Luxury Wedding Cakes Devon, Cornwall, London- Sugar Flowers

Sugar flowers and wedding cakes

If you have been on my website before, or if you have been looking at my galleries here or on Instagram and Pinterest, I’m sure you will have noticed a theme. Sugar flowers. Lots of wedding cakes with sugar flowers. And that is what I want to talk about today.

 

Over the years I have lost count of the number of wedding cakes I’ve made, it’s up in the hundreds by now I’m sure. And they are all as unique as the couple who have ordered them. But one thing a lot of them have in common, and the thing I might be best known for, is sugar flowers. I just love them!

Sugar roses

There are many reasons for this love, and it goes way back to when I first left school and enrolled in horticultural college. I was 17 and loved plants and flowers, they fascinated me. I spent many happy hours learning how plants worked and got up close to flowers. And that knowledge seems to have stuck with me, at least to a point.

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

Having had that horticultural training, I already knew how flowers work, and how they are put together. This has given me a good basic training for making sugar flowers. It’s almost like the reverse of what we did at college. Then we would take a flower apart, petal by petal, piece by piece. Now I constrict them, petal by petal and piece by piece.

 

But why should you consider sugar flowers for your wedding cakes?

 

Well why wouldn’t you? Although I would say that. But they really are a stunning addition. Plus they won’t wilt and die, and you can keep them for years afterwards. I always say that sugar flowers are a like Gremlins (Yes I’m old enough to remember that in the cinema!) keep them out of bright light and don’t get them wet.

Sugar parrot tulips and roses
Sugar Parrot tulips and Roses

If you keep them dry and away from direct heat and sun, they really will keep for years. Some people pop them under a glass dome to help preserve them. Or you could go for a polymer clay version that will keep forever and can be used as an heirloom. They are made in basically the same way as sugar flowers, but are not in any way edible, although perfectly safe to use as a cake topper/decorations.

 

Saying that, sugar flowers are only edible in that they are made from a form of sugar paste. But they almost always have some form of wire or non-edible support in them. And this will render them inedible anyway. I mean you could pull them off the wires and eat the petals if you really wanted to, but I wouldn’t recommend it! Not unless you have a very good dentist.

 

Not all sugar flowers will be wired though. And they don’t have to be super realistic looking either. Flowers can even be made in a form of chocolate paste that are fully edible, and delicious. In fact the possibilities are endless.

watercolour drip cake
stylised wafer paper flowers

I will go into all the options another day.

 

Back to sugar flowers.

 

Sadly I don’t know the history of the sugar flower, that is something I will have to look into. Although they have been around in one form or another for decades. In recent years the range of pastes available to make them with have vastly increased, and this has made it more and more possible to make them super realistic. So has the development of all the equipment used to make them. Not that you need that much to get started. I offer classes which includes the basic kit you will need to get started.

Sugar roses and peonies
Sugar Roses and Peonies

And gone are the days when sugar flowers on wedding cakes were basically white roses. These days you can have pretty much any flower you like, and in any colour. This is very helpful if you want flowers such as sweet peas which are toxic and not a good idea to use on cakes. Have them made in sugar instead! There are many flowers regularly used in floristry that are actually toxic and so can’t be used on cakes. I’ll go into that more in a future post.

 

Making your own.

 

While it takes a lot of practice and patience to make the super realistic sugar flowers. You can make some smaller, and more basic ones at home. And this is what I teach in my classes. Well I do when I am able to start doing them again.

And how lovely would it be to have a few little filler flowers on your wedding cake that you have made yourself? And how cool would it be to have part of your hen party celebrations making sugar flowers for your wedding cake? They can be left with me to be added in with the rest of them on your cake. And it will be even more personal.

 

The future.

 

With the new normal, and all the new guidelines and restrictions around weddings, things are going to be scaled down a fair bit for quite a while. But this allows you more scope to upgrade on the things you can still have, like the wedding cake.

Now you’re not spending so much on a large wedding with 100 plus people, you can free up some of the budget for other things.

One of the things you can still have, and which is going to become even more important, is the cake. Now more than ever it will become the centre piece.

You may not be able to have all of the usual elements that have become the norm at a wedding, like the big evening party etc. But you can still have the lovely tradition of cutting the cake.

In fact I think the older traditions like the cake cutting are going to become more important again in the new normal. Keeping those old traditions alive gives us consistency in a time of such upheaval, and helps to ground us and remind us that some things may change, but other things remain.

With this in mind why not go all out with the cake? Have that big wedding cake dripping in sugar flowers that you dream of but couldn’t justify spending on before. Remember it doesn’t have to be all real cake. You can have just the one tire of real cake and the rest as dummies. And don’t worry about waste. I can have the dummy tires back, strip them and reuse them over and over.

red roses on floating cake tier
You could learn to make the filler flowers for your wedding cake

There are as many ways to incorporate sugar flowers into you wedding cake as there are wedding cake! From small clusters of dainty blossoms, to full on cascades of realistic looking blooms. Want a bright blue rose? You can in sugar! Let your imagination run riot.

 

To find out more about sugar flower classes keep an eye out HERE where I will post new classes as they are possible.

To contact me 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 in Devon and Cornwall: Wedding cake toppers and decorations explained.

Something that has come up recently is the question of wedding cake toppers and decorations. And if they are edible or not?

This is an interesting question. And so I thought we would look at that today.

