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: How to choose the best cake stand.

You have found your perfect cake maker and have ordered your dream wedding cake. You know it is going to look stunning. But have you thought about what you are going to put it on? Today we are going to talk about how to choose the best cake stand and the cake table.

Cake stands

There are as many designs of cake stand as there are cakes. And this can make finding the perfect one a bit of a minefield.
Some cake makers will have a selection of cake stands that they hire out, so it’s always worth asking. I don’t hire out cake stands myself. This is because I deliver my wedding cakes so far and wide that it can be an issue getting them back.

Classic glass cake stand
A classic and simple glass cake stand.

It is also always worth asking your venue if they have any cake stands. Quite often hotels and dedicated wedding venues will have a cake stand you can arrange to use.
If you are having a wedding stylist then they might have a cake stand available that will match up with the rest of the décor.

A cake stand that's also a table
Cake stands don’t need to be ‘cake stands’ This is a trolley!

But why not buy your own? They can become a keepsake of the day, and something to keep and use. One of my couples had a glass cake stand and had it engraved with their names and wedding date. Something like that will become a family heirloom. And wooden log slice stands can be burned with the same thing. And why not put one on your wedding gift list?

Before you buy a stand there are a few things you should do

1/ Ask your cake maker what size the bottom cake board will be. Whatever stand you buy will need to be big enough to fit the cake on!
2/ Ask your cake maker roughly what the height of the cake will be. This is because you may not actually need a cake stand. If your cake is going to be tall, then a stand may not be necessary. You don’t want it to stand so tall that it makes cutting it difficult. Nor do you want to make it unstable, and height = instability.
3/ check out the cake table, or space, at the venue where the cake is going to be going. You want to make sure that it is going to be big enough. Often I find that my couples want to have other things on the cake table.

Wedding cake without a cake stand
When a cake has height, it doesn’t need a stand.

Choosing a cake stand

Cake stands come in a huge range of shapes, sizes and materials. And, like everything else, you can get lost down that internet rabbit hole looking for what you want.
Now not all cake stands are created equal, and it’s a case of you get what you pay for. I would recommend going to a supplier you trust, a major department store or cookware shop for example (I won’t name any names, but you know the places you trust and like to shop with.) It’s good to be able to see the stand if possible.

If you’re looking online then be sure to check the measurements. Like I said before, you need to make sure the cake will fit. Also see if there is a weight limit given. This may seem strange, but a fully decorated and stacked wedding cake can be really heavy! I have found that metal cake stands with a foot, for example, are not very sturdy, and inclined to warp and buckle unless they are very good quality.

Glass and ceramic are really your best bet if you want the classic stand with a foot/stem and a plate on top.

Simple ceramic cake stand
A simple ceramic cake stand always looks elegant.

If you want metal then the solid, low and wide ones are the best to go for. These style of cake stands are the ones that hotels and venues often have.

Classic silver cake stand
The classic and vintage style silver cake stand.

Something else I would say about cake stands is to avoid the ones with a lip or rim around the edge. This makes it hard to get the cake onto the stand. And even harder for whoever is then going to have to take it off again. It’s very easy to get your fingers trapped!! These kinds of stands are better for small cakes and pastries to be displayed on.

And if you are having a log slice cake stand then please buy a properly cut one. One wedding I delivered to the log slice was literally just that. The groom had gone to the woods with a chainsaw! It was so unlevel that I had to pack a load of folded kitchen paper under the cake to try to stop it toppling!

Log slice cake stand
I love log slice stands, as long as they’re level.

Cake tables

Almost always the cake is displayed on a separate table in pride of place, which is as it should be!
But is it that simple?
Sadly I often turn up to find a small table with a basic white cloth, and that’s it. Now I get that you want the cake to be the star, I want that too, and you don’t want too much distracting from it. But you also want the cake table to tie in with the rest of the wedding décor. So why not ask your wedding stylist to dress the cake table too?
A few times there have been other things on the cake table besides the cake stand. Usually photos of either the happy couple, or family photos. One couple had the wedding photos of their parents and grandparents, which was such a beautiful touch. But if you want to do this, then you need to make sure the cake table will be large enough. So let your venue know your plans and ask them to provide you with the right size.

traditional cake cutting
This lovely couple had family photos on their cake table.
burgundy and gold wedding cake
Or you can have the bouquet to display beside the cake.

NOTE: Make sure the cake table is level and doesn’t wobble!! You’d think that was obvious, wouldn’t you? But I have turned up to a few cake deliveries to find a wonky or wobbly table. Once it was so bad that I had to ask for it to be replaced because the top was loose!!

