Luxury Wedding Cakes – Wedding Cake Trends 2021/2022

Everyone loves a good trend, don’t they? And wedding cakes are no different. So today we are going to look, briefly, at wedding cake trends for 2021/2022.

Generally trends take longer to emerge and change in weddings than most areas. This is because weddings are planned over many months, even years. And there are also a lot of traditions within weddings that people don’t like to mess with too much.

Now I think it’s safe to say that most people are no longer planning a 2020 wedding, for the obvious reasons we don’t need to go into here. But I have noticed that lots of people are using this time to plan their 2021 and 2022 weddings. And it’s the perfect time to do it. Just remember that you’re going to be competing with all the 2020 couples who have had to postpone their weddings to 2021/22 dates. So my advice not to leave it too long to book a supplier you love is even more relevant now.

wedding fair display
Trends often start at wedding shows

 

Having said that trends within wedding take longer to change. One area within weddings where trends do come and go more quickly, is the cake.

The days of the wedding cake being a rich fruit cake coated in thick marzipan and rock hard royal icing have long gone! Although, saying that, fruit cake as one of the tiers is starting to creep back. And this is the thing with trends, they often revisit what came before, but add a contemporary spin.

With all of this in mind, what can we expect to see from wedding cake makers over the next year or two?

 

Back in 2018 we started to see a move away from the traditional wedding cake as an actual cake. Replaced with cheesecakes, cheese stacks and even pork pies! Thankfully this trend didn’t last. Although the stacks of cheese and pork pies are a great buffet idea.

The wedding cake if firmly back where it belongs. But it isn’t a plain white tower that fades into the background anymore. And this brings me to my first trend for 2021/22

 

Colourful wedding cakes

It’s long been a thing to use a coloured ribbon around the base of the cake, or the cake board, to match the wedding colours. But why stop there? These days you can have the icing in any colour you could think of. And I can colour match to your exact colour scheme. You can also paint on cakes. The trend for the watercolour effect on wedding cakes is one I can see becoming bigger too. It’s a great way to bring your wedding colours into your cake in a more imaginative way.

wedding cake with bright colours cake
A very personal wedding cake with bright coloured buttercream.

Dramatic wedding cakes

Think black wedding cakes. Yes, I said black. A black wedding cake can look stunning, and really add that touch of the dramatic, especially if you don’t want a fully themed wedding, but do want some statement touches. If you don’t want black then maybe introduce some interesting and unusual textures like the concrete or stone effect. A real talking point for your guests.

black wedding cake with fresh flowers
Stunning black wedding cake

Personalised wedding cakes

Bring some of your personality into the wedding with a personalised wedding cake. Of course the double sided wedding cakes have been around a long time. They were cute when the trend first started, but can look naff if not done just right. Forget those. Instead think back to what I said about hand painting on cakes. Or what about a hand cut stencil to match a design you may have on your stationary? As this would be a one-off design it would be truly yours.

wedding cake with hand cut stencil
A hand cut stencil to match the wedding stationary.

Floral wedding cakes

Now if you know me, then you know that I adore sugar flowers. But there are lots of alternatives without using fresh flowers (which can come with a health warning). Wafer paper flowers are a great alternative to sugar flowers, and something I predict becoming a new trend for wedding cakes. Then there are pressed and dried flowers. Dried flowers like roses and lavender can looks beautiful, and smell nice too. Plus they are already dried, so you can keep them afterwards. I also love to press edible flowers. Because they are edible, they can be put directly onto the cake. For 2021/22 I can see dried, pressed and wafer paper flowers overtaking fresh flowers on wedding cakes.

white wedding cake with pink sugar flowers
Classic sugar flower wedding cake

Staying around

There is one wedding cake trend I can see staying around.  I’m talking the semi naked cakes and buttercream cakes. I think these are going to stay around for a while yet. But with a twist. Remember what I was saying about fresh flowers on cakes maybe being replaced? I certainly think this is a good idea on semi naked and buttercream cakes. And once you move away from fresh flowers, you open up a whole world of possibilities, dried or dehydrated fruits and foliage for example. Buttercream can also be tinted many colours, and can be piped into amazing flowers and other designs, it can also be textured in many different ways. Then there are wafer paper flowers and foliage.

semi naked wedding cake with fresh, edible flowers
Semi naked wedding cake with edible flowers

 

So there you are. A brief waffle on what I think we are going to be seeing in the wedding cake world over the next year or two. Get creative with your wedding cake design and let your personalities shine, give your guests something to delight the eye, not just the stomach. And remember, the cake is one of the most photographed things at a wedding, so make sure it’s worthy of all the attention.

To get in touch about you wedding cake click HERE

Wedding Cakes Devon- Bicton Botanical Gardens Photo Shoot

A few short weeks ago, before the madness descended, I was asked to be a part of a photoshoot at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens. I have to say it now feels like a lifetime ago, but it was only late February.
You probably know that I trained in horticulture when I left school (don’t ask how long ago that was!!) And although I no longer work in that industry, I do still love plants and flowers. These days it’s the sugar kind I spend my time with. But a photoshoot in a botanical garden was something I jumped at!
And it didn’t disappoint.

a view over Bicton Park gardens
The view from The Terrace

The venue.