A lot of wedding cake toppers, and cake toppers in general, are wood/ceramic/glass/plastic/resin and so are clearly not edible. They are meant to be a keepsake. They will be made of a food safe material, but that’s to make sure they don’t contaminate your wedding cake.

wooden cake topper
A wooden cake topper that can then be kept

But what about wedding cake toppers and decorations we cake makers make out of sugar?

As I’m sure you know I’m very partial to sugar flowers and wafer (rice) paper. And yes, these materials are technically edible.
I remember being fascinated by rice paper as a child. And my great aunt gave me sheets of it to eat when we went to visit. I was eating paper!! What was this madness??!! Although it actually doesn’t really taste of anything much.

wafer paper flowers
And gum paste/flower paste?

Well yes, you could eat it, if you really had to. It is sweet and sugar based, but sets super hard. Which is what we need it to do when making flowers and models. However, this means you risk breaking a tooth if you did decide to take a bite!
This is assuming, of course, that there are no internal supports.
These are what will render your sugar flowers or sugar cake toppers into non-edible decorations.

sugar flowers with a resin cake topper
Sugar flowers with a resin cake topper

Let me explain.

When you are making sugar flowers or any topper or decoration, there are a few things we must take into consideration.
1/ The style you are going for. This determines what will be used to make the decorations. If you wanted very real looking flowers, then flower paste is the best option. But if you wanted something more stylised, then we could do wafer paper flowers instead. And if you wanted to keep them forever, then a cold porcelain can be used to make flowers.
2/ The way they are to be arranged on your wedding cake. This will determine how we make the flowers or decorations. If you want them to cascade down the side of the cake, and not just sit on top, then we will need to factor in a supporting stem. And this is made with florist wire.
3/ Weight. Anything made with any form of sugar tends to get quite heavy. Dozens of sugar flowers or decorations will add a lot to the weight of the cake. However, wafer paper is much lighter. So if you know the cake is going to have to be moved then this might be a better option. And wafer paper is also a lot less fragile to transport too. Worth considering.

With cake toppers and models its very similar. On the outside they will be sugar. But they will almost always need some kind of internal support. Especially with standing figures of the happy couple for example.

flamingo cake topper
This flamingo couple are a good example

What types of internal supports do we use?

1/ For many sugar and wafer paper flowers we will use a polystyrene cone or ball on a florist wire. We can make the cone or ball out of more paste, but they take a long time to dry out, add unnecessary weight, and will still need the wire. We must add the wire in order to secure the flower to the cake.
This wire becomes the flower stem, and is inserted into the cake in the same way as a real flower would be.
*Note: No flower stems, real or wired, can be inserted directly into the cake. It’s not allowed. We use posy pics, food safe tape or food safe wax as a barrier.
2/ Cocktail sticks are often used in smaller models. Usually to secure a head or limbs to the body (goodness that sounds grim!) These are food safe and you can pull them out and then eat the model (which sounds even more grim, lol)
3/ Bamboo skewers. These are used as larger cocktail sticks, and for giving a ‘spine’ to larger models.
4/ Armature wires. This is where it gets fun for us doing the making! Anything on a larger scale will need a skeleton. And any models that are posed will need this too. The armature wire is first wrapped in aluminium foil tape to make it food safe. But you can’t really eat these models unless you were to strip all the sugar paste from the wire.
5/ Florist wire. Used mostly in sugar flowers. A florist wire is often inserted into individual petals and leaves before assembling the flowers. Because of the delicate nature of this, the wire is inserted directly into these petals and leaves, no food safe protection first. So any wired petal or leaf won’t be edible, even if you pull it from the wire.
6/ Full cake frames. These are used for the large, sculpted and novelty cakes you see. They are a skeleton but for the entire cake. When these are used they are always a food safe structure.

sculpted wedding cake
An example of using a framework to get the effect

So that’s the inside. But what about the outside?

On all cake toppers, decorations and sugar flowers you’ll see the various colours and maybe even some sparkle. There are several ways we do this.

1/ Edible paints. I use these a lot. Especially with the beautiful watercolour effect cakes I do. I make my own paint by mixing edible gel colours or dust colours with alcohol, usually vodka. Some of the metallic paints I buy ready-made, but the are still 100% edible.
2/ Airbrushing. Not actually something I do that often. But, as with the edible paints, airbrush paints are a mix of edible food colour and an alcohol carrier.
3/ Dry dusting. This is used a lot for sugar flowers to add the tones and realism. Personally I always tint the actual flower pastes myself with edible gel food colour, but the petal dusts always add the details. Again these are 100% edible.
4/ Lustre dusts. Similar to petal dusts. They are 100% edible and can be used over a whole cake to give that pearlized sheen.
5/ Cocoa butter paint. This is similar to the edible paints. Instead of using alcohol we use melted cocoa butter to mix with the petal dusts/dust colours/lustre dusts.
6/ Edible glitter. This is where it can get tricky. When you are buying glitters for cakes there will be two kinds. Edible and non-toxic. If we know the glitter will be going directly onto the cake, then it will always be edible.
7/ Non-toxic glitters/colours. These are only used on toppers and decorations that will have already been rendered non-edible by the use of wires etc. Your cake maker will tell you what elements of the decorations should be removed before serving the cake. However, if you were to consume any, it’s non-toxic, so won’t do you any harm.

edible metallic painted wedding cake
This one was painted with edible, metallics

Really the main point of the wedding cake topper and the decorations isn’t to eat anyway. They are there to look amazing and wow your guests. And they will keep surprisingly well if you follow a few rules. I always say treat sugar work like gremlins: don’t get them wet and keep out of bright light!

To enquire about your wedding cake click HERE