Cake Design

 

Alice In Wonderland Cake

I’ve wanted to create an Alice in Wonderland cake for so long. Now we are in Lockdown and I can’t bake for other people, I’ve had time to go back to thinking about cake designs just for me. I had so much fun creating this design on a dummy cake. I’m not that great at sketching but I always start with a sketched design so that I know which pieces need to be made. I’m also looking for a balance in the overall design and to ensure that colours go together.

I started with making all the separate pieces to put onto the cake. Alice took a while as I had to start with her legs and leave them a few days to dry before gradually adding the layers of her dress, then the upper body and head. Finally, when everything else was dry, her hair and shoes were added. She is set on a food safe skewer which then sticks into the cake so she’s really secure.

I then covered the dummy tiers, added the background decoration, such as painting the bottom tier and piping dots, hearts and lace to the upper tiers. I then left it all to dry so that I could check I was happy with the colours. Then the fun part began, adding all the pieces to the cake. The design was changed a little from the original sketch as the finished cake came together. This can sometimes happen once the sketch begins to come to life. This cake took many hours to create but it was so much fun!

Cake Decorating is my happy place!

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Top Tips for choosing your Wedding Cake

1. You will need to consider how many guests will want a piece of cake. If you are serving the cake as dessert then you will need a larger portion per person but if it is in addition to dessert, a 2” x 1” portion per person will be adequate. Your cake decorator will then advise you about what size cake you will need. If you want to keep costs down, you can ask for a ‘cutting’ cake in addition to a smaller decorated one which will give more portions without the cost of decoration.
2. Make sure your cake will taste as great as it looks, so sample some cake before you book your wedding cake. Most cake decorators will offer you a consultation with tasting although some may charge a small fee. If you are having a tiered cake you could have different flavours for each tier so you can choose all your favourites. It’s a good idea to think about the wedding menu and you may want to choose complementary flavours particularly if you’re serving your cake as dessert. If you choose sponge cake it will need to be eaten within a few days. A fruit cake will last much longer, so consider when you will be cutting the cake and when your guests will be eating it. Have a look at some flavour ideas here.
3. Consider whether you will need to provide for special dietary requirements. Your cake decorator should be able to prepare cakes for most needs. You can also request any modifications such as less fruit in your fruit cake.
4. Looking for pictures of your dream cake is a great idea to help your wedding cake decorator to get an idea of what styles you like. It will also help if you have pictures or swatches of fabric from wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, floral arrangements, invitations, if you want to incorporate these into the cake design.
5. Discuss your budget with your cake decorator as there may be ways you can achieve your dream cake on a lower budget if needed by simplifying elements of the design.
6. Check with your venue that they can provide a cake table and knife for your wedding cake. Think about how you will need to decorate the table so that your cake looks its best, your wedding cake decorator may help you with this.
7. Wedding cakes should ideally be booked at least 12 – 16 weeks in advance of your wedding. Many cake decorators get very busy, particularly during peak wedding time – April to September, so book as early as possible. Also, some decorations like sugar flowers and models can take many hours to make by hand.
8. Fresh flowers are not necessarily cheaper than hand-made sugar flowers and you would need to consider how long they would last out of water. Also, some flowers are not edible, some even poisonous and could have been sprayed with chemicals and although they are not going to be eaten, you may not want to put them on your cake.

4 Good reasons to choose a bespoke celebration cake…

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Why should you choose a bespoke celebration cake?

A home-made, hand-crafted bespoke cake can seem expensive compared to a commercially mass produced celebration cake. If you can buy a party cake from the local super-market for £10 why would you want to pay more?
A bespoke cake maker may charge more but they will use much nicer ingredients, bake your cake with love and spend many hours decorating your cake. They can make your celebration cake very special by…
1. Using high quality ingredients which will give your cake an amazing taste. You will have a wide choice of delicious flavours and fillings and special diet cakes can be requested.
2. Providing a design service helping you to translate ideas into a special cake that reflects the personality of the person / people the cake is for.
3. Making and decorating a unique cake just for you with love and care.
4. Giving a personal customer service, answering any queries you may have quickly and making sure that you are happy with your cake.
Choosing a quality product may cost a bit more but if your celebration cake matters to you it will always be worth it!

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A week in the life of a cake decorator…

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A cake is never ‘just a cake’ but takes many hours of creation. People often ask me how long a wedding cake takes to make and it’s quite difficult to answer exactly as it involves so many processes. I try to plan cake orders that I know I can fit into my week and sometimes have to say no to an order which I hate doing if it’s somebody I know or have made a cake previously for. So here is a list of what I do each day  which will help my planning and help others understand what goes on in the Sweet Bliss kitchen…
Monday
Clean kitchen – although the kitchen needs to be cleaned and disinfected each day before use, this is a deep clean. It needs to be thorough and includes checking fridge temperatures and sell by dates of any ingredients.
Check upcoming orders and baking schedule. Plan recipes for the week and shop for ingredients.
Admin – answering enquiries, preparing quotes, order forms, receipts and accounts, ordering boards, boxes and ribbon, adding pictures to the website and Facebook, there is always plenty to do and this will go on throughout the week!
Tuesday
Make flowers and models for upcoming cake orders. This can take many hours and can’t be completed in one day. Some flowers and models need to be started a few weeks ahead so that each element can dry before adding the next. I will continue this job through the weekday evenings.
Boards need to be covered for this week’s cakes so they can set hard ready for Friday.
Wednesday
Bake. Depending how many cakes and how many tiers this can take a very long day. It’s not possible to batch bake as every cake will be a different size and flavour meaning that they will need to be prepared and baked individually at different oven temperatures and times. Concentration is required so that there is no mix up with the flavours! The cakes are cooled and wrapped as the crumb needs to set for 24 hours before decorating. All ingredients used have to be recorded with sell by dates and batch numbers.
Thursday
Fill and cover. This is the longest and most difficult day. Some cakes are baked in smaller layers and some cakes are cut to create layers. Each cake layer is brushed with syrup to keep it moist. They are layered up with fillings of buttercream and conserves in between, which all have to be made first. The covering process then starts with a thin covering (a crumb coat) and the cake needs to go in the fridge to set a bit so that the layers don’t slide around. It will then need another coat – this can be either a buttercream or ganache- and sometimes a third coat to create a completely smooth surface.
The cake will be cooled again to set the final coat and then it’s time to cover with roll out fondant. This is the difficult part, smoothing and cutting just perfectly to get a nice finish on the cake.
Friday
Complete decoration. Tiered cakes need to be dowelled, stacked and placed onto their base board and a ribbon added. The cakes are piped in between each tier with royal icing to give a neat edge. The cake will then need the decoration added. This could be lots of piping, ruffles or adding pre-prepared flowers and models. If there is a lot of last minute decoration needed the cakes will have to be baked a day earlier to complete the work in time. Fruit cakes are usually made six weeks ahead to allow time to mature then need to be covered with marzipan and have about three layers of royal icing added before decoration.
Saturday
Delivery. The most stressful day of the week. All the hard work from the week to get the cake as perfect as possible is now culminating with a journey to transfer it to its venue. Phew! It’s also the most exciting day as I can see the cake design coming together with all the other elements at the venue for the first time. Lots of photo’s.
Time for an afternoon off and lunch or a tea and cake somewhere to unwind.
Sunday
A well-deserved lie in (unless attending a Wedding Exhibition!!) Check the diary and make plans for the coming weeks. Try and get a bit of time in for some flowers and models to get ahead or start a fruit cake.

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