I don’t know why we have never been to Bicton Park before. I guess it’s that old thing of knowing it’s there whenever you want to visit, so you never get around to it. Something none of us will be doing in future I suspect. This whole situation we find ourselves in right now certainly makes you appreciate all the things you can no longer do, like visit gardens. And these are ones I will certainly be returning to when I’m able.
The Gardens were originally part of Bicton Park, which was built by the Rolles family in the 18th century. The gardens were laid out at the same time as the house, and much of the original features still exist. Such as the Palm House, one of the areas used in the shoot, which is around 20 years older than the famous Palm House at Kew.
There are 60 acres of gardens to explore, with lots of places to stop and have beautiful wedding photos taken. And there’s a train!! The Bicton Woodland Railway is a 25 minute ride around the gardens, a bonus for any train buffs in the wedding party.

 

The Terrace
The Terrace (Image from Visit Devon)

The shoot.

The shoot was the brainchild of Helen Chapman of Helen Chapman Photography and the theme was Victorian high tea, a theme that fitted in perfectly with the venue and its history.
Having the wedding fit in with the chosen venue is something I have spoken about before. It really does make a huge difference. If you’ve chosen a particular venue then the chances are it is, in part at least, because you know it fits with the type of wedding you want. But bringing elements of the venue into the details of the wedding will make it even more perfect.
For this shoot we very much kept with the Victorian botanical theme. The stationary had beautiful, botanical style, painting. The table was set up on the terrace with echoes of the greens that were all around us. And, of course, there were lots of flowers!
Greens and whites were the colour scheme, with a hint of blush pink. This gave a very fresh feel and fitted perfectly into the palm house. Although I don’t think you can actually get married in the palm house, I would recommend going there for a few photos, you won’t regret it.

The Palm House
The Palm House (image via Visit Devon)

The set up.

While our lovely bride was being photographed in the palm house, I took the cake and sweet treats around to the terrace to help get the table set up.
Now last time you will remember me talking about outdoor weddings, and how it’s a good idea to have at least one area partially covered. This photoshoot day proved my point perfectly! There we were, merrily setting up the table and making the terrace look beautiful, when the heavens opened. It didn’t just rain, it poured! If we had been fully outside then everything would have been ruined. Soggy tablecloths, washed out stationary, ruined cake….. you get the picture. But, because it was a covered terrace we just carried on! And, ten minutes later, the sun was back out.
At Bicton Park the terrace is in-between two orangeries and looks right out over the gardens. It makes it the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding, because you are under cover but still open. And you can dive into either of the orangeries if needs be. You can then have your reception in the orangery and still be looking out over the gardens.

the cake and sweet treats
Cake table with a view!

The Cake

Of course I’m going to say that the cake was the star of the day…….
I was asked to create a cake with a Victorian vibe, but very much in keeping with what a modern day couple would actually want.
If you have ever seen images of wedding cakes from the Victorian era you’ll know they are very elaborate affairs! Lots of royal icing and complicated hand piping, and nothing like the wedding cakes we have today. Although that style is starting to make a come back, and done right it can be stunning.
I decided not to go full on Victorian though, it’s not really the style my couples would want. Instead I used the petal shaped bottom tier as a nod to the period, but took the rest of my inspiration from the botanical setting.
You know that I love sugar flowers, so there had to be plenty of those! But I added a bit of a twist (as I’m known to do) by including a glass separator filled with silk foliage. This was a nod to the glass houses and Palm House.
Mixing in the silk foliage with the sugar flowers is a great way to get high impact. Having that foliage in sugar would have taken days of work, added a lot of weight and been at high risk of breakages.

The cake
The cake

The sweet treats

Confession time, dessert tables aren’t really my thing. Don’t get me wrong I love them, I just don’t really do them. Mostly because it’s just me, and I only have so many hours and one pair of hands! But I really enjoyed doing these.
The Victorians took afternoon tea very seriously indeed. And the more elaborate the better. Again I didn’t intend to recreate a full High Tea, just some sweet treats that could be an accompaniment or alternative to the cake.
So we had mini vanilla sponges with raspberry buttercream, meringue nests with creams and fresh fruits, lemon madeleines and pink sugar mice (if you’re going Victorian then you have to have sugar mice)

mini vanilla sponges
Mini vanilla sponges with raspberry buttercream

Recreating the look

Something I think comes across well with this shoot is that you don’t need to go full on Victoriana in order to get the feel. And also that it pays to work with the setting and backdrops the venue already has. Neither the Palm House or the Terrace needed any dressing, they spoke for themselves perfectly.
Have a chat with your wedding planner or stylist. Everything we used in the shoot can be hired in, and this is something I highly recommend doing. Not only will you get exactly what you want without having to spend weeks tracking each item down, but it can all be returned at the end. There are many wedding stylists who will come in on the day and dress your venue for you, then come back and take it all away again.

Meringue nests with fresh fruit
Meringue nests with fresh fruit

The Suppliers

These are all the lovely people who were involved on the day.

Photos by: Helen Chapman Photography, https://www.helenchapmanphotographyuk.com/

Venue; Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, http://www.bictongardens.co.uk/

Hair and beauty: by The Courtyard Hairdressers, Honiton,www.facebook.com/TheCourtyardHairdressers/

Wedding dress by: Lovely Bridal, Honiton, http://www.lovelybridal.co.uk/

Flowers by Bridget The flower shed, https://www.bridgetsflowershed.co.uk/

Wedding cake by Claire’s sweet temptations , https://www.clairessweettemptations.com/

Wedding venue decor by Bold and Beautiful Weddings https://www.boldbeautifulweddings.com/

Invitations by Dilly and Dilly, https://dillyanddilly.co.uk/

Luxury Wedding Cakes- Does Wedding Cake Size Matter?

