Luxury Wedding Cakes- High End Wedding Cakes with a Twist

High end wedding cakes with a twist.

You may well have seen the phrase .high end wedding cakes with a twist’ on my Instagram and email signature. It’s become my tag line, as it seems to sum up what I do perfectly. But what does ‘High end wedding cakes with a twit’ mean?

Black buttercream wedding cake with edible flowers
Dramatic but still classy is my passion

 

Let me explain.

High end weddings and wedding cakes are what I do, I work with discerning clients who know what they want. And what they want is something a little different, a wedding cake with a twist!
Usually my clients are looking for a high end, luxury wedding cake, but they also want to have something that reflects them, their personalities and their passions. This may mean hand painting their pet Guinea pigs around one of the cake tiers, or designing and hand cutting a custom stencil.
My clients are classy, but a little quirky. They want their wedding and their wedding cake to be elegant, but to also be creative and a talking point. And it’s my job to get that balance just right.

red roses on floating cake tier
How about a floating tier to add that twist?

 

Now I’m not talking full on themed wedding cakes here, or the sculpted novelty cakes, although I know fellow cake makers who are amazing at those and I can put you in touch with them.
For me the twist is taking the traditional wedding cake and making it stand out and also making it truly personal to you. Often the cake is the part of the wedding that people feel they can get more creative with, without going to OTT. A subtle nod to something, even if that something means nothing to anyone but them. In fact that makes it even more special.

Making your wedding cake yours.

hand painted elopement cake
A hand painted scene of the beach where the couple got engaged.

 

How many times have you seen a pretty wedding cake online and thought ‘that’s lovely, but…’ Or it’s so similar to every other wedding cake that comes up that you can’t tell who made it or who’s wedding it was?

Now there is nothing wrong with this, in fact I love the pretty, traditional, wedding cakes. And these can be exactly what is required for some weddings.
Where I come in is when a couple wants something just that little bit more unique. So maybe that’s a stencil of the details from your wedding stationary, or the lace or detailing from the wedding dress or suits. How about matching the sugar flowers on the cake to the wedding flowers? Or a hand painted scene of a favourite place, maybe the beach where you got engaged? All of these things can be included in the wedding cake design, and these are what adds the ‘twist’.

Colour.

Peacock coloured wedding cake
Colour on a wedding cake can be very elegant

 

And then there’s colour. You may have noticed that I love colour. And there is no reason why you can’t have colour on your wedding cake. In fact I encourage it. These days the edible colours are amazing, and it’s possible to create any shade you need. Something I pride myself on is being able to colour match the fondant for the cake to any colour you give me. Quite often a couple will give me a swatch of fabric, ribbon or one of their invites and ask me to colour match these on the cake. This is another way to make the wedding cake really personal to each couple.

Personal touches.

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

 

I can also cast moulds of things like shells, broches, personal trinkets or other items being used in the wedding décor or table settings. These will be completely unique to you and your wedding and can become a keepsake if made in cold porcelain rather than sugar. In fact, the flowers for the cake can also be made in cold porcelain and then kept forever. What a beautiful thing to be able to keep.

Cake toppers.

wedding cake with bright colours cake
The groom made the brides wedding shoes. So I made a chocolate shoe cake topper.

 

Another way to add that personal and creative twist to your wedding cake is with the wedding cake topper.
These days there are literally thousands of options for a topper, not just the traditional bride and groom. How about including the whole family, even your pets? And you can keep it classy, there’s no need for the generic, plastic figures anymore. Or keep it simple and have an acrylic or wooden topper commissioned with your names and wedding dates, these also make a nice keepsake of the day.

flamingo wedding cake

I find my clients tend not to want the traditional figures on top of their cake, but some still want a topper. This is again where the high end with a twist comes in.

I spend a lot of time working with my clients and their ideas to make sure their wedding cake is exactly how they want it. And this includes the cake topper. I am always happy to source the topper, and to help you think a little differently about what can work. For example, I have a lovely little pair of elephants with their trunks forming a heart. It wasn’t sold as a cake topper, but I knew it would work, so I bought it to have in stock. On a trip to America once I picked up a cute pair of silver starfish that also make an adorable wedding cake topper.

 

Elephant wedding cake topper
The adorable elephant wedding cake topper.

