Staging your Wedding Cake.

Today we are going to talk about staging your wedding cake. Too often I turn up to the venue with the cake, to find the cake table tucked int a dark corner, which is a shame. After all you’ve paid good money for your wedding cake, and we have worked hard making it for you, so you want to show it off.
So where should your cake be set up?
Firstly not in a window! Think glasshouses, and sun through windows. It can get very hot, and cakes are made of lots of things that want to melt given half the chance. Moving the cake to a window for photos is fine, but don’t leave it there all day, especially in the height of summer. And in winter avoid radiators or heaters. I set a cake up in a barn once and found a portable heater had been placed right under where the cake was going. Needless to say I had that moved quick smart!
Which brings me to marquees. They make my heart sink, I’m not going to lie. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again. I have had cakes literally melt in a marquee, and it’s very frustrating. Marquess get very hot and stuffy, especially the ones with the plastic windows. Again it’s best not to set the cake up by these windows. In fact it’s best, in a marquee, to set the cake up near to the ‘doors’ so there’s some air flow. Last summer I had a couple order a semi-naked cake with a white chocolate drip, and when I asked they said it was going into the marquee. I came out in a cold sweat! It was the start of last years heatwave, and I knew there was no way the cake was going to survive the day. So, I explained to the bride and she arranged for the marquee company to provide a large fan and a mobile Aircon unit to set up by the cake table, which they also placed by the opening to allow the breeze (such as there was.) Because of this all was fine. So it’s worth that small, extra investment to make sure your wedding cake survives the day.
Another thing to think about when staging the cake is the photos. The dark corner isn’t going to look great in the cake cutting pics. Plus if the table is pushed against a wall are you going to be able to get proper access to it to be able to cut it and everyone be able to see? Allowing some space all around the cake table will mean your photographer can move you around into just the right position to get the best photos. And your guests will get the best view of you cutting the cake. After all that is a big part of the day!
The wedding cake should be a centre piece and a showstopper. It should be one of the first things your guests see when they walk in. And it’s usually the most photographed thing after the dress. Consider having the cake table next to the top table, then everyone can see it.

Now this next tip might seem really obvious, but it’s been an issue a couple of times. Make sure the cake table is level. I turned up to one venue and the cake table was literally wobbling! There was no way I could risk setting the cake up on it. So I had to find someone to go and fetch me a replacement. Another time I had to pack kitchen paper under one side of the cake board in order to level the cake, as the table was on a slope. Although it wasn’t much, by the time the four-tier cake was set up on it, it became really obvious. I always use a spirit level on my cakes (yes really) so I knew it wasn’t the cake. I put the spirit level on the table and realised the problem. Now I do that first, before I set the cake up, just in case. This problem has also happened with log slice cake stands where they are DIY ones. If you’re going to cut your own log slice please level it up.
Talking of the table, think about dressing it. Having a nice table cloth is great, but there’s lots more you can do to dress your wedding cake table. Of course the cake should still be the star of the show, but why not have other things on the table as well? Recently I set a wedding cake up and on the table were a selection of family wedding photos, which was such a lovely touch. Some brides leave space beside the cake to set their bouquet down and display it, this also looks pretty for the photos.

Now to cake stands. The first thing I advise is always to ask your venue if they have cake stands you can use, many do. But do you actually need one? With the trend towards double height tiers and tall cakes, you may find you don’t really need a stand as well. But if you do then there are a few tips. Make sure it’s big enough. Again this might seem obvious, but I have been presented with cake stands that my clients have bought and they have been too small. The stand needs to be at least the same diameter as the cake board, to allow proper weight distribution and stability. With this in mind avoid the cheap, flimsy stands that may not take the weight. Check the stand foot has a fairly wide base too, this will also avoid instability. As will avoiding very tall stands. They look great, but can mean one knock to the table and disaster!! Avoid stands with lips. The cake stand should be flat. If you are at all unsure then ask your cake maker if they have stands they can hire to you, although there will be a charge and you’ll have to return it.
So to round up, here are your top tips for setting up and staging your cake.
1/ No direct sun or heat source. Cakes are made out of lots of things that want to melt.
2/ Make sure the table is level. And the log slice if you’re using one of those.
3/ If having a marquee then consider hiring fans or air conditioning.
4/ Think about the cake cutting photos and having enough space to get them right.
5/ Before ordering a cake stand ask your cake maker for the dimensions of the cake board so your stand is big enough. Your venue might have stands or your cake maker might hire them.