Does size matter?

Now stop giggling at the back! I’m talking about your wedding cake size!.
In my last post I talked about the things that seem to stress couples out when it comes to the cake. Making sure you order the right size of cake seems to be one of the biggest worries. Understandably so, I mean you don’t want to seem mean, but don’t want wasted cake either. And the chances are you’ve not ordered a wedding cake before to know about serving sizes and cutting guides.
This isn’t anything to worry about though. Your cake maker knows the drill, and we know how to work out what is the best size cake for the size of wedding. Really all you need to do is give us the number of guests you want the cake to serve.

sizing chart
The sizing chart I work from

Which brings me to another issue.

When to serve the wedding cake?

Traditionally the cake was cut and served after the speeches, at the end of the main wedding breakfast. If there was any left, then it would be offered to evening guests as part of the buffet.
These days though many couples want to wait to cut the cake in the evening. Personally I like this idea, as it is a big part of the day, and something the evening guests would usually miss out on. Cutting the cake in the evening includes all your guests in that special moment. However, cutting and serving in the evening will mean you need a bigger cake for the extra numbers. And what if you want to serve the cake as dessert? AHHHHH!
Okay let’s breathe. It’s only cake (did I really just say that??).
One option to solve the issue of the evening guests missing out on seeing the cake is to do the cake cutting photos after the speeches, but don’t have the cake taken away and cut. Instead leave it until all the evening guests have arrived and seen it. Then give the venue the nod to take it off and cut and serve. You could even do the cake cutting again for the evening guests, why not?
Basically what I’m saying is to forget the traditions surrounding when you should cut and serve the wedding cake. Do it as and when it feels right for you.

cutting the cake with a sward!
You can use a knife!
traditional cake cutting
See, you don’t have to use a sward.
the cake cutting is a special moment
I will always love this cake cutting pic!

Myth Busting.

Now I think we should quickly bust the myth that serving the wedding cake as the dessert will lower costs. Realistically this often isn’t the case. When we work out the size of cake you will need for you 100 guests (number just to illustrate) we will be basing that on the industry standard of a 2x1in portion. In other words a finger size portion you might serve with the after dinner coffee, or as part of a buffet. If you want to serve as dessert you’re going to want much larger portions, maybe even twice that size, but at least 2x2in. And you will also need enough cake for every guest, rather than the usual rule of thumb that 10% won’t eat any. This is going to mean a much larger cake to accommodate the larger portions, and numbers, and make sure there’s enough. Obviously this also means the cost of the cake is going to rise quite considerably. Plus the venue, or caterer, might charge you for serving someone else’s food, as they will be using their cutlery and crockery to serve the cake, and then wash all that up after, plus the service time. Add all that up and it’s not necessarily going to save you any money. But it will mean that all the cake will get eaten, and you won’t have to worry about wastage.

cake cutting guide
Cake cutting guide

Back to size, as this is what this post is mainly about.

When I talk to couples at wedding shows they often think they can’t book the cake because they aren’t sure yet exactly how big it needs to be. This is another myth. And it can often mean you missing out on getting your preferred cake maker because you’ve waited until all the RSVPs have come back before getting in touch. A rough idea on size is all we need at the very start. And if you’ve booked your venue then you already know the kind of size your wedding will be. That’s enough for me to give you a starting quote to base the booking fee on (I work on a 25% booking fee) Then we can up or down scale the cake size later if you find you need to. A good rule of thumb is to take the number of guests on your list and reduce it by 10% when booking the cake, as mentioned before. Although it will need to be for 100% of your guests if serving for dessert.

The Showstopper.

But size isn’t just about the numbers, it’s also about the look. And adding the WOW factor.
The cake is, without doubt, one of the stars, a showstopper. And often the most photographed thing after the couple, and the dress. So you may want something big and impressive, even if it’s only going to be a small wedding. How to do this without having lots of wasted cake? Firstly will it be wasted? The tradition of keeping a tier of the wedding cake for a christening is starting to come back. Or maybe for your first wedding anniversary? You can do this with fruit cake of course, but also with sponge. Sponge cake freezes really well, you’ll just need to give the fondant (if using) time to dry out as it will go sticky as it thaws. You cake maker will advise you on the best ways to store your leftover cake. Then there is the other tradition of posting cake to people who couldn’t make it to the wedding, something else you may wish to do if you have cake left. If none of these are options, then there are dummy cakes. Dummy cakes are used for display cakes for shows and photo shoots etc, but they can also be used to add height and size to a real cake. Now they are usually polystyrene, however I will happily take them back and reuse them in my display work. I reuse my dummy cakes over and over, I can’t remember the last time I bought any!

This showstopper only had three real tiers of cake.

The opposite can also be an issue.

You have a lot of guests to feed, but want an understated wedding, so don’t want a huge cake. Again there is a solution. Cutting cakes. A cutting cake is a simplified version of the actual wedding cake. Usually a square or A4 size cake in the same flavours and with a covering of the chosen icing, but without all the decoration as they won’t be on show. These are kept in the kitchens and cut up by your venue when they take the wedding cake away to cut, then it’s all served together. No one will know which is wedding cake and which is cutting cake.

Top Tips.

So my top tips for getting the wedding cake size right;
1/ Don’t wait until you have all your RSVPs back before booking your cake. Rough numbers are all we need to get the ball rolling.
2/ Decide if you want to serve the cake as dessert or as part of the buffet/with coffee. This will make a difference to the size of cake you need. Just let your cake maker know.
3/ Don’t worry about leftover cake. Sponge cake freezes well, and fruit cake keeps for months.
4/ You can have a showstopping cake even if you don’t need one. Again just discuss this with your cake maker.
5/ You can have cutting cakes for the venue to serve should you want something simpler and smaller, but have lots of guest to feed. This works especially well for large evening receptions after a smaller wedding.

