Saturday, 23 May 2015

Wedding: Designing Your Cake (and eating it too)!

One of the most enjoyable parts of planning my wedding was undoubtedly designing our cake! There are three kinds of people in this world - those who don’t really get excited about cake, those who don’t even like cake (and may instead choose a ‘wedding cake’ made up of different types of cheese or pork pies *gasp*), or those (like me) who get giddy at the mere mention of cake, butter cream, frosting.. mmm!
As most of our wedding was pretty classic the cake was something that I wanted to get really creative with and make a unique feature. My idea was that cutting the cake would symbolise the end of the formal/ traditional part of the day and the beginning of the party! With all the speeches done everyone could relax and really have fun!! 
I consulted with a number of different cake designers to hear their ideas, taste the cakes (of course!) and get quotes for what I had envisaged. I think it is really important if you want an individual cake (rather than choosing a set cake from a portfolio) to meet with the designers and see their style. I was looking for someone who could create a showstopper, but in a sophisticated way that would be in keeping with the rest of our wedding. As well as making the cake itself I also wanted someone to design and put together a whole sweet table with cupcakes, cookies and other treats to make it a feature of the evening. 
The designers I met with were all fantastic in their own ways. There are so many amazing wedding bakeries in London that I thought it would be helpful to put together a mini-guide based on my experience:

Peggy Porschen – world famous, golden standard of wedding cakes! Stunning, classic cake designs, but definitely on the high end of the budget. Lots of designs to choose from, but customisation is expensive. Their sugar flowers are the best I have ever seen! 

Cakes by Krishanthi – lovely range of designs with lots of creative techniques used. Mid range and flexible with pricing, especially for cakes with less detail. 

Rosalind Miller – beautiful, unique designs to fit different themes. Mid to high end pricing depending on the level of customisation.

Little Venice Cake Company – breathtaking, grand designs, huge variety and experience. If your budget allows they can do anything! They also do great chocolate cakes!

Maisie Fantaisie – absolutely lovely! Cakes are on the more classic side, but all details are beautiful and intricate. Pricing at mid-level and lots of customisation available. 
 
While many of these designers had great ideas when I met Ceri of Olofson Design I immediately knew that I wanted her to make the cake for our wedding! Apart from being incredibly lovely Ceri is so creative, talented, hardworking and an absolute perfectionist. She understood exactly what I was asking for and described it to me a thousand times better than I could have ever put it myself. She designs every cake bespoke by working closely with the bride and groom to create something individual and completely unique. I remember when we first met she said she would feel bad ever copying a cake (or creating a catalogue of designs for brides to pick from in the way many other brands do) as it would feel like giving away a part of that couple. We had so much fun during the design process and Ceri was such a pleasure to work with as she is so genuinely passionate about cakes. Rather than giving me a precise quote she asked what my budget was and what I wanted and designed the cake and all the little extras to fit within it, which was a huge relief. After I had shown Ceri a heap of photos that had inspired me with accents of Rococo, Marie Antoinette, Faberge, English rose gardens and colour schemes she put together a special pinterest board with her ideas for the cake. 

I was so excited to see that many common themes were emerging and Ceri had used the multitude of images I had collected in such a clever way. She had even picked out details from our venue that would be mirrored in the cake such as the filigree from one of the rooms in Syon House (above). We added to this with a monogram that I had designed for use in our stationary and photobooth picture motifs. The last piece of the puzzle was to use a Faberge egg on a nest of fresh flowers instead of a traditional cake topper. She even made the egg as a mini replica of the Faberge eggs we gave to our guests as favours! Adorable!
Before seeing the first design of the cake I was so nervous as I had such high hopes, but the second Ceri gave me her beautiful watercolour drawing I was absolutely astounded at how well everything had come together and how she had incorporated so many aspects of our wedding into such a beautiful design. 
While Ceri is very much design orientated I can't forget to mention that she is an incredible baker and her flavour combinations are phenomenal. We had such a hard time choosing from all the delectable options on offer, but finally decided on:

- Madagascan vanilla cake with berry preserve and vanilla buttercream
- Vanilla chocolate marble with caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache
- Rose with raspberry buttercream and lemon curd
- Traditional fruit cake

We also had red velvet and white chocolate and raspberry cupcakes.

For the Anges de Sucre macarons we chose: Pistache Vera, Damask Rose, Raspberry Ripple, Cheeky Cazzamella and Fruit of the Orchid.
It took us almost a year to put everything together, but we had so much fun doing it! From my constant surfing on ebay for the perfect candy jars, bespoke sweetie bags and cupcake stands to the delicate Anges de Sucre macarons and gold dipped apples, which we had made as a compliment to the cake. Seeing the cake and full dessert table on the wedding day was definitely one of the highlights for me and undoubtedly worth all the effort.
Despite being 5 tiers high I can honestly say our guests loved how amazing the cake tasted (as well as how it looked). In fact, it had all disappeared in half an hour so I sadly only got to try one piece. After cutting the cake I went to get changed and twenty minutes later the cake (and the cupcakes etc.) was all but gone! I am so glad we saved the top tier and am very much looking forward to enjoying it on our anniversary in just over a month!!

If you are looking to have a showstopper of a cake at your wedding, or are simply bored of traditional cakes and want something quirky and unique I really recommend that you check out Ceri’s website. She is honestly the loveliest person and so immensely talented. She is always enthusiastic and happy to give her advice. Even when I couldn’t decide on the napkins (and emailed her far too much) she never once lost patience and always replied quickly with her expert opinion.

Ceri’s designs range from the super girly (like our cake) to really innovative art deco and gritty urban designs. She has so many techniques and styles at her disposal that I really do dare you to imagine something she can’t create!

 
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