Stress free wedding cakes – How to get a custom wedding cake without the stress

When you’re planning a wedding there is a great deal to think about. And this can lead to wedding stress. But we want to solve those stresses, and help you have a stress free wedding cake process, but we need to know what those stresses and worries 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 out moments (we all have them) and stresses, 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 the process too.

Little boy enjoying his slice of cake
Who doesn’t love cake?!

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!) There you will get your guide to choosing your wedding cake, as well as other useful advice (sign up HERE).
I would also say to talk to me, and to all your suppliers. All 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 have never got married before, or even been involved in organising a wedding.

Even if this is not your first wedding, 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’re doing. We don’t expect you to know. So ask us. Talk to us. Tell us what is stressing you out, and stopping you enjoying the wedding planning experience.

sizing chart
The sizing chart I work from, so you can use it too

Back to cakes.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It’s YOUR wedding cake, so go with what YOU want. The chances are, 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. Have a look on the websites of your wedding cake makers shortlist, see what their pricing is. This will give you a good idea of what you will need to be budgeting for the wedding cake.

Remember you don’t need to have all the details of your wedding cake design finalised before booking in with you cake maker. In fact part of my job is to design your wedding cake for you, and with you. As long as we know a rough size (or numbers the cake will need to serve) And a rough idea on the vibe of the wedding, that’s enough to start the process. If you have a Pinterest board for your wedding cake, then invite your cake maker to join it. This way we can see exactly what things you are liking, what you’re being drawn to, and this is really helpful. Or simply email us some reference images as and when you see something you like.

semi naked cake with gold drips
Gold drip cake with friends!

Another tip is to find out early on from your guests if there are any food allergies or special dietary requirements. The earlier you can let you cake maker, venue and caterer know the easier it will be to put all the arrangements in place. And it’s one less thing to have to worry about.

Getting your date booked in with all your chosen suppliers is the best way to give yourself piece of mind. Knowing that these things are booked, even if there are still details to confirm, will take a lot of pressure off.

Other things to think about

Another thing to bear in mind at the moment is that a lot of 2020 couples are having to move their wedding to 2021 because of you know what. Which means key dates are going faster than usual. So if you have decided which suppliers you want to work with, don’t wait to make that first contact with them. If a couple has already contacted me about a date, I will always give them first refusal should another enquiry come in. And once a booking fee is paid then that date is yours!

Right now we also can’t offer face to face consultations. However we can skype/face time/zoom etc, and you can email me whenever you’ve got a query. This is actually no bad thing, as we don’t have to stick to a set appointment time.

Clovelly studio
My Clovelly Studio when we can do face to face meetings again

Anti-stress 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 found the cake maker you want to work with, then pay a booking fee and secure your date. Then you can relax and enjoy planning your dream cake.
5/ Budget properly. 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 a cake from them.
6/ Sign up for your chosen cake makers newsletter. There will be lots of useful advice and tips there. And you can unsubscribe once you’ve got the info you need.

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. Pop over to my Instagram or FaceBook Page and leave me you comments, ask me your questions and let me help!

And if you want to get in touch to discuss your wedding cake, pop HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes: FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury Wedding Cakes; 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: 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.’

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.