To get in touch about your wedding cake, click HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes- How to Choose Your Wedding Cake.

Wedding fair season has started again!

Which is great, I love doing them. They are a really good way to get to meet all you lovely couples face to face, and for you to see that there’s a real person behind the cakes! And I get the chance to talk to you all about your worries and stresses, and help disperse some of them.

I hear a lot of people say that they are getting overwhelmed with the amount there is to do with planning a wedding. Recently I’ve spoken to a few brides at wedding shows who have been a tad frazzled.

So today I want to take one of those stresses away.

And give you one less thing to feel frazzled about. After all planning your wedding should be a good thing, not a source of stress. Although I know it can be stressful if it’s all new territory and you’re trying to do it in between running your life and job. I can’t, as yet, take away all the wedding stress (watch this space though), but I can help with the wedding cake. After all, that’s what I do, all day every day, one way or another. So you could say I kind of know what I’m talking about. I’ve even been known to dream about wedding cakes!

Claire setting up a wedding cake
ME!!! Doing my thing 🙂

The biggest two things I find couples struggle with when it comes to the cake is style and size. I’m not going to throw too much at you in one go, so today I’ll talk to you about choosing the style of your wedding cake.

But let’s cover the basics and bust a few myths.

TIME SCALE

Possibly one of the most asked questions I get at shows, is how much notice do I need? The answer is always the same, as much as possible. If you read my blog regularly (yay! Nice to see you back) then you will have heard me say this before. But it still seems to be a myth that the cake can be left to last, and that we don’t need much notice. Well it’s true that a cake is a perishable item and so won’t physically be made until a few days before the wedding. However there’s so much more to it than just baking the cakes. I have to plan the delivery, order materials and supplies, colour fondants and modelling pastes the exact right shades, make all the delicate sugar flowers and other details, the list goes on. And so getting your date booked in with your cake maker as early as possible is vital. And no, you won’t need to have made all the design decisions, or even be 100% sure on size to secure your date. Get the booking fee paid and you can relax and know that’s one thing done.

DESIGN

Ahh the fun part!! Yet this seems to also be one of the areas couples are getting stressed about. But no more! Even clients who think they have no idea at all on the style and look they want for their wedding cake, will actually have something lurking there. So have a look at all your wedding related pintrest boards, I bet you there’s a theme, a unifying colour perhaps. Maybe you’re pinning a lot of very natural, relaxed style wedding ideas. Or very traditional and formal themes. Share these boards and ideas with your cake maker so that we can see what you’re thinking. And don’t forget we can also make the cake super personal to you and your partner. I once hand painted one couples pet Guinee Pigs onto one tier of the cake, and added a Disney theme to another tier, they also had a tent in there too!

Maybe a monogram of your initials? Or have a cascade of sugar flowers that matches the wedding flowers. There are endless ways to really make the wedding cake not only wow your guests, but feel personal too.

wedding cake with monogram
A monogram is a subtle way to add a personal touch.

COLOUR

Wedding cakes no longer have to be white or ivory. In fact I actively encourage my couples to inject some colour. You’ll have seen me talk about this in the last post about trends. Colour at weddings, in all aspects, has become the norm, and long may that continue. And don’t think you can’t have a coloured cake if you are opting for semi naked or buttercream, this can be tinted too. Or you can make the colour statement with the flowers, either sugar or real.

wedding cake with bright colours cake
A very personal wedding cake with bright coloured buttercream.

FLAVOUR

This can be another area that causes some stress. You have all these guests to please, so what flavours do you choose? Answer? You stop trying to please all of your guests, chances are you won’t manage that anyway. So go with what YOU like. I usually recommend having one tier in a ‘crowd pleasing’ flavour that most people will eat, vanilla or lemon say, but then have the rest in whatever you would like. One couple last year had red velvet for one tier, and hummingbird cake for the other, neither of which you could call conventional, and the cake was decorated with black fondant, not conventional at all. But that was what they wanted. One flavour was the brides favourite and one was the grooms, and they are they only two people who matter at a wedding. It suited not only them, but their wedding perfectly.

*Of course you may have to consider guests with allergies or dietary requirements.

gluten and dairy free wedding cake
The beauty was 100% gluten and dairy free.

STAGING

Oh how many times have I turned up with the wedding cake, only to find a boringly blank table with a white cloth, and nothing else. Now, of course, the cake is the star of it’s own show. But it is good to have a few supporting acts. Again this is not something you need to stress about. Talk to your stylist, and ask them to get in touch with your cake maker. We can discuss the colours that are in the cake any perhaps find a matching, or contrasting, tablecloth. And I often work with the florist when fresh flowers are going on the cake.

If you do want to keep it simple though, then think about a statement cake stand. Your cake maker or venue may have some they will hire, or have a look online. If you are going to get your own stand then do discuss the best size and shape option with your cake maker. And don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything with it, just leave it there for us to put the cake on when we deliver. Then you will also have a lovely keepsake of your day that can be used for other family events.

antique silver cake stand
A beautiful antique silver cake stand.

The same with a cake topper.