Luxury Wedding Cake Maker takes time off!! (just kidding).

Today I’m going to go back behind the scenes again. There’s a saying that you should take time from working IN your business to work ON your business. And when you’re a sole trader this can be difficult, in fact it can be like juggling jelly!
But a couple of weeks ago I took two days away from STHQ to go to Wed Meet Up at the very beautiful Deer Park country house near Honiton. I regularly attend the Devon and Cornwall Wed Meet Ups that are evening networking events, but this was two full days. Last year I couldn’t get there because my bestie was over from America and had got us tickets to see Hamilton in London (the irony was not lost.) So I was determined to go this year. And I’m very glad I did.

Deer Park gardens.

The lovely Hazel Parsons from Out of the Ordinary Weddings asked me to exhibit as well, which was an honour considering the amount of talented cake makers there are here in the South West. I had never exhibited solely to fellow wedding industry professionals before, so it was a bit daunting.
I shouldn’t have worried though, it turned out I already knew many people there, which put me at ease. The wedding industry is a super supportive and friendly place.
So what happens at Wed Meet Up? Well according the Craig (videographer) ‘what happens at Wed Meet Up, stays at Wed Meet Up.’ And that might be true regarding the dinner and party after, many sore heads the next day (not mine.) In fact it’s an intense two days of networking and expert speakers. I can safely say I was as inspired as I was exhausted!
One highlight was getting meet people that you never get to talk to when you are working on actual weddings. We are always so busy doing our thing, and coming and going, that it’s just not practical to ‘network.’ Another highlight was being approached by the lovely Anisha from BrideLux. If you haven’t heard of BrideLux I highly recommend googling them and finding their Instagram, especially if you are London based. They are a high-end wedding showcase of hand selected suppliers, and Anisha asked me to be one of those suppliers! Sadly the dates are the 29th and 30th of March, and I have a wedding cake booked in. Unfortunately this is the down side of being a sole trader, you can’t be in two places at once, however much we might try. But at least I know that I’m doing it right, and that my work is getting noticed and liked by the industry as well as clients.
Building good industry relationships is so important. When you are planning your wedding the chances are you will ask around to find suppliers. You’ll book one supplier and ask them if they can recommend others, or you’ll check out the recommended list from your venue. So meeting up with each other and getting to really know each other means we can recommend each other to you with confidence. And I recommend other cake makers too, if there’s a reason I can’t do your cake I know several other cakers who I can pass you to.
These events are also an excellent learning opportunity. When you’re in business you never stop learning. And when your business is also creative that’s doubly true. I’ll always happily share with others how I make my flowers or do a particular technique, one of the joys of learning anything is being able to pass the knowledge on. At Wed Meet Up there were lots of industry experts happy to pass on their knowledge to us, in order to help the whole industry grow.

learning and sharing.

I’m very lucky to be in such a beautifully supportive industry. And I wanted to share a little glimpse into that world 😊

Luxury Wedding Cakes; Don’t freak out!!

There are lots of things to think about when you’re getting married. And that can lead to lots of stress. But it doesn’t need to.
In the industry we talk about our couples ‘pain points’ which is basically the things that are freaking you out. We don’t want you to freak out! We want to solve those ‘pain points’, but we need to know what they are.
So today I’m going to ask you to get involved. An interactive blog if you like. I want to hear from you about your freak outs, especially when it comes to your wedding cake. And also what I can do to help you. Because that’s a big part of my job, not just to physically make your wedding cake, but to take the stress out of it too.
With this in mind what advice can I offer? Firstly I would say sign up to my mailing list so you can get lots and lots of free advice on all things wedding cake direct to your inbox 😊 (shameless plug) https://mailchi.mp/31c219759cfb/clairessweettemptations or you can find it via my FB page. There you will get you guide to choosing your wedding cake, as well as other useful advice.
I would also say to talk to us. All of the suppliers you have in mind to work with for your wedding will be only too happy to answer questions. People often start an email with ‘I know this is a silly question…..’ But there is no such thing as a silly question. After all the chances are you’ve never got married before, or even been involved in organising a wedding. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, things will likely have changed, and what you want, and your tastes will have changed. We do this for a living, so it’s our job to know what we are doing. We do not expect you to know. So ask us. Talk to us. Tell us what’s freaking you out and stopping you enjoying the wedding planning experience.
Back to cakes. My area. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It’s YOUR wedding, so go with what YOU want. The chances are that, these days, you are paying for the majority of the wedding yourselves. Which is even more reason to spend that money on what gets you excited. Something else I’ve said before is book early! This is just as true for the wedding cake as for everything else. And budget properly for the cake.
Budget can be a big stress with weddings. They are not going to be cheap. Even a ‘cheap’ wedding will still be into the thousands. Sadly I find that people don’t budget properly for their wedding cake. You’ve heard me say ‘good cake isn’t cheap and cheap cake isn’t good.’ The cost of your wedding cake will depend on many things. Size, design, delivery distance and the time involved in setting it up at the venue. But I would recommend allowing a minimum of £400 for your cake. All my wedding cakes are bespoke, and unique to each of my couples. But there is a price guide on the website. Most good cake makers will have some kind of pricing guide, so you have an idea of what cost you will be looking at from them. Remember that changing your design/ size etc of your cake, will impact the cost. But at the same time you don’t need to have all your cake details nailed down in order to pay the booking fee and secure your date.