Top tips

1/ Before buying a cake stand, ask your cake maker, venue or stylist if they have ones you can hire.
2/ Before buying your stand, ask your cake maker for the base measurements of the cake. You need to make sure the cake stand is at least the same diameter as the cake base, if not a little bigger.
3/ Do you even need a cake stand? If your cake is going to be tall, then you may not need a stand. And remember, adding height adds instability.
4/ Think about decorating the cake table to match with the rest of the wedding décor. And also adding some special, personal touches.
5/ Make sure the cake table is level and wobble free!! Ask your wedding planner or co-ordinator to check this for you on the morning.

To find out more, you can get in touch HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes- Does Wedding Cake Size Matter?

Does size matter?

Now stop giggling at the back! I’m talking about your wedding cake size!.
In my last post I talked about the things that seem to stress couples out when it comes to the cake. Making sure you order the right size of cake seems to be one of the biggest worries. Understandably so, I mean you don’t want to seem mean, but don’t want wasted cake either. And the chances are you’ve not ordered a wedding cake before to know about serving sizes and cutting guides.
This isn’t anything to worry about though. Your cake maker knows the drill, and we know how to work out what is the best size cake for the size of wedding. Really all you need to do is give us the number of guests you want the cake to serve.

sizing chart
The sizing chart I work from

Which brings me to another issue.

When to serve the wedding cake?

Traditionally the cake was cut and served after the speeches, at the end of the main wedding breakfast. If there was any left, then it would be offered to evening guests as part of the buffet.
These days though many couples want to wait to cut the cake in the evening. Personally I like this idea, as it is a big part of the day, and something the evening guests would usually miss out on. Cutting the cake in the evening includes all your guests in that special moment. However, cutting and serving in the evening will mean you need a bigger cake for the extra numbers. And what if you want to serve the cake as dessert? AHHHHH!
Okay let’s breathe. It’s only cake (did I really just say that??).
One option to solve the issue of the evening guests missing out on seeing the cake is to do the cake cutting photos after the speeches, but don’t have the cake taken away and cut. Instead leave it until all the evening guests have arrived and seen it. Then give the venue the nod to take it off and cut and serve. You could even do the cake cutting again for the evening guests, why not?
Basically what I’m saying is to forget the traditions surrounding when you should cut and serve the wedding cake. Do it as and when it feels right for you.

cutting the cake with a sward!
You can use a knife!
traditional cake cutting
See, you don’t have to use a sward.
the cake cutting is a special moment
I will always love this cake cutting pic!

Myth Busting.

Now I think we should quickly bust the myth that serving the wedding cake as the dessert will lower costs. Realistically this often isn’t the case. When we work out the size of cake you will need for you 100 guests (number just to illustrate) we will be basing that on the industry standard of a 2x1in portion. In other words a finger size portion you might serve with the after dinner coffee, or as part of a buffet. If you want to serve as dessert you’re going to want much larger portions, maybe even twice that size, but at least 2x2in. And you will also need enough cake for every guest, rather than the usual rule of thumb that 10% won’t eat any. This is going to mean a much larger cake to accommodate the larger portions, and numbers, and make sure there’s enough. Obviously this also means the cost of the cake is going to rise quite considerably. Plus the venue, or caterer, might charge you for serving someone else’s food, as they will be using their cutlery and crockery to serve the cake, and then wash all that up after, plus the service time. Add all that up and it’s not necessarily going to save you any money. But it will mean that all the cake will get eaten, and you won’t have to worry about wastage.

cake cutting guide
Cake cutting guide

Back to size, as this is what this post is mainly about.

When I talk to couples at wedding shows they often think they can’t book the cake because they aren’t sure yet exactly how big it needs to be. This is another myth. And it can often mean you missing out on getting your preferred cake maker because you’ve waited until all the RSVPs have come back before getting in touch. A rough idea on size is all we need at the very start. And if you’ve booked your venue then you already know the kind of size your wedding will be. That’s enough for me to give you a starting quote to base the booking fee on (I work on a 25% booking fee) Then we can up or down scale the cake size later if you find you need to. A good rule of thumb is to take the number of guests on your list and reduce it by 10% when booking the cake, as mentioned before. Although it will need to be for 100% of your guests if serving for dessert.

The Showstopper.