I’ve noticed that these have started to become less popular. But they can be a great way to add a personal touch. Go online and you’ll see dozens of shapes and styles. Once again this can be overwhelming, and once again we can help. Talk to your cake maker about the size of the top tier, and how much space there will be for a topper, then you know everything will fit together.  Your cake maker may be able to source the cake topper for you or you should be able to have it delivered direct to them if ordering your own. Some cake makers will make sugar figures, which can be done from photos of you (if they don’t then they probably know someone who does) Or why not have something a bit different? I did a tractor once, as the cake topper, with a sheep sitting in it. Another wedding had toy giraffes.

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

TOP TIPS

1/ Use your cake makers knowledge and experience. We have done this hundreds of times over many years. So pick our brains and let us design the cake for you.

2/ Don’t try to please everyone. This goes for the wedding as a whole actually.

3/ Have fun with the process. Take some time to sit and create pretty mood boards and even old school scrapbooks. These will be really useful for us to use when designing your cake.

4/ Trust us. Tell us everything you are thinking in terms of style, colour, shape etc. And let us design you something wonderful. We will talk to your florist and stylist to make sure everything comes together.

5/ Don’t stress! You’re in safe hands.

You can get in touch with me about your wedding cake HERE

Wedding Cake Trends for 2020

Trends. They are everywhere and keeping up with them is  a big part of my job.

Over the years, and hundreds of weddings, I’ve noticed that trends in weddings change much slower than in other areas. This is because weddings are booked months, if not a year or more in advance. And so decisions about styles and colours etc are made now for a wedding in 9-12 months time. Which means those decisions are being made based on todays trends, so we see things staying around for much longer than you’d expect in the ‘real’ world.

White chocolate fan sculpted wedding cake
White chocolate sculpture wedding cake

Of course we still keep our eyes on all the trends and fashions coming out, because we know they are going to be coming along at some point, and they are vital in deciding on new designs.  The Pantone colour of the year is a good example of this. We may not see that colour in real weddings until the following year because of the time it takes for that colour trend to work its way along from being announced, to the actual wedding day.

duck egg blue wedding cake with white sugar flowers
Duck egg blue as a subtle alternative to the Pantone Classic Blue

People often ask me if there are trends in wedding cakes.

Yes, there are, just like everything else. And there are the occasional fad and slightly naff gimmick, but they are thankfully rare in the world of wedding cakes. I think this is, in part, because there are so many traditions surrounding weddings, and people don’t like to mess with traditions too much.

Saying that there are always going to be a changing of the guard, and new ideas becoming new traditions. This is as true with the cake as with everything. The days of a square fruit cake, stacked on those plastic pillars and covered in rock hard royal icing are long gone (thank goodness!!) Although fruit cakes are starting to come back. When I first started, some six years ago, I didn’t do any fruit cakes for weddings, only for Christmas cakes. In 2019 I’ve done a few fruit cakes as one of the tiers, and a few as the top tier to then be kept for a christening. This is a tradition going way back that I thought was long dead. It just goes to show that everything goes around and comes back again.

And then there are the traditions that come over from other countries. Take the ‘grooms cake’ that is an established part of weddings in many parts of America. This is now beginning to be seen over here. And outdoor style weddings that are a comparatively recent concept in the UK (mostly because of the weather I suspect)

The Trends

So what does 2020 hold in store for us in terms of weddings and wedding cake trends?

1/ Semi-naked cakes aren’t going anywhere. I have lots of these booked in for 2020. However I’ve noticed that the fashion for having fresh fruit on them has been replaced with fresh flowers. And even with sugar flowers.

semi naked wedding cake with fresh, edible flowers
Semi naked wedding cake with edible flowers

2/ Brighter colours. Although white and ivory will always be the predominant base colour for the wedding cake, I am doing more and more cakes with stunning colours. Usually these are colours already part of the wedding in some way. Maybe the bridesmaids dresses or the flowers. And these colours can be with either fondant or buttercream cakes. Black wedding cakes are also becoming a big thing (which I love!)

wedding cake with bright colours cake
A very personal wedding cake with bright colours.

3/ Watercolour cakes. Now I don’t mean actual watercolour paintings on cakes (although you can have paintings on cakes) But a soft, subtle blending and bleeding of colour that gives a beautiful, abstract effect. This is perfect if you want colour, but nothing too bold.

watercolour drip cake
watercolour drip effect

4/ Seasonal weddings. By this I mean using the season in which you’re getting married as the inspiration for your wedding. Using flowers that are British grown and in season, and serving seasonal food. Also adopting the colours of the season, spring greens or the burnt oranges of autumn. This will also help to make your wedding more sustainable.

burgundy and gold wedding cake
A winter wedding cake with seasonal bouquet

5/ Getting personal. This is more of an anti-trend, and is about throwing away the rule book and having what you and your partner want. Want a black wedding cake? Then have one! Want to serve beer and fish and chips? Then why not?

black wedding cake with fresh flowers
Have I mentioned I love black wedding cakes?

Round up.

These are my top five. Of course there are, and will be, many more trends and fashions that will come and go. And some that will stay around.

Some blogs will be predicting exact colours and flower types for 2020. I’m not going to go that far. Mainly because I don’t think a wedding is necessarily the best place to adhere to such things. I think there are going to be some definite shifts in weddings though, such as seasonal and more sustainable weddings. And also there’s a big shift towards UK destination weddings. I have found that more and more people from outside the South West are choosing to get married down here. This is something I will be discussing more in my next post, so watch this space!!

To get in touch about your wedding cake, click HERE

How to get the most out of Wedding Fairs.

