You can have your cake and eat it!
One of those classic wedding moments is the cutting of the cake and for those dessert lovers like me, this is probably an important factor when planning a wedding. So, I’ve had a chat with Kim from Cakes by Kimberley to discuss all of the questions that you need answering when thinking about ordering a cake.
How far in advance do you normally receive your cake orders?
Kim: Couples usually book 1 year in advance, some are really organised and book 18 months ahead and there are a few who’ll leave 6 months or less, which is fine as long as the date is available, but it’s a bit risky leaving it that late.
As with most elements of planning a wedding, it seems as though there will always be some couples that leave everything to the last minute! Personally, I know that this would never be me, as I am a planner in every part of my life. However, it’s easy to see how busy people can get caught up in their jobs and families and end up leaving wedding planning to the last minute. While the cake may not be high on the priority list, in comparison to a venue or a dress, it seems like this is one of the easier things to book in.
Do you do cake tastings for every couple, or does the client normally know what they want already?
Kim: Most couples will come for a cake tasting consultation, although I have a few who are happy to book without trying the samples. Most brides know what they want in terms of design, there are so many beautiful designs online it’s easy to find inspiration.
Turning down a cake tasting sounds like madness to me! Who doesn’t want an excuse to sit down and sample lots of cakes? Then again, if you know that you like chocolate cake and are sticking to a pre-wedding diet, maybe giving the cake tasting a pass isn’t the worst idea.
For inspiration in any area, I always turn to Pinterest. I think it’s the best platform to scroll through images of any category and you’ll always end up finding something that you like. You could create a wedding Pinterest board and within this you could add subcategories for cakes, flowers, outfits etc. Or, you could just scroll through photo galleries on your chosen cake designer’s website to see what they’ve previously done and what style you’d prefer.
Do you have a style of cake design that you prefer to make?
Kim: I love making pretty feminine cakes the most, vintage is another style I love. You definitely can’t go wrong with all white and floral.
I agree with this, white and floral screams wedding cake. However, I also love Kim’s other designs that have bright colours and are a bit quirkier. Obviously, this would be dependent on your colour scheme or general wedding theme. Just look at the image to the left, with the gorgeous blue and gold colour combination on one of Kim’s cake. These are my favourite colours to combine and would be so lovely for a winter wedding.
What kind of preparation work is put into each cake?
Kim: I usually draw out a rough sketch of the design to help the couple visualise what they want, this is really helpful to check placement of any flowers and other decoration to make sure the whole design flows beautifully.
I love Kim’s use of flowers on wedding cakes, especially for spring or summer weddings. Not only does it add a new dimension to the cake tiers, but it can be another excuse for a burst of colour. Flowers are a huge part of the wedding, for example in the bridal bouquets and as centrepieces, so the idea of matching the flowers on the cake to the rest of the wedding would be so sleek.
Fun fact! It hasn’t always been flowers and icing. The wedding cake tradition starting with Ancient Romans breaking bread over the bride’s head as a sign of fertility. Even in medieval England, it was a plain wheat cake. I’m glad that this has developed into the cakes that we know and love today!
How long would it take for you to make a cake on average?
Kim: This really depends on the design, a semi naked cake with fresh flowers can take on average 6hrs from start to finish where as a 6 tier with ruffles and piping can take approximately 25 hrs plus.
Cake making definitely seems like a skill that has to be honed in on and I’m sure that it would take me much longer than 25 hours to do a 6 tier cake with ruffles! I can only imagine how satisfying it must be to see a finished product as extravagant as a wedding cake.
How much do wedding cakes cost?
Kim: This is also very dependent on the design; a small 4 tier semi naked cake can cost on average £200 whereas a small 4 tier iced cake with handmade flowers and stencilling would be around £380 plus.
When considering the price, it’s important to consider the time and materials invested by cake designers. It is a piece of artwork that you’re investing into.
If you’re looking to keep the price down, then you could choose a smaller cake. By the end of a wedding, if you’ve invested a lot into a full sit-down meal, not everyone will be up to eating a huge slab of wedding cake! Or go for a naked cake, as Kim suggested. These can actually look nicer, in my opinion, and are much more understated than a full fondant cake. That being said, there is something special about having a bespoke wedding cake made…
What do you think is so special about ordering bespoke wedding cakes, and why do you love doing it so much?
Kim: When ordering a bespoke wedding cake, you’re getting a personalised service specifically catered and designed for you and your wedding. Every detail, from flavours to colours, size, decoration and so on is designed to fit within your requirements and themes. I love it when I get the venue and put all of the pieces together and watch the cake evolve into something truly beautiful.
I completely agree here. Being able to make all the choices makes a wedding unique and personal. It’s one of those luxuries that just ties everything together. Also, the wedding cake will always feature in a picture or two, so better to make it look nice!
To you, what makes a wedding unique and memorable?
Kim: A unique and memorable wedding is one that has been personalised to tell a story about the couple, maybe from where they met to what they love doing together, little details within the theme to show this. Also thinking outside the box would really stand out, one wedding had a cigar and hot chocolate bar for the guests, with hampers in the toilets containing many useful things that guests may have not thought to bring with them.
This is a response that I hear from a lot of people. A personal wedding that means a lot to the couple is hugely sought after. I love the idea of a cigar and hot chocolate bar! Those extra touches make the day memorable for the guests and the happy couple.
Out of any wedding that you’ve attended, what has been your favourite?
Kim: As I mentioned before the hampers in the toilets at one wedding was a lovely idea, this was at Buckland Hall in Crickhowell, South Wales, the theme was vintage and the chairs were covered in beautiful lace each with a brooch on. There was a huge grand staircase in the room where the cake (image to the left) was set up.
A vintage wedding theme happens to be my favourite too! Plus, hampers in the toilets is a really nice touch to show that the guests are being thought about in every part of the wedding.
As part of the something old, something new wedding rhyme, have you heard the last line “and a silver sixpence in your shoes” and what do you think of it?
Kim: I haven’t heard of the last part of the rhyme before, however I think it’s a lovely idea if you’re really into traditions and superstitions. Also having the sixpence as a wedding keepsake is quite special.
As a cake lover, I would definitely consider getting a wedding cake professionally done. However, if you’re lucky enough to have someone in your close family or friendship circle that is talented in cake design, you could even ask them to do it for you as wedding present! This would be highly flattering to them and make the cake have an even greater symbolic meaning.
I’d like to thank Kim for her help with this blog post. She’s an extremely talented cake designer, so be sure to check out her Facebook page: @CakesByKimberleyUK and her website. Not only does she produce stunning wedding cakes, but she also makes fun birthday cakes for children as well as cakes for pretty much any occasion.
With love and wedding wishes,