But size isn’t just about the numbers, it’s also about the look. And adding the WOW factor.
The cake is, without doubt, one of the stars, a showstopper. And often the most photographed thing after the couple, and the dress. So you may want something big and impressive, even if it’s only going to be a small wedding. How to do this without having lots of wasted cake? Firstly will it be wasted? The tradition of keeping a tier of the wedding cake for a christening is starting to come back. Or maybe for your first wedding anniversary? You can do this with fruit cake of course, but also with sponge. Sponge cake freezes really well, you’ll just need to give the fondant (if using) time to dry out as it will go sticky as it thaws. You cake maker will advise you on the best ways to store your leftover cake. Then there is the other tradition of posting cake to people who couldn’t make it to the wedding, something else you may wish to do if you have cake left. If none of these are options, then there are dummy cakes. Dummy cakes are used for display cakes for shows and photo shoots etc, but they can also be used to add height and size to a real cake. Now they are usually polystyrene, however I will happily take them back and reuse them in my display work. I reuse my dummy cakes over and over, I can’t remember the last time I bought any!

This showstopper only had three real tiers of cake.

The opposite can also be an issue.

You have a lot of guests to feed, but want an understated wedding, so don’t want a huge cake. Again there is a solution. Cutting cakes. A cutting cake is a simplified version of the actual wedding cake. Usually a square or A4 size cake in the same flavours and with a covering of the chosen icing, but without all the decoration as they won’t be on show. These are kept in the kitchens and cut up by your venue when they take the wedding cake away to cut, then it’s all served together. No one will know which is wedding cake and which is cutting cake.

Top Tips.

So my top tips for getting the wedding cake size right;
1/ Don’t wait until you have all your RSVPs back before booking your cake. Rough numbers are all we need to get the ball rolling.
2/ Decide if you want to serve the cake as dessert or as part of the buffet/with coffee. This will make a difference to the size of cake you need. Just let your cake maker know.
3/ Don’t worry about leftover cake. Sponge cake freezes well, and fruit cake keeps for months.
4/ You can have a showstopping cake even if you don’t need one. Again just discuss this with your cake maker.
5/ You can have cutting cakes for the venue to serve should you want something simpler and smaller, but have lots of guest to feed. This works especially well for large evening receptions after a smaller wedding.

To get in touch about your wedding cake, click HERE

Luxury Wedding Cakes: 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!

The wedding cake Journey Continues….

Welcome back!!

So you’ve been in touch with your wedding cake designer, andone of the things they have asked you is what size the cake needs to be? Wewill always have to ask this as the size of the cake affects the cost ofingredients and the amount of time and work involved, and therefore the finalcost of the finished cake.

However, panic not, we know that you’re not professionalcake makers, which is why you have contacted us! Therefore we will work out thesize for you. If you pop to the price guide page of the site you’ll see a handysizing guide, which you can use to work out cake servings.

Basically, the sizing chart will give you the size of eachcake in inches, and if it’s round or square. Then there are three portion sizeoptions, 2×2. 2×1 and 1×1 inch. Most wedding cakes will be cut up into 2×1 forsponge and 1×1 for fruit cakes. If you want bigger 2x2in portions to serve asdessert then you’ll need to let your cake designer know, so we can make surethat we make the cake big enough.

The size you decide on will depend on when you are planningto serve the cake. Traditionally the wedding cake would be cut after thespeeches, then served with coffee at the end of the meal. Or handed aroundduring the down time between wedding breakfast and evening reception, so usingthe 2×1 size. But this is changing. Many people use the cake as the dessert ifhaving a formal, sit down meal. This makes sense and you know the cake will beeaten, however check with your venue that they are happy to do this. It won’twork out cheaper to serve the cake as dessert, as you will need a bigger cake.The other option is to cut the cake much later and serve it in the evening. Ifthis is what you plan on doing, then the 2×1 portion will be the right size.Let your venue know how you’re planning to serve the cake, so that they cut itup into the right size. And don’t forget some for you!!

Which brings us to a neat idea we like to call a ‘take tobed cake.’  This is a small cake that isjust for the two of you, which can be sent to your room for you to enjoy afterthings have calmed down. It could be the smallest top tier, or even a separatecake or cupcakes.

Small wedding, big cake desires? Also not a problem. You canmake use of dummy cakes. These are polystyrene fake cakes that we use in theindustry for display work. But they can add extra tiers to a cake when you havea dream of a showstopper, but don’t need that much real cake. Again, it’s notgoing to save you any money to have fake tiers, this is a myth.  A fake tier will take just as much time andskill to decorate as a real cake, and will have to be purchased. But it willgive you that WOW on your big day. The most important thing is to find a cakedesigner you like and trust. Then you can relax and leave everything to them.It’s all part of the service