Meet the suppliers: Wedding cakes
In our series of suppliers’ blogs we’ll be sharing the very best ideas, advice and inspiration from different wedding industry experts. This week we’ve been speaking to some of the UK’s top suppliers of wedding cakes. Read on for their thoughts on the results of our latest wedding survey, as well as how to choose the tastiest wedding cakes and all the latest trends…
Sarah Cooper-Smith at The Purple Pumpkin Cake Company
“I’m a professional cake artist with 26 years’ experience,” says Sarah. “I specialise in wedding cakes and especially sugar flowers. My cakes have been featured in OK Magazine and on the Unconventional Wedding blog and I was also commissioned to make a wedding cake to be featured on the BBC. We’re based in a 5* council-approved kitchen in Ryhall, Rutland, on the outskirts of Stamford, Lincolnshire. I provide a friendly but professional service, guiding you through the booking process and making sure you get the cake of your dreams. My style is classic with a twist and I love to use bright colours and add a touch of the unexpected to give your cake the wow factor!”
When to book
“Most of my customers book within two months of their engagements. My diary fills up very quickly, so couples do book quite far in advance. Some couples book two years in advance.”
A cake to remember
“My most extravagant cake will actually be in August this year. It’s a two-sided cake with different designs on each side that will be displayed on a specially built wooden swing. The style is a mixture of rustic and bling, with a bit of sparkle. It sounds mad but it’s going to look epic! The bride sourced the swing herself and came to me with a very strong idea of what she wants. It’s very exciting and I can't wait to see it all come together.”
Baking to a budget
"I love it when couples share their budget with me, as I know what can be included and what can’t and the design process is much easier. This August I’m making cakes for two fun ladies who gave me their budget and basically said they wanted a festival of cake! They’re so bright and cheery that designing for them was great fun. I’ve also tried to include their characters into the mix. So, alongside the main four-tier wedding cake, they’re having a table full of treats and enticing cakes, from traditional favourites through to fashionable brownies and donuts. Although it sounds extravagant it’s actually budget savvy. For example, they don’t need to offer desserts, as there will be plenty of options. They’ve also created a great focal point that their guests will love and added a massive element of decoration to the wedding, saving in that area too!”
Who spends the most?
"Younger couples do tend to be prepared to spend more. They see things on Instagram and on social media and they want to emulate these styles and designs. An older couple may be a little savvier with their budget, but also appreciate the price of expertise.”
The most popular wedding cakes
“I’d agree with your latest wedding survey that tiered cakes are the most popular. And white is still the most requested colour. Lots of couples ask for themed wedding cakes, which incorporate their hobbies, jobs, etc. A double-sided cake, with a separate theme running up the back of a traditional cake, is a popular choice too. My most asked for flavours are white chocolate and raspberry, toffee fudge, butterscotch, and white chocolate and passion fruit. When it comes to decoration, my specialty is wooden-looking cakes. I get asked for these designs more than anything else, after this ruffling and sugar flowers are the most common choices. I now also get more requests to include a gluten-free tier and a dairy-free tier."
Top tips and trends
"The wooden rustic look is the most common request for me and, as I said, the double-sided cake is still very popular. The naked cake has had its day really and I am not asked for these very often. If you know the cake artist you would like to make your cake, then don’t hesitate. See them as soon as possible and get your name into their diary, designs don’t have to be confirmed straight away. A good cake decorator will be booked up in advance and you don’t want to miss out. Collect lots of ideas, colours and styles, and let your cake artist know your budget. It really helps to have this at the start of the design process.”
Jeyda at Funfetti
“I started baking for family and friends while I was at university,” says Jeyda. “Instead of spending my weekends going out I would be at home baking and practising. When I finished studying I started to take it more seriously, as I realised I had a skill and a passion for it. An opportunity came up to have my own base in 2017, so I decided to open my own cake business, Funfetti. I was based in a children’s centre so I had floods of orders for birthday cakes and the occasional wedding cakes. As my skills and confidence have improved I’ve started to get more and more enquiries for engagement and wedding cakes. Now they’re what I love to make the most.”
Long or short engagements?
“Your latest wedding survey found that more brides prefer a long engagement and having been a bride-to-be myself I know I loved having a long engagement. I was engaged for two years and there's less pressure today to get married straight away. Waiting gives a couple more time to save up for a home and a wedding.”
A five-tier extravaganza
“The most extravagant cake I’ve made was for a close friend. It was a five-tier cake cut in half and filled with flowers, like a flower wall. It was beautiful and I got so many comments about it. As she was a close friend she completely trusted my judgement. We didn’t sit down and have a consultation, she just left it in my hands. She knew I would put my heart and soul into it, like I do with all my cakes!”
A memorable bake
“My most memorable cake was for a client whose Mum had sadly passed away when she was 15 years old. Before her Mum died she baked a coconut cake and froze it. The cake had been in the freezer for over 20 years and she asked that I include it in her wedding cake. I didn’t want to change the cake by adding buttercream or flavours, so I kept it as it was, one tier of coconut sponge. I placed it beside her tiered cake, which had a travel theme and one tier made into a suitcase.”
Tips and trends
“Naked and semi-naked wedding cakes have been super popular. My most commonly asked for flavours are chocolate, red velvet and carrot cake. For the decorations I’m often asked for edible gold or silver leaf, fresh flowers or a personalised cake topper. Hexagon tiers and cakes with cutouts are also popular. My top tip is to consider the weather. Don’t pick a buttercream cake in the summer or a naked cake, as there’s nothing to support them and hold them in place."
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