Anti-freak out check list for your wedding cake:
1/ Write down all the things that are stressing you about the cake.
2/ Talk to your cake maker about the things on your ‘stress’ list. Remember there is no such thing as a silly question.
3/ Block out all the voices telling you what they think you should have. Think about what YOU want.
4/ Book early. Even if you haven’t decided exactly what you want. If you have fond the cake maker you want to work with, then pay the booking fee and secure your date. Then you can relax and enjoy planning your dream cake.
5/ Budget properly. The ‘how much???’ is rather insulting. Do some research first. Most good cake makers will have a price guide of some kind to give you an idea of the amount you should budget for the cake.
6/ Sign up for your chosen cake makers newsletter. There will be lots of useful advice and tips there.
Now it’s your turn! Tell me what’s stressing you out about choosing your wedding cake. Tell me how I can help take that stress away.

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

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

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


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

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

Luxury Wedding Cakes: Myth busting part 2

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

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

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

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

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!

Thinking about your wedding cake flavours (yum!)

So far we have talked a lot about finding the right cake maker, and how your wedding cake will look. But this is only half the story.
We still need think about how your cake will taste!
It seems to be a common theme that when I meet with my couples to discuss their wedding cake, they are divided. The bride is very keen on how the cake looks, the groom is more interested in how the cake tastes.
And that’s what we are going to talk about today. Cake flavours.
Gone are the days when the wedding cake was a fruit cake, all of it. With marzipan and thick royal icing that needed a chisel (there’s good reason why the cake knives used to be so big and heavy!) Although I do still, occasionally, do fruit cake for weddings, it’s usually a sponge cake. I don’t really know when the change from fruit to sponge started, but I’m very glad it did. I’ve nothing against fruit cake, but maybe not four plus tiers of it!
It’s true that fruit cake will last for a long time. And a very boozy cake will last even longer. We all know how long a Christmas cake will keep. But I can’t remember a couple ever wanting to keep the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening cake, as was traditional. Saying that, some couples do freeze their top tier to bring out for their anniversary. There will be more about storing your leftover wedding cake in the coming posts.
Back to the cake flavours. I’m often told by couples that choosing the cake flavours is one of their favourite parts of the wedding planning process. Who doesn’t like to eat cake?!
But how do you narrow it down?
Firstly, there’s no reason why you can’t have each tier of your cake a different flavour. So if you are having a four tier cake, then you can have four flavours. And yes, you can mix fruit cake with sponge cake if you want to.
A lot of couples worry about making sure they choose flavours that will please their wedding guests. While there is nothing wrong with that, and it’s worth bearing in mind, my advice is to have the flavour, or flavours, you want. It’s your wedding, the chances are that you’re paying for it. So have what pleases you, in taste as well as appearance. I had one couple who chose the whole four tier cake, to feed over 100, all in coconut and lime cake with pineapple buttercream. It was their favourite flavour from my list, and that’s what they wanted. When I asked if they were sure the bride said ‘It’s our wedding, they will get the cake we choose!’
However that might be a bit extreme.
My advice would be to have a look on your chosen cake makers website and have a chat with them. I have a list of the most popular flavours on my website, and will happily go off list if you have something very specific in mind. Find out what seems to be the most popular flavours for wedding cakes are that your cake maker offers. And then think about what your favourite cake flavours are.
Also arrange a cake tasting and consultation with your cake maker. I offer two options. A full consultation with a tasting box of three flavours, in person. Or a tasting box by post. The postal boxes are a great option if you are getting married a long way from home. Based in the South West I get this a lot. And I hated the idea of my couples not being able to try the cakes before their wedding.
Now you may think that a cake is a cake is a cake. But there are literally thousands of recipes out there, and each cake maker will have their preferred recipes. And so one persons chocolate cake could taste very different to another. Therefore it’s important to make sure you’re happy with the taste of the cakes before the big day, to ensure no disappointments.
Often I hear that couples don’t get to have any cake on the day, as there is so much else going on. If you have the venue save the top tier, then you know you won’t miss out. Why not have the smallest, top tier, in your favourite flavour. Then ask the venue to save that for you. I offer a 4in ‘take to bed’ cake for this very reason. It’s a separate, mini wedding cake, that is not offered to guests. Instead it’s boxed and left for the newlyweds to enjoy.
Another consideration is dietary requirements of any guests. A good cake maker will be able to deal with this so you don’t have to worry about it. I regularly do gluten free, dairy free or both. And they don’t have to be separate from the rest of the cake either. These days your really can’t tell the difference between ‘free from’ and regular cakes. Vegan cakes can be a little more specialised, so make sure you ask your cake maker early on about any vegan options.
So here is your checklist for choosing your wedding cake flavours:
What are YOUR favourite flavours?
You can have each tier a different flavour, including fruit cake. So you don’t have to be restricted to one flavour.
Think about what your guests would like, but don’t sacrifice what you want.
Check if there are any dietary requirements among your guests. And make sure to discuss this with your cake maker.
Don’t be afraid to ask to go off list. A good cake maker will be able to accommodate any special requests.
Do a cake tasting. Sometimes the flavour you think you want might change when you try it. And you might end up liking something you didn’t think you would.
Most importantly? Enjoy it!