How about commissioning a custom sculpture for the top of your cake? This can then become something to hand down as a family heirloom for future weddings. At our wedding we used the cake topper that was my maternal grandparents, that my mother and aunt had also used at their weddings. There are so many options.

But I’m getting off topic.

High end with a twist wedding cakes. And weddings. These are what I live and work for, this is where I am your perfect cake maker (shameless self-promotion).
But seriously, your wedding should be just that, yours. And having a high end, luxury wedding means you have the budget to have exactly what you want. So there is no need to settle for a copy/paste of the latest Instagram trend. After all, it won’t be a trend for long, but your memories of your big day will last a lifetime. So they need to be perfect, for you.

Instead of looking to follow a trend, how about we set new trends together.

 

Photo credits: FreeForm Images & Helen Chapmen Photography.

To get in touch about your wedding cake click HERE

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

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

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 – Christmas weddings.

Christmas weddings are the subject today.

Christmas tree at Pynes House

With the big day just around the corner, we are all thinking about Christmas in one form or another. And, for some, it’s also the countdown to their wedding day.
I’m originally from Northampton, and many of my family worked in the shoe factories. This meant they were quite limited with time off and holidays, and so Christmas was one of the few times families all had time off together to celebrate a wedding. And so Christmas weddings have featured a lot in my family history.
Of course, these days, we don’t have such restrictions on when we can have time off work. But there is still something magical about Christmas weddings. Actually I love winter weddings in general. But then I am a winter person, it’s my favourite season. I do wish we had had a winter wedding ourselves, but we conformed to the norm of the summer wedding. This was in part because so much of both our families are still up in Northants, and so summer was easier for them to come down. And they liked the excuse for a summer holiday in Cornwall.

Christmas wedding cake at Dartington Hall

But back to Christmas weddings. I’ve been lucky enough to do a few over the years, and they are always just stunning. And I’ve got another one this year, which I’m looking forward to.
The fact that the venues are already decorated and dressed for Christmas is a huge bonus too, and a stunning backdrop for the wedding photos. It’s also a great way to get the family all together, wedding and family Christmas combined. The evening before the wedding spent together, exchanging gifts and catching up is a lovely way to start both celebrations.
Are there down sides to a Christmas wedding? Well yes, of course there are. And as I’m all about banishing the stress, I’m going to keep it real and offer some solutions.
Christmas is a very busy time of year for most people. So, if you’re thinking of a Christmas (or December in general) wedding, then give your guests plenty of notice that that’s your plan. Also think about booking your venue well in advance too. Many wedding venues also host other events, such as Christmas parties, and so will get booked up as quickly as they would in the height of the summer. Also give your chosen suppliers plenty of notice. A lot of us in the wedding industry are sole traders, or have only a small staff. Don’t be offended if suppliers say no to taking on Christmas weddings, especially if they are very close to the 25th. But, if we have plenty of notice, then we can look at the logistics. Oh, and good suppliers won’t charge you more just because it’s Christmas.

Christmas wedding cake at The Green

So the biggest piece of advice about booking a Christmas wedding? Book REALLY EARLY!
Another big issue for any winter wedding is the weather. Although, recently, that seems to be an issue at any time of the year! But you’re more likely to get unromantic weather in the depths of winter. So you need to have a discussion with your venue about a ‘plan B’ if the weather means you can’t get outside for photos. The advantage of a Christmas wedding is that there will be the Christmas tree and all the decorations, maybe a real fire etc, which will make for wonderful wedding photos. Have a chat with your photographer too.

