if you have a lot of guests to feed. Especially if you want to serve cake to the evening guests as well as the day guests.
3/ Dummy tiers are a good way to have a showstopping cake when you don’t need that much real cake. Just remember which are the fake tiers when you come to cut the cake!
4/ Allow a decent budget for your cake, and remember ‘cheap cake isn’t good. Good cake isn’t cheap.’