It’s that time of year again!! Wedding fair season. Feel for us poor wedding suppliers. We just about manage to recover from wedding season, when wedding fairs start again.

Personally I love a good wedding fair, they are a great social event for suppliers to catch up after the gruelling wedding season. Although I have cut right down on the amount of them I now do. Why? A few reasons. Firstly I’ve got busier over the years, and, as it’s mostly just me doing everything, I can’t be in two places at once. And also because, over the years, I’ve found which fairs and shows work best for me.

 

wedding fair display
One of my wedding fair stands from last season

 

But today I wan to talk about how to make wedding fairs work for you. Why should you even go to a wedding fair when you can do almost everything online? What should you expect from a fair? How can you get the most out of them? And how do you decide which ones to go to?

 

Let’s take that last question first. How do you decide which wedding fair to go to? It seems like there are a dozen fairs every weekend! And it’s true that there are a lot of fairs and shows around these days. One thing would be to look if your wedding venue is holding their own fair or open day. This is a good way to get to meet your venues recommended suppliers, as well as having the chance to have another look around your venue. If your venue has a recommended supplier list, but doesn’t hold its own fair, then look to see if any of those suppliers are going to be at any other fairs. If you have a shortlist of suppliers you’re thinking of using then look to see if they are exhibiting at any fairs. I have a list on my website of all the shows and wedding fairs I’m doing, and many suppliers do this. It’s also a good idea to go to the fairs that are local to where you are getting married. Look for fairs that have been running year after year, as these are often ones with a good reputation and repeat exhibitors.

 

wedding fair display stand
Another view of the same stand

 

What should you expect from a good wedding fair? Well, firstly there will be a good range and number of wedding suppliers of all kinds. This might look overwhelming when you first walk in, but don’t panic! Just make your way around at your own pace. When you first arrive, you’ll likely be given a glass of fizz and a goody bag of magazines and other bits and bobs. Some wedding fairs charge an entry fee or require you to book tickets, this is usually when a show is more exclusive or is known to get busy and needs to control numbers. If a show you’re interested in is ticketed, then it’s best to book early. Also you should expect lots of people! A good fair will get busy, and so you won’t get much time to talk in depth with the exhibitors. And that’s not really the purpose of wedding fairs anyway. They are more to give you the chance to look up close and in person at things you’ve seen online, and to make first contact with suppliers you’re interested in working with. Often you can make appointments with suppliers to go back and consult properly with them at a later date.

 

How do you make the most of a wedding fair? As I’ve already mentioned, the good wedding fairs get busy, especially in the first hour or two. If you want to talk to specific suppliers then it’s a good idea to leave it until the last hour, that’s almost always the quietest time. And it’s worth getting in touch with the suppliers you want to meet with and ask them if they can advise on the best time to come to see them. It might be possible to book a mini consultation with them at the end of the fair.

Make a list and take notes. This might sound a bit over organised, but there will be so much to look at and people to talk to, that it’s easy to forget which stand you saw what on. I had a phone call once from a lady who had seen me at a fair ‘Are you the lady with the coconut and lime cake?’ When I said yes she said ‘oh thank goodness! I couldn’t remember who you were!’ So if you see something you really like then note it down. Pick up business cards and note down on them that they are the ‘coconut and lime cake lady’ etc. The postcards I have on my stand are blank on the reverse for just this purpose. Taking pics of things you like is also a good idea, but always ask first.

Do you have to have your date set and venue booked before you start going to fairs? Not necessarily, although it will be something you’ll get asked by suppliers. This is because good suppliers get booked up fast, and we need to make sure your wedding date is available. But if you’ve not got a date set yet then fairs are still a great starting point for your wedding planning. Although if you’ve not yet got to the planning stage, then it’s even more important to note down which suppliers you liked, so you know who to go back to when the time comes.

 

But you can do everything online, suppliers all have a website, why go to fairs? Well yes, this is very true. But on the website you can’t taste the cake or feel the dress fabric. You can also meet us face to face and get to know the face behind the website. This is especially useful if you are getting married a distance from where you live. I’d say around 70-80% of my couples are getting married in Devon or Cornwall, but don’t live here. But having a weekend down here to check out venues and go to a couple of fairs is a great way to ease your mind. By meeting us you can then go home knowing that your wedding is in safe hands.

 

So here’s your wedding fair checklist:

1/ Wedding fairs are a great way to get ideas and get to meet suppliers in person. If you have suppliers you’re thinking of using, then look to see if they are going to be doing any fairs. And see if your wedding venue is having a wedding fair or open day.

2/ Wedding fairs get busy. The quieter times are usually around lunchtime (especially on Sundays) And also in the last hour or so of the show.

3/ Take notes. If you see something you like, then make a note of which stand you saw it on. Remember, if you want to take photos then please ask first.

4/ There will never be (or shouldn’t be) any pressure on you to book anything there and then. So don’t be afraid to talk to people.

5/ Ask questions. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. No one will judge you. We work in the wedding industry, but this is all new to you.

6/ Enjoy it! The bigger fairs and shows can feel a little overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never been to one before. But you’ll soon relax. Take your time and go back around as many times as you feel you need to.

 

I’m doing two fairs this autumn. The Art of Weddings Show at the Royal Cornwall Show Ground in Wadebridge on October 20th. And The Bold and Beautiful Wedding Show at Ocean Studio in Plymouth on October 27th. Maybe I’ll see you there!!

