Wedding cakes have never looked so good … wedding cake designs have been taken to a whole new level over the last few years and now look too good to eat and taste even better!
Designing wedding cakes is an art. It is a craft that takes many years to cultivate and the humble wedding cake is now a showpiece with a starring role on your wedding day but why do we have wedding cake and what does it stand for?
ORIGIN OF THE WEDDING CAKE
We have the Romans to thank for the tradition of the wedding cake as back in the day, they believed breaking a wheat or barley cake (basically a scone) over the bride’s head would bring the couple luck and make them fertile. The newly-wed couple would then eat a few crumbs to signify their first act as a couple before the guests then eat whatever was left.
The wedding cake as we know it, first appeared in the 1800s when refined sugar become more common. A bright, white icing became the topping of choice to signify the bride’s virginity and a fruit cake to signify the family’s wealth. Its said that after Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert, wedding cakes became more commonplace at receptions across the country. Their cake was a three tiered wedding cake weighing 300 pounds and had decorations including busts of the couple on the top tier and became the ‘traditional’ wedding cake we associate with weddings.
Today, wedding cakes have become a work of art with flavours beyond our wildest imagination. Traditional fruit cakes, which were used to form the structure of the ornate and heavy decoration of tiered cakes have been replaced with delicate flavours, dainty sugar flowers and hand-painted designs instead.
Boutique Bakery has well and truly mastered the art of cake making. Nicola’s background is in art history, and teamed with having previously worked in leading London fine art galleries has allowed Nicola to refine my skills and define the ‘look’ of a Boutique Bakery creation with clean architectural lines and a limited colour palette combined with the softness and fragility of sugar bloom. Trained by some of the cake world’s premier teachers, such as Maggi Austin, Tara Gan, Tracy James and Isabelle Bambridge, a wedding cake from Boutique Bakery really is the icing on top of the cake!
We asked Boutique Bakery to make a cake for the BoHo Bride photo shoot at Thornton Manor, it needed to be rustic but elegent and she delivered. Nicola’s cakes are known for their elegance and refinment with clean lines so we literally had to keep her from wanting to smooth out the rustic edges of the cake but it proves that she can design any style cake that you would like.
Not only did Nicola bring a cake for the shoot, but we made us all a cake to eat throughout the shoot. She told us she had made a ‘little’ Raspberry Bakewell cake, it was huge, it was delicious and it was devoured a lot faster than it should have been 🙂
In between mouthfuls, we had a chat with Nicola about her love of all things cake …
You gave up your job in the ‘big city’ to set up Boutique Bakery, what was the main decision for taking this leap?
There were a few reasons but mainly I was weary of commuting to London on a weekly basis and staying in a hotel – not as glam as it may sound! I also REALLY wanted a dog! So when things started to change at work, I took the opportunity to leave and set up my business doing something I love, working from home – and walking my labrador Brodie!
Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?
I’m a keen (but not very good) gardener and I take real inspiration from the flowers and foliage that grow – I love to pick a bloom from the garden and recreate it in sugar form. A lot of my inspiration for wedding cakes comes from my couples – when they come for a design and tasting consultation, we always chat about their plans for their big day and I design the cake to perfectly fit with these. For example, I have a bride getting married next year who has chosen the most incredible lace gown – she’s sent me images of the lace and we are recreating the design in a stencil to use on the cake. I can’t wait to see the final result!
Are there trends for cake and if so what are the trends for 2021?
Cakes absolutely follow trends – although classic designs never go out of fashion. We’ve seen a lot of interest in different height and shaped tiers over the last year and I think this will continue into 2021. Texture will also continue to be popular, with different techniques and materials, such as wafer paper providing limitless opportunities for designs. Dried flowers, foliage and grasses have been hugely popular this year and I’m certain designs containing these elements will continue to draw crowds in 2021.
What is your favourite flavour and do you have a favourite style of cake design?
Of the flavours I offer, I do love my carrot cake with orange buttercream – the combination of the rich spices, the zesty citrus and the chunks of walnuts is just so moreish. Plus, it’s got carrots in it, so it’s totally healthy, right?! Design-wise, I love clean lines, maybe some extra tall tiers and TONS of cascading sugar flowers and foliage!
Which celebrity would you love to bake a wedding cake for?
Ooooh that’s a tough one! I know they’re already married but probably Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds – she’s super stylish and elegant – and can you imagine how much fun it would be doing the consultation with Ryan Reynolds?! Plus, he’s just bought Wrexham FC, so could easily detour to Chester to talk cake before a match!
What do you love most about your job?
The variety it involves. I love the time I spend talking to couples about their wedding plans and being trusted to play a small part in their big days. Baking has always been my happy place, so working on new flavours or getting cakes ready is the perfect way to spend a day. I also love the creativity required for new designs and the feeling of watching something I’ve planned and designed come into fruition in front of me.
Talk us through the process of what happens when a couple book an appointment with you – how do you decide, colours themes etc
The first decision for couples to make is what flavours they’d like to try – I ask for these in advance of their appointment, so I can have the slices ready and waiting when they arrive. I hold consultations in my home in a room filled with display cakes, so there is plenty of inspiration all around. We chat through all their plans for the day such as the number of guests, themes, colours, flowers, outfits and then we move on to any thoughts they may have had for their cake, plus their budget. I take lots of notes and will draw a very rough sketch of the design we create to check I’m on the right track. Once they’ve left – hopefully full of cake – I draw up the design in a little more detail and email it to them with all the details we discussed in an order form. They can then decide if they’d like to go ahead and book me to make their wedding cake!
Nicola’s designs speak for themselves but once you have tasted the cake, your decision will be made so get in touch with Nicola to book your wedding cake.
Tel: 07881 828128
Photos from the shoot – and have a look at the detail on the cake, all the flowers on the cake may look real but they are all handmade and edible … what a talent!!
Photos: Jaine Briscoe-Price Photography
Dress: Flamingo Boulevard Bridal Studio
Venue Styling: Aubyn Designs
Hair and Make-up: Sisterhood Liverpool & Sisterhood Bridal
Venue: Thornton Manor
Model: Kayleigh Hayes
Cake: Boutique Bakery
Other cake examples from Boutique Bakery’s kitchen: