Planning a big event like a wedding involves so much research - choosing the venue, the theme, the dress and most important of all - your cake supplier! The cake needs to be a showstopping masterpiece, fit in with your theme and venue, AND be the perfect happy ending to your event. This blog takes you through my journey as a London wedding vendor and hopefully guide you through the process of ordering your dream wedding cake.
As somebody who has never been married, or helped plan a wedding, I was so daunted by the thought of taking on a wedding cake order. I had seen so many online that I loved but had absolutely no idea where to start! My home kitchen is tiny, so the logistics of making a tiered cake were difficult, and I didn't have a car so would need to book a taxi to deliver it. My first wedding client was a friend of a friend, and even though it was a super simple design with lovely flavours, the consultation and order process was definitely a learning curve for me! Here it is in situ at my dream wedding venue Asylum Chapel in Peckham:
My next few Wedding Cake orders were similar simple tiered cakes,including a dessert table, and all with vegan options. I love knowing that every guest is able to enjoy a piece of cake! Some couples required lengthy consultations and tasting sessions, and others involved one or two short emails - every couple and every event is completely different, the uniqueness of every cake is what keeps me motivated. Deliveries got easier too, as I had bought a car, and then upgraded to a bigger and better car as my orders increased - all part and parcel of growing my business.
The following year I moved into my new premises on Ewhurst Road in Brockley, and built myself a good reputation with my new neighbours and word-of-mouth spread about my delicious cakes. I open every Saturday to sell cakes by the slice, which helped me practice and hone my skills. I learnt that I love working with colour - rainbow and ombre cakes bring me so much joy! These cakes were the beginning of my journey into my signature ombre wedding cakes, and I'm still so grateful to the couples who ordered them from me for having so much confidence in me. Both cakes had handmade toppers made for them by a friend - such a great way to involve friends and relatives in your wedding.
Developing my style has been an important part in the growth of my business and involves a lot more than meets the eye. I enjoy tailoring the flavours of the cakes to each couple's tastes and personalities - favourite cocktails and drinks are always a popular way to include a unique flavour in your wedding cake. Some of the most popular have been caramelised peaches with Mount Gay Rum, raspberry mojito, and vegan cherry bakewell. I love being part of so many memorable days and there's no better way for me to do this than to surprise your guests that there's not just a vanilla cake under the buttercream!
My consultation process has changed significantly over the years, and is down to my experience and knowledge in my field. I like to give the choice of either having a cake similar to a past cake or to have a design consultation and create a new and unique design. The consultation sessions last up to one hour and help make sure that our ideas are in-sync- trust me, this isn't always the case and the design session really helps! As well as discussing possible flavours, I show examples of as many of my past cakes as possible, as well as throwing in some inspiration from other bakeries and even wallpaper prints we could use as a mood-board. I will then spend upto 4 more hours researching, sketching and sourcing the required ingredients & decorations. If there is a new skill I need to learn, I will spend time studying and practicing ahead of the big day.
When I first started baking professionally, I had no idea of the labour involved in baking a masterpiece wedding cake. It's just baking a few cakes and sticking them together, right? WRONG! Each tier has to be perfectly level, I use a spirit level on each cake to make sure they're perfect. If they are being delivered in one piece, I need to have a very big central dowel through the whole cake. Each cake is then carried up a step-ladder and carefully and slowly dropped onto each other. If the cake is being delivered in separate layers then I have to dowel and secure each tier separately before delivery. This process can easily add two hours to the decoration time, but is definitely one of the most important parts as if I make any mistakes the whole cake could topple over either in transport or during the wedding celebration.
I have a newer car for deliveries now, and in summer time (when most people get married!) I prepare by having the air conditioning on for 20 minutes before the cake is placed in the car. The average wedding cake involves over 20 hours work, 1-2 hours of which is usually done on-site, so I always need to take a decorating kit, a little trolley to transport between the car and the venue, and a celebratory snack for the journey home as I'm often too nervous and busy to eat before the cake is delivered!
I hope this gives you a little insight into the process of my wedding cakes, and inspires you to order something unique to celebrate on your big day. Cat Food x