As seen in Hello! One of our wedding cakes!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making the wedding cake for the lovely Jade Parfitt and her fiancé Jack. When I got the phone call there was no indication that this was going to be a celebrity wedding. Jade called me herself, like any other bride, and we chatted about what she wanted and how I could help. At the end of the conversation she mentioned that the wedding might be featured in Hello! Magazine.

 

Hello Magazine logo

 

Now one myth that needs busting about the wedding industry is that we add a 0 when the word ‘wedding’ is mentioned. And this will be several 0’s if it’s a celebrity wedding. WRONG!! Very wrong. This is something a professional wedding supplier would never do. I mean why would we? We don’t want that reputation for a start. I quoted for this wedding in exactly the same way as any other. All weddings are special, and all require our best work. As I say on my website, I quote on the work involved in each cake, not the occasion.

But back to the lovely Jade and Jack.

The wedding was at Ash Barton Estate near Braunton, North Devon. This is a comparatively new venue, but a popular one. You rent the whole place and organise everything yourselves. So it’s idea if you want a more laid-back wedding. And you can stay there too, the kitchen was amazing!

 

Jade and friends
Jade with Erin O’Connor and Jodie Kidd

 

Usually when I deliver a wedding cake I’m one of the only people at the venue, as it’ll be before much is happening. Sometimes the florist or stylist will be there too, and we get on with doing our thing and leave. But this time the wedding was already in full swing! A tad discombobulating! Especially as I’d not delivered there before (although I’ve been back since, and have more booked in there too.)

I pulled up alongside a huge Rolls Royce, and I mean huge. I was amazed the driver had managed to get such a big car along the country lanes, I sometimes struggle in Molly the Mokka. We appeared to be the only cars there. But it turned out that this was because everyone else had parked around the back of the house.

 

the wedding cake
The wedding cake with edible flowers

 

It was one of the most delightful wedding cake deliveries I’ve done. Laid-back, relaxed, and very glamorous all at the same time. The lovely wedding co-ordinator showed me where to set up, gave me the giraffes (yes, you read that right) and left me to it. Jade had given me her brief, but had then allowed me to be creative. So I ordered some edible flowers from Maddox Farm, (they are the best place I know for edible flowers) and added a few from STHQ’s own garden.

Okay, the Giraffes. Yes you did read giraffes. As a super model, Jade is rather tall. And so is Jack! So there is a family joke about giraffes, and they collect them. The ones left for me were their own, and this helped to make the cake even more special and personal. I love it when couples want to add something like this to their cake, or to the wedding in general. And this was a very stylish, cute and fun way to do it. Especially as Jade had glued a little veil to the bride giraffe!

 

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

 

Get the look.

If you want to recreate Jade and Jacks wedding cake style, then the first thing I would say is get in touch with me! But if not, then ask your cake maker about the semi-naked style of cakes. They are the perfect blank canvas to add anything you want to.

Edible flowers are huge in weddings and wedding cakes right now, and you can grow them yourself if you have the space and time. However I would recommend ordering from Maddox Farm, they deliver by post, or from a flower farm local to you. Just make sure that the flowers are grown organically, as they will be going directly onto the cake.

Bespoke cake toppers are perhaps the easiest way to personalise your wedding cake. And you can get a great selection online. They can also be made in sugar of you ask your cake maker and give them enough time. Another option is to have figures made in a polymer clay that can then be kept forever. Or you can do as Jade and Jack did, and use something you already have that has real meaning to you.

Luxury wedding cakes: Be bold, be you!

Personality, we all have one. And your wedding is a great place to show it off. Your wedding should be as unique as you are! But how to do this?
Now the idea of a fully themed wedding fills a lot of people with dread. But so does the idea of a ‘copy/paste’ wedding taken from Pintrest or Instagram (although I love both of these places for inspiration.) So what is the answer? It’s a dilemma, isn’t it?

One answer is to use your wedding cake as a place to bring your personality and tastes to the fore. The cake is an important part of any wedding, and has been for centuries. Although it is only one part, it is a standalone part. And so it is very easy to use the cake as a showpiece, a centrepiece, and a way to really wow your guests. It is said that the cake is one of the most photographed elements of the wedding (after the dress), so it should be a showstopper. But why not also make it reflect you and your personalities?
Am I recommending novelty cakes? No, absolutely not. What I am recommending is making the most of the artistry and skills of your cake designer.

Although, if you did want to bring some real fun to the cake, why not think about a ‘Grooms Cake?’ They were originally a southern states of America tradition. But they are a super fun way to really bring some individuality into your wedding, without it taking over. They are also a way to bring the groom into the wedding, which was their original purpose. Remember the red velvet armadillo from the film Steel Magnolias?

And there are so many elements of your wedding that can be brought into the cake. Are you having a specific design on your stationary? Then why not translate that onto the cake. I make hand cut stencils to echo the design on wedding stationary. If there is artwork on the stationary, then that can be translated onto the cake.

What about colour? There is no reason at all why your wedding cake should be just white or ivory. Recently I did a black wedding cake, and it looked amazing! The bride was wearing a black wedding dress, so it tied in perfectly. Why not pull out a colour from your wedding and have that running through your cake? As we tint all our fondant in house, then we can match up pretty much any colour for you.

If you’re not having a fondant cake, but instead are going for buttercream, you can still have colour. Yes, buttercream can be coloured. Although the yellow tint of the butter has to be taken into consideration. This summer I had one buttercream cake that was turquoise, and another that will be purple. Both are going to make a real statement. The turquoise cake had a cascade of fresh flowers that were all in jewel colours, which made it really pop, especially as the rest of the wedding décor were whites and greens. Plus there was a chocolate shoe cake topper. This was an added touch because the groom had learnt to make shoes in order to make the bride her wedding shoes! I’m not sure I’ve come across anything so romantic!!

