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 Devon, Cornwall, London – Smaller Weddings

Are Smaller Weddings the way forward?

As we are still in a semi lock down here in the UK, and the government is giving us NO information on when weddings will be allowed to go ahead, or in what form. I thought I would follow up on a previous post about micro and elopement weddings, and focus on cakes for smaller weddings.

elopement cake and scones
High Tea for two

I know some people think that we in the wedding industry, and especially venues, get given information ahead of the public about what the plans are for weddings. But I can assure you we really don’t. We know no more or less than everyone else, in spite of lobbying for information. Believe me this is all as frustrating for us as it is for you. I know of at least two wedding businesses that have folded due to the virus and weddings having to be called off this year. And, sadly, I think there will be many more. It’s a nightmare.

I was talking to a couple the other day who are getting married this September, and they were saying it would be so helpful if the government would just make the decision. And I couldn’t agree more!

Algarve elopement cake
Small can still be beautiful

Anyway back to the subject of smaller weddings and cakes.

The trend for micro and elopement weddings started a few years ago, in fact I think they have always been a thing. And, as I’ve said before, they do have a lot going for them. If the government does give the go ahead for weddings, then it’s likely to be with number restrictions to begin with (I’m not even going to try to guess what those numbers might be).
Now you may think that having a smaller wedding means you have to compromise on the cake. But this isn’t necessarily so. After all you may already have had to compromise on so much else.
I have often done a fake or dummy tier as part of a cake for a smaller wedding, in order to give it more height and more wow. And this is what I would recommend doing for your smaller wedding.

Romeo & Juliet cake
90% of this cake is fake, and has real impact.

 

You may only need one or two tiers of real cake to feed you and your guests, and don’t leave yourselves out when thinking about how much cake you need. Too many times I’ve had couples tell me that all their guests loved the cake, but they never managed to get any!

Cake for you

Then there is the tradition of keeping a tier for the christening of the first baby. Of course this was back when wedding cakes were fruit cake, and we all know how long fruit cakes will keep for. But sponge cakes freeze really well, so it’s still possible to do this. And it doesn’t have to be for a christening. Several of my couples have kept the top tier and frozen it for their first anniversary. If you’re having a smaller wedding then this gives you plenty of scope to have a tier to keep, as you won’t need it to serve to guests.
In fact why not have an extra, smallest, top tier that’s just for you anyway? Sometimes called a ‘take to bed cake’ or ‘midnight feast cake.’ Don’t forget to tell your venue or wedding planner that it’s yours!

Clare and George enjoying their sample box at home
Remember to keep some cake back for yourselves!

You don’t have to get married to have a party!

Yes the chances are that larger weddings will be on hold for a little while, or will be in a different form. And it’s also true that a lot of wedding budgets are having to be spent elsewhere at the moment. However having a smaller wedding has a lot of pluses, as I discussed here. And then, when all this is over, why not have the wedding you were originally planning as a vow renewal for your first anniversary? In fact this is a great idea because you get all of the fun and excitement with none of the wedding day nerves or worries, as you’ve already done that bit.

Keep positive

Nothing anyone says will lessen the disappointment that a lot of couples are feeling this year. Or the stress a lot of wedding businesses are under to try and stay alive. But weddings WILL happen again. And you WILL be able to marry the love of your life.
And think of it this way. You now have more time to iron out all those little things that have been niggling you. You have more time to save, should you need to. And you have time to make changes to anything you weren’t 100% about.

As to the cake?

Well there is no need to scale down that particular part of the dream. In fact the cake is one of the parts of a smaller wedding you can still go all out with. So get creative!

To get in touch about your wedding cake, large or small, click HERE

Photography by: Helen Champman Photography, Mjp Events & Verity Westcott Photography 

Luxury Wedding Cakes – Elopement and Micro Weddings

What is an Elopement or Micro Wedding?

There’s no getting away from it. The days of the big, 200 plus guest weddings are on hold for now. But does this mean that getting married is on hold? I don’t believe so! In fact I think elopement and micro weddings are going to become the next big trend.

Ombre blue elopement cake
Small, but still full of class

There are many reasons why an elopement wedding is a good thing.

I know there’s a lot of disappointment at the moment with weddings having to be postponed. As a wedding supplier I’ve been at the sharp end of the fall out. It’s upsetting to have to move weddings when so many plans have already been made. And money already spent.

But there is hope. And it comes in the form of an elopement wedding, or micro weddings as they are starting to be called.

These days an elopement doesn’t mean the two of you running away is secret. These days it simply means a small wedding, maybe twenty people maximum. You and your nearest and dearest celebrating your special day with you, relaxed and happy.

Although we still don’t know when weddings will be allowed again, I think it’s safe to say that elopement style weddings will be the first to be given the green light. So it’s well worth considering. Why not have an elopement wedding now, and then a big party or a vowel renewal for your first anniversary, when everything is back to normal.

And there are other reason for an elopement or micro wedding that have nothing to do with ‘the virus.’