It’s time to get naked!!!!! (wedding cakes)

Okay not us, well not me anyway, but the cake.
Naked and Semi-naked wedding cakes have boomed in popularity in recent years, and they ae still going strong. But there are a few things you need to think about with them, especially the fully naked cakes.
I touch on this in my Ts&Cs because there can be issues with fully naked cakes.
Now I’m not trying to put you off getting naked on your wedding day ? heaven forbid!! And I’m not trying to put you off having a naked cake, the are very cute.
However, they can also dry out rather quickly, especially on hot summer days. Yes, even in the UK! So this needs to be kept in mind when thinking of going naked. How long will you want the cake to sit out on display before cutting and eating? A couple of hours? Then you’re fine. All day and into the evening? Hmmmm….. might want to think about giving your wedding cake some underwear.
And this is where the semi-naked cake is perfect. It’s giving your naked cake a thin skim of buttercream on the outside, the cake still shows through, but there’s enough cover to give some protection. It also looks super pretty, and the buttercream can be tinted a variety of colours. It also means you can have any combination of cake flavours, and the cakes won’t look mismatched. So you can have Vanilla, Red Velvet and Chocolate all together for example.
There is also a third option. And that is to have a full coating of buttercream. This is perfect for anyone who really dislikes fondant (sugar paste) but doesn’t want the rustic look of the semi-naked. Buttercream is surprisingly versatile too. You can tint it different colours as I’ve already mentioned. You can airbrush it to make it shimmer, you can texture it in dozens of ways, or you can have it glass smooth.
A good buttercream will form a ‘crust’ once dry, and this is a good thing. This is what will protect your cake from drying out. A buttercream cake can also be refrigerated. Fondant cakes can be too, but they will need to be out of the fridge a good hour before they are needed, as condensation can form on the fondant as it comes back to room temperature. This is perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about, but will be sticky if your try to move it before it’s dried.
So a few quick pointers:
Naked cakes are best kept covered for as long as possible, and left out for as short a time as possible.
Semi-naked cakes are fine left out on display as long as needed, but not by a heater or direct sunlight (this applies to any cake anyway.)
Buttercream cakes are a great alternative to fondant.
All can happily be kept in the fridge without issue.

It’s design time for your wedding cake!

Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and that going back to work wasn’t too painful.
Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to get back to planning your big day. And to thinking some more about the all-important cake.
This time I want to talk about wedding cake style.
How many of you use pintrest to gather inspiration? I know I do, for everything. And it’s fabulous. It’s also HUGE! With so many ideas and beautiful images, how are you ever going to narrow it all down??? I mean having 100 cakes might be a nice idea, but not very practical.
However, this is another area where your cake maker is on hand to help. Because designing your cake is all part of the service. Saying this, there is an issue here. Sadly I can’t design a cake until the booking fee has been paid. This is because I’ve been the victim of design theft. On too many occasions I have been in talks with a client, designed their cake, and then never heard from them again. Only to see my exact design pop up on social media on the date and place they were enquiring about ☹ So when your cake designer asks for the booking fee before designing your cake, this is probably because this has happened to them too. But we will happily talk you through all the various style options, and help you narrow down exactly what you want.
Deciding how you want your cake to look is one of the fun parts, maybe only second to trying lots of samples to decide on flavours (more of that in the coming posts).
So, let’s get back to all those pics you have got pinned and saved. Have a good look through them. Is there a theme? Do they have anything in common? I bet you’ll find they do, even if you think they are random. And those that share similarities are the beginnings of your design.
Do your reference pics share a colour scheme? Do they all have sugar flowers? Then you clearly are drawn to those things. This is what you need to tell your cake designer. Better still. Invite them to your pintrest board so we can see for ourselves. If you can’t spot a pattern, I bet we will.
And of course, there’s the other option with cake design. Ignore everything you see and go completely your own way! I’ve done a Death Star as a wedding cake before now (yes really.) And why not? It’s your wedding after all. So if that’s what you are finding yourselves drawn to, then go for it. The cake is one of the areas of the wedding you can really personalize, without turning the whole thing into a fully themed wedding. It’s a nod to you and your personalities, the things you share, and the things that you love. Your wedding cake can tell your story, or represent something personal to you as a couple or a family. A once had the couples children design the cake for them, which they didn’t get to see until the day.
Gone are the days when the wedding cake was an all white affair, stuck in the corner. It’s now one of the stars of the show. And every star deserves to shine ?

The most wonderful time of the year….

‘Tis the season to……..GET ENGAGED!!!!!
CONGRATULATIONS!!
I know a lot of you reading this will have had a beautiful ring waiting under the tree for them this Christmas. And now you’re spending the Christmas holiday looking for wedding ideas. Which can all get very overwhelming. And you might think it’s too soon to start planning.
But it’s never too soon. Especially when looking at wedding venues. I know of several sought-after venues that have bookings years in advance. I’m not saying this to scare you! But to reassure you that there’s nothing wrong with getting the planning ball rolling. Once you’ve got a date in mind, you’re good to go.
So how do you do that? When you work in the wedding industry you get to know lots of suppliers and how they work. This is one reason a good wedding planner can be worth their weight in gold, they know a slew of people and lots of tricks to make everything run perfectly. A lot of people dismiss a wedding planner and think it’s easy enough to plan a wedding. But I would recommend giving it some thought. A good wedding planner will have a contact book that has taken years to build, and that knowledge is priceless.
A good starting point to your planning journey is attending wedding fairs. And, as luck would have it, they start in the new year ? Before you go, make a list of the things you want to find out about. This list will grow as you get a better idea of what’s available and the kind of wedding you want. I would start with the basics. Venue, wedding dress/bridesmaids’ dresses/grooms’ suit, flowers, catering (which the venue may well include in their packages) and, of course, the cake! That’s the main checklist for a wedding. You can then add as much as you like, the sky is the limit!
Which leads me to my next piece of advice, budget. Another reason going to wedding fairs is a good idea is that you can start to get an idea of what things are going to cost. A lot of people are surprised at the cost of a wedding, and that’s understandable. If you’ve never organised a wedding before, then you’re not to know. Take a notebook and take lots of notes, you don’t want to forget the name of a supplier or any advice they may give you. So don’t be afraid to talk to the suppliers exhibiting, that’s what we are there for. We will happily talk to you about our area of expertise, it’s our passion. Collect business cards and flyers from anyone you think you might like to work with. And there you go! You’ve started.
Also, there will often be show offers that you can take advantage of.
Talking of which. I have a nice offer running for all you newly engaged couples. Get in touch before January 31st and get 15% off your wedding cake! I often have special offers on at wedding fairs to, so it’s always worth coming to see me. In fact you can come and see me this coming Sunday the 6th and the stunning Tawstock Court near Barnstaple.
*Any offers are always subject to date availability. Dates can’t be held, so a booking fee is required to secure your booking.

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