Statement wedding cakes are definitely the way forward! The cake can reflect the wedding or be a polar opposite. The mostly white wedding with the bright turquoise and jewel colours cake made a stunning statement without dominating (the bride loved it so much she gave me a hug and burst into tiers.)
Top tips for giving your wedding cake the wow factor.
1/ Colour. Don’t be afraid of colour at your wedding. And having a colourful wedding cake can be an ideal way to achieve that.
2/ Design. Why not pick out a design detail from your stationery or even from the wedding dress/suit or wedding party outfits? We can match elements and translate them onto your cake.
3/ Personal touches. Adding something truly special to you as a couple is a lovely way to personalise your cake. A couple once added two toy dinosaurs as their cake topper, it was a personal joke between them. Another couple left some model giraffes for me to add, as they were both very tall. And remember the chocolate shoe? All these things helped make these wedding cakes more than just beautiful, they also made them special to the couple. And that’s what it’s all about.

Luxury Wedding Cakes: FAQs

Welcome back 😊
Today I thought I would answer a few FAQs that seem to come up. I’m always aware that I may work in the wedding industry, and deal with wedding cakes daily, but for you it’s likely going to be a one off, and something you’ve not done before.
So here are my most frequently asked questions.

When should I order the wedding cake? I get asked this at every wedding fair I do. And my answer is always the same; as soon as possible! Sadly there is still a belief out there that the cake can be left to last, and that three to four months is a long enough lead time, but it’s really not!! It’s May 2019 and I’ve already got bookings for September and October 2020. Yet I’m still being asked about wedding cakes for August this year, which has been booked up for months. I hate having to say no, but when I’m booked then I’m booked. So when you have found the person you want to make your wedding cake, then get that booking fee paid to secure your date, even if you haven’t decided 100% on exactly what you want.

How big should the cake be? The simple answer to this is; as big as you want. If you want a huge wedding cake, then have one! But most couples want a cake to feed the number of guests they are having. And it’s perfectly reasonable for you not to know how much cake you’ll need. This is something we can work out for you, if you tell us how many guests the cake will be for, and how you want to serve it. I have a sizing chart that I work from, which gives me portion sizes, and how many portions each size cake will provide. So tell us numbers, and if you’re serving as buffet/with coffee or as desert, we will then work out what size cake will be best. Size will affect cost to a certain extent, so it is something we need to know in order to quote you accurately.

Why do wedding cakes cost so much?! Oh if I had a pound every time the cost of a cake is questioned. I understand that if you’ve never ordered a bespoke cake before, then you won’t know how much work and time goes into them. And this is why they cost what they do. I used to get offended whenever people made rude comments about my prices. But now I just accept that it will happen from time to time. Think about it though. If you are going to get a new bookshelf you can go and get a flat pack, factory made one from a DIY store, or you can get one designed and made for you. You wouldn’t go to the bespoke craftsman, who is going to make your bookshelf to fit exactly, and be designed just for you, and expect them to do it for the cost of the flat pack would you? You would know that getting something crafted just for you, to all your spec, and delivered and set up for you, will cost more than going to Ikea. So why is it any different with cakes? Basically it’s not. There are hours, and even days of work involved in a wedding cake. Sometimes weeks if there is a lot of sugar flowers etc. And it’s skilled work. There is a myth that we add a premium on as soon as we know it’s a wedding. NOT TRUE! And no true professional will. We work out our prices based on the time, skill, materials involved in producing your cake, and then the delivery time needed. So what you are paying for is not just flour, eggs, sugar and butter. You are paying for skill and hours of time.

Can I change my mind about what I want? Within reason, yes. There will reach a point where it won’t be possible to change your order, because ingredients and materials will need to be purchased, and some of the sugar work will have started. Your cake maker will tell you their policy on this. For me it’s around a month before the wedding or event. Remember that changing the design or size of the cake will mean the cost can also change, down as well as up depending on what your changes are.

How long will the cakes last? Probably longer than you think. Of course fruit cake can literally last for years. But sponge cakes will last up to a week as long as they are kept wrapped up. One of the reasons large cakes are covered in icing is to preserve the cake. Originally this icing would have been royal icing, which sets so rock hard you really wouldn’t want to eat it, instead it was there to protect and preserve the cake inside. These days it’s usually sugar paste/fondant that is used to cover cakes. This is much more appealing to eat than royal, but still not there primarily to eat. So don’t worry if you don’t like fondant (I don’t like eating it!) as it’s not really there to be eaten, but to protect the cake and to look beautiful. With a fondant covered cake you will find you’ll get a good week before the cake starts to deteriorate as long as it’s not yet cut. Once the cake it cut then you need to cover the cut sides in cling film to stop the air getting to it. Air is really the enemy here. Which is why the fully naked cakes, without even a coat of buttercream, wont last long at all. If you know you are going to want to keep the cake for a few days after the wedding or event, then it’s best to go with a fully iced cake. Buttercream cakes will still keep a good few days though, especially if kept wrapped after cutting. With this in mind, don’t cut the cake and then leave it out. Ask the venue to cut the cake up just before you’re wanting to serve it, as we don’t use preservatives.

Never be afraid to ask questions. We are here not only to make you a beautiful cake, but also to make it stress free. And remember, there is no such thing as a silly question!

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.’

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