Christmas at Dartington Hall

Winter also means dark nights. Look at where your guests will have to park. If it’s any distance from the main venue, especially if it’s a country house or hotel, then maybe think about torches for your guests to get safely back to their cars. I can think of several country venues I’ve been to over the years, where there’s an unlit path from the car parking area.
From a cake makers standpoint, winter weddings mean that venues have their heating on. I turned up to one venue a year or two ago with a semi-naked cake. I was shown to the cake table, only to see a space heater right under it!! I asked if that was going to be used? When I was told it was, I told them they were going to have to move it. Can you imagine?? Think carefully about where you’re placing the cake table, and make sure it’s not near any heaters or radiators. Cakes are made of lots of things that like to melt if given half a chance! It seems like an obvious thing, but it happens all too often. I have the same issue with windows in summer.
Keeping warm might also be an issue for your guests if you’re having any part of the wedding outside. You would hope they would dress accordingly, but it’s a wedding, so style often wins out (I’ve been guilty of this!) Some venues may offer bundles of blankets for winter weddings, so it’s worth asking about. If not, then ask your wedding planner if they can supply them. Mulled wine would also go down well to keep everyone warm and happy.
Talk of mulled wine brings me to the food and drink. Of course there will be fizz, it’s a wedding. But I’m sure hot drinks will also go down well, think cosy winter favourites. Mulled wine, hot cider, Irish coffee, and warm, spiced apple juice for those not drinking. And the food can reflect the season too. I think this is important at any time of year, seasonal food is always better, fresher, and seems to have more flavour. Your caterers will be experts at this.
Of course, as a cake maker, I’m going to have to touch on cake flavours for winter/Christmas weddings. One of my most popular flavours this time of year is my sticky toffee cake. This is just a warm hug in cake form! A spiced carrot cake works well too. And you can always go all out and combing the wedding cake with the boozy, fruit loaded Christmas cake. Plus you can use the smallest top tier as your first Christmas cake as a married couple.
There are so many good things about Christmas weddings. You’ll have Christmas lights, decorations, trees, Christmas food, mulled wine, real fires, carols and lots of sparkle and magic. You might even get snow!

Three go to Cake International.

Two weeks ago I was in Birmingham at the NEC with Jackie Curtis from Jax’s Cakes N Bakes for the biggest cake show in the world, Cake International. This involved sitting in a van at 6am waiting to be allowed into the car park behind Hall 17 to drop off out competition piece in the collaboration class. This cake making lark really is glamorous……

Three of us came together to create our entry, myself, Jax and Sarah from The Cornish Cakery, you’re allowed up to twenty people!! So only having three was going to make it a challenge. Especially when you know that we had the space of two trestle tables pushed together to fill! That’s a lot of sugar. And as we all run our own cake businesses, it all had to be fitted in around orders and school holidays. We had to keep telling ourselves that this is fun…. Yep, we were enjoying ourselves…

So why did we put ourselves through this? A question I found myself asking while sitting in that van at 6am in the rain. But there was a good reason behind our madness. And that reason was to create more awareness of mental health, something all three of us suffer from. And it’s something that sadly still has a stigma surrounding it. Which is crazy (see what I did there?) because mental illness is so common. I can guarantee that you know someone who suffers from some form of mental health issue. And so we thought it would be a good chance to turn those thoughts and feeling into a visual display that might get people talking.

One side of our piece

Of course it was also a competition piece, so we had to make sure we produced the best work we could. Not easy when you’re having the busiest wedding season so far. And that six months between deciding to do it, and getting it onto that formidable black tablecloth just flew by! Where we happy with it? Yes, although it wasn’t exactly how we first imagined, but not in a bad way. I think it’s great when designs and concepts evolve artistically. And one exciting thing about working in a creative group is that you bounce ideas off one another.

Eventually, after lots of hours and a few changes of direction, we got it finished literally on the morning we were leaving for Birmingham from my studio in Clovelly. I have the space and bifold doors, so it was the perfect place to work on such a big project (it’s still there, we can’t decide what to do with it!) On the Thursday we argued ‘Nelly’, as she’d been named, into the van we had to hire in order to get it there. It took three of us (we borrowed Karren from the gift shop next door) to get her into the van, but there was only the two of us going….. hmmmmm….. this was going to be interesting. What were we going to do on Friday morning trying to get her back out of the van and into the hall? We decided to order room service while we thought about it.

Friday morning the alarm went of at 5.30am. Now I’m the first to admit that I am NOT a morning person, at all, ever. There have only been a very selective number of times I’ve been up at that time of the morning, if you’ve ever lined the red carpet for a film premier then you’ll know the drill. So I was a tad grumpy, poor Jax. Luckily we had stopped on the way and I’d got some of that chilled, ready made, coffee. Plus Jax was driving, so that helped. But we still had the issue of how we were going to get Nelly onto her table. Of course the collaboration tables were as far away from the Hall doors as they could be! Not helpful when our class has the largest and heaviest pieces!! Anyway, the car park guy took pity on us and allowed us to get quite close to the doors. And after a bit of swearing we got her to the tables just inside the door used to make repairs etc. Phew! But now we had to get her all the way across Hall 17 to the display table…..

