Gust Blogger: Designing your wedding cake

Today’s Guest blogger is Beth from Cakes by Beth Talking about one of my favourite subjects………….cake! Here she gives us lots of handy tips about Designing your wedding cake, choosing the taste and things to consider.

Designing your wedding cake – Baked to Perfection

I believe that your wedding cake is a really important part of your special day. I know, that’s a given, as I am completely obsessed with all things cake. It does make for a great photo opportunity though (signing the register, cutting the cake and the first dance are key moments for the newly married couple after the ceremony), plus it makes for a fantastic centrepiece at the reception. An excited crowd always gathers around the cake so it’s a key talking point.

So where to start?

The sky is pretty much the limit with what style and type of cake you can choose, so where do you begin? I find that the number of guests attending your wedding is a great starting point because it determines the size of your cake and the effect it creates.
For larger and more formal weddings, a stacked cake can be perfect. You can serve everyone and create a tall and stunning centrepiece that will stand out amongst the crowd. For an interesting twist, why not have double height cakes on some of the tiers? This adds interest to the cake’s profile and means you can really show off hand painted details and beautiful piping. Round cakes are softer and more feminine, square cakes are more structural and angular, plus serve slightly more people. Either shape can be stunning but one may fit in with your theme more. For instance, lots of soft pinks and scattered petals would really suit a round cake, whereas a black and white theme would look fantastic on a square cake.
This may all just be too much cake for you to know what to do with, especially if you are opting for sponge, which doesn’t store as well as fruit cake. Smaller and more informal gatherings really suit towers of cupcakes and mini cakes. Plus, if you’re really watching the pennies and are unsure about stretching your budget to a cake, these little treats can double up as the dessert at your wedding breakfast. The cakes can either be formally served to guests or they can help themselves from the display for a more laid back approach. I recently created a cupcake tower for a marriage vow renewal ceremony and the “help yourself” option went perfectly with the fantastic buffet of authentic African cuisine.

Another alternative is for your cupcakes to be individually boxed up and given as edible favour for guests to take home and enjoy later. I find that this works really well as the bride and groom can present each cupcake to the guest as they leave, giving them an opportunity to thank them personally for coming.
How to choose your decoration

Your cake can be a way of expressing yourself and adding a touch of your own personality to your wedding, without veering away from tradition in too big a way… unless you want to, of course. A lot of people are happy to have lots of bright colours and quirky details on their cake but wouldn’t feel comfortable with these on their dress or in the wedding venue. I like to design wedding cakes that aren’t so much “novelty” but unique and personal, incorporating elements of your day. You can take inspiration from all sorts of places, from flowers to wallpaper to jewellery. Elements of your wedding dress or the colour of your bridesmaid dresses, plus flowers from your bouquet can be incorporated into your cake and really tie everything together. Think about the venue, the view, the time of year, the style of your invitations, your shared love of a particular hobby, even how you met your other half. These elements can cover the whole cake, be featured in the cake topper or as small, subtle details within patterns and decorations.
If you love a particular pattern or design but think it might look over the top for your event, why not opt for a single colour cake? This can be all white, all ivory, different tones of soft pastel or something more unusual. The detail will look fantastic but as everything is in the same colour, the overall effect will be one of stunning simplicity. More elements of your wedding colour scheme can then be subtly included if you wish, in the form of a ribbon or an arrangement of flowers on the top.
Sugar and fresh flowers both look fantastic on a wedding cake, either as whole blooms or a romantic scattering of petals.

designing your wedding cake

They can be laid out on the top, scattered down the side, spiralled around the cake or arranged between the tiers, all to stunning effect. I would never mix fresh and sugar together though. If you want fresh flowers on your cake, it’s best to consult your florist first as some flowers are toxic. You want your cake to stay edible and look stunning throughout the reception so it’s best to get expert advice.

Tasting as good as it looks!

Everyone has a flavour of cake that they love and so your own favourite can be a great choice for your wedding cake. If you’re not sure, a lot of cake designers offer tasting sessions so that you can get a feel for how your cake will taste on the day. After all, it is meant for eating so this is as important as, if not more than, how it looks. You can even opt for different tiers in different flavours, although I think this could be a bit messy if you incorporate too many flavours so would recommend that you choose your favourite two.
A simple but ever popular option is a vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream, an absolute classic. I think a really nice touch that is always well received, is to match the jam inside with the decoration outside so that the whole cake works together, such as hot pink flowers and raspberry jam, or purple ribbon and blackcurrant jam. Imagine how pretty the slices look as they are served to your guests! Some people are concerned that if they have a white cake, they may not be able to have chocolate inside, but this combination is absolutely fine. The only thing is, if your cake is covered with chocolate, it is best to have chocolate cake inside. The combination is rich and delicious.

Overall, my advice for choosing your perfect wedding cake would be to think about how you want the mood of your wedding to feel, pick out your favourite elements about your big day or you as a couple and above all, have fun! A lot of aspects of planning a wedding can be very serious and stressful so choosing your cake should be your chance to enjoy yourself and create something beautiful and delicious for your special day.

cakes by Beth – Delicious, hand-crafted cakes for all occasions

‘I have always been a creative person and have been making cakes for family and friends for as long as I can remember. A simple cake was never enough, I always had to put own own stamp on it and add that little bit of extra detail to make it special.
I was getting so many requests for cakes and so many people were asking how they could get hold of one of my creations that I decided I needed to take it to the next level and so I set up my own bespoke cake business, Cakes by Beth. Based on the principle that nobody should suffer in the making of a good cake, the ingredients are locally sourced, seasonal and Fairtrade wherever possible. I pride myself on the fact that all cakes are designed from scratch and hand crafted by me so that the happy couple get the perfect cake for their big day. There’s no better feeling than when you’ve set up the cake in the venue and you know that it will make a beautiful centrepiece that really reflects something about the couple.’

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