Firstly the financial aspect. Let’s face it, most of us have been impacted either with jobs or businesses. And there’s much uncertainty. Now I’m not going to dwell on that, but it is worth looking at switching to an elopement style wedding if budget is becoming a consideration.

Then there is all the family and relationship politics surrounding the guest list and seating plan. Been there, done that (we ended up in the pub). I think it was the part of the planning that took the longest! How many people are on that guest list that you’d rather weren’t? Or that you hardly know but feel obliged to invite? I think this is a given for most weddings.

Guest list nightmares

You feel you should invite work colleagues, your parents want you to invite some of their friends, and if they are on your Christmas card list then you feel they should be on your wedding guest list, even if it’s just the evening party. And before you know it you’ve got 150 plus people to feed and entertain! And some of those people feel obliged to come to your wedding even if they’d rather not.  How many weddings have you been to where you’ve hardly got to speak to the happy couple, and have been sat with total strangers? It can all get a bit awkward. You should be enjoying your wedding day, not going around introducing people to each other and hoping they will all get along.

the cake cutting is a special moment
Small weddings are so much more chilled

An elopement solves that at a stroke.

You can only have, say, 20 people at your wedding. This instantly means you can drop all those obligation invites. You only need to invite those you really want to share your day with, and who you know will want to be a part of that day. The guest list pressure is off! And you know that everyone will know each other well, and so will be relaxed. Plus you will be able to spend quality time with all your guests, and not feel you’ve got to be playing the host.

Another plus is that, with the smaller numbers, you’re more likely to be able to find a venue where you can all stay together.  Many hotels offer a discount for wedding guests, but won’t always have enough vacant rooms to accommodate them all, especially of you’re getting married in the height of summer.

A smaller party will mean more chance of getting rooms for everyone, so no driving or hassle with getting taxis late at night. And a smaller wedding is also perfect for some of the exclusive use venues.

white wedding cake with spring sugar flowers
Set up in a private rental house ready for the intimate party

Why not hire a large holiday home for you all to stay in for the whole weekend, or even the whole week? You can have the actual wedding at a licenced venue, church, chapel or registry office. Then back to your rented house for the party? Hire in private caterers who can do the whole weekend. Or go all out and hire a place that comes with staff and a chef. And then just chill. After the guests have gone you can have the rest of the week there as a mini honeymoon.

I’ve delivered wedding cakes to privately rented houses a few times, and there is always a lovely vibe about the place.

The Old Rectory at Pyworthy for a micro wedding
A stunning private rental in Devon for a micro wedding

Now I know I said I wasn’t going to dwell on finances

But another good thing about a smaller wedding is that you will have more to spend on lots of the extras. One of the biggest costs of any wedding is the reception, and the food/wine/service and entertainment for all those people, then even more people in the evening. This can mean compromises have to be made elsewhere. With a micro wedding there’s no need to choose between one thing or another. Because you’ll be, potentially, saving thousands on the reception, you can have that Vera Wang dress you’ve been dreaming of. Or you can have the most amazing honeymoon.

flower arch
Go OTT with the flowers!

It’s much easier to get personal with a micro wedding too. Why not use some of that spare budget to hire some quirky props, go OTT with the flowers, or hire a live band? The space will be smaller as well, and so easier to customise and personalise.

Okay, Claire, but what about the cake?

Well I have to talk about the cake!

White sea themed elopement wedding cake
You can still have a tired cake at a micro wedding

Over the years I’ve done many elopement cakes as there are several venues here in Cornwall and the South West who specialise in them. And they have always been completely different, and a true representation of the couple. From very simple semi naked cakes with fresh flowers, to a cake with a cow theme. I think people allow their personalities to come to the fore much more at small, intimate weddings. There’s no one there to impress, just those who already know all your quirks. And you’ll already know theirs, so no sudden ‘oh by the way I’m vegan’ surprises at the last minute.

Two tier, peach elopement wedding cake
And the cake can still be a feature

Desert tables work well for small weddings too. As do grazing tables where people can just go and get what they want, when they want it. No long line at the buffet, or harassed waiting staff trying to get everyone seated and served.

Yes a smaller wedding means a smaller cake. And so a lower spend. In theory I should be against this, and encouraging you all to wait until you can have those 200 plus guests and that £1K wedding cake.

semi naked, elopement cake with fresh flowers
Semi naked with fresh flowers

But I’m a realist. Weddings like that aren’t going to be happening anytime soon. Small cakes can be just as special. And you can still have that huge, six tier creation you’ve dreamed of if you want to, just have five of the tiers as dummies.

The wedding industry, as with everything else, is going to be changed by this. And we are going to have to adapt to the ‘new normal.’ This is going to mean smaller weddings for a while. And I, for one, am okay with that.

To get in touch about your elopement or micro wedding cake click HERE

Floral arch by Twigs Flowers 

Elopement wedding venue I love delivering to is Lower Barns

Great exclusive use venue with accommodation at Ash Barton Estate   

And also The Old Rectory