The other side of our piece

However we were saved by the cake angel that is Cali Hopper. Now Cali is cake word royalty, she’s one of the most talented sugar artists I’ve ever come across. Anyway, she was at a neighbouring table and we were chatting (I’ve known her for years). Her husband Martin was with her and she offered him to us to help carry Nelly! Saved! It just proves that there’s so much love in the cake world. The # collaboration over competition has never been more relevant. And the name of our group was ‘Kowethegeth’ which is the Cornish for friendship. Very fitting.

Cutting the rest of the story short, as a lot of it involves food, coffee and sleep! The next morning we went to see if we had ‘won’ anything. After all it was a competition. Although that’s not why we entered, it was still something we wanted. And TADA!! We got a bronze medal! Not bad considering we were all creating our elements in our separate work places and bringing them together.

Our Bronze certificate
Our Bronze!

Will we do it again? Well if you’d asked us on that Friday then I’d have said HELL NO!!! But now? Let’s just say there are already Pintrest boards filling up.

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: Myth busting part 1!

There are a lot of myths surrounding wedding cakes, some might have a small foothold in fact. But most are just that, myths.
So today we are going to bust a few of those wedding cake myths. And also explain a few things that can get confusing.
Possibly the myth about wedding cakes that cause us cake makers the most issues is the one that is still, sadly, perpetuated. And that is that the cake can be left until last, and doesn’t need to be ordered until a few weeks before the wedding. NOT TRUE!!!!! I can’t count the amount of couples I’ve had to turn down because they have come to me too late, and their date has already been booked. It’s frustrating for us, and causes extra stress for the couple. I always try to fit in a last minute order. But with wedding cakes, that’s not always possible. So please, please don’t leave the cake until last! Really you should be looking at booking the wedding cake when you are booking the venue and other key elements.
In a similar vein is another wedding cake myth that gives cake makers headaches is that the cake will be one of the cheapest elements, so you don’t need to budget much for it. Again NOT TRUE!! If I had a pound for every time I hear ‘how much??? But it’s only cake!!’ Then I could retire right now!!! The truth is that a wedding cake isn’t ‘just a cake.’ In the same way the wedding dress isn’t ‘just a dress.’ Yes you can get a dress from Primark for a tenner, but do you want that for your wedding dress? In the same way you can get a cake in Asda for a tenner, but for your wedding? And wedding cakes tend to be the biggest cakes most of us ever need, and the most elaborate. Translation, they take a lot of work and time. And many of the elements of a luxury wedding cake will be very skilled work, that will take us many hours. There is no conspiracy to get more money out of you, quite the opposite. Many of us work on tight profit margins, and can often end up taking home less than minimum wage.
Myth three on my list is one I actually used to believe myself until I started making cakes professionally, and learned the reality. This is that you can’t stack fruit cake on top of sponge, and so the fruit cake needs to be the bottom tier, or be separate. The truth is that, as long as the cakes are doweled properly, and supported, then you can stack a fruit cake on top of sponge.
Yes fruit cakes are heavier and denser than a sponge cake. And I think this is where the myth arose, and I can see why. If you’re not used to stacking cakes, then the thought of putting a heavy fruit cake on top of a fluffy sponge seems counter intuitive. But, with the right supports in place, it can be done. So don’t worry if you want fruit cake at your wedding, but only really want or need a small amount. It’s completely possible ?
Next on the list is ‘no one ever eats the wedding cake anyway.’ Well this might have been true back in the day, when wedding cakes were tires of heavy fruit cake, thick marzipan (yuck!) and rock hard royal icing. By the time everyone has eaten a big meal, and had a good drink or three, then the idea of a dense, and often very boozy, cake may not have been very appealing. However, we now have yummy sponges!!! I mean who doesn’t love cake?! You’ll be surprised that most people who claimed they’re full, will find room for a decadent cake with an indulgent filling. I usually recommend ordering enough cake for 80-90% of your guests. And don’t forget the kids! Kids love to feel grown up. And having their own slice of wedding cake will do just that.
There are more myths out there to bust!!! But I think I’ve gone on enough this time. So watch this space for the rest!