Expert advice about cakes

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Herts and Beds Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourhertsbeds.wedding

 

A slice of the action

A slice of the action

Q. I'm looking for a cake for the big day, but I'm struggling with what flavours will suit our glamorousthemed day. Is there anything you would suggest?

A. Claire Festa says: There are so many flavours that you could choose for your wedding cake, provided of course you have a stable cake as the base. Some couples like to have their favourite flavours while some prefer to take the wedding breakfast dessert and their wedding guests' tastes into consideration. However, if you just want to amaze your guests with something unusual and delicious, why not think about a theme – say cocktails and have a champagne and raspberry cake using a vanilla bake with a champagne syrup flavoured with framboise and with a fresh raspberry compote. Or, why not opt for an expresso martini cake with a rich chocolate and coffee cake with Kahlua drizzle and a chocolate mousse like buttercream? Alternatively, simply jazz up a zingy lemon cake with a limoncello curd and Swiss meringue buttercream. You could choose your favourite desserts – key lime pie, chocolate cherry trifle, strawberry pavlova or banoffee pie!

Claire Festa , At Your Wish Cakes
www.atyourwishcakes.co.uk

 

Magical bake

Magical bake

Q. I can't wait for my festive-styled big day. Do you have any tips on creating the perfect seasonal design for our cake?

A. Susan Halil says: Susan says: If your day is a winter wonderland then you might consider a centrepiece with lots of white and sparkle effects. If you're leaning towards traditional jewelled tones with berry colours and winter greens, your bake can be dressed in similar shades. Naked cakes work especially well at this time of year when dressed with seasonal flowers, fresh fruit and a dusting of icing sugar. For a modern twist, you could even think about introducing decorations incorporating antlers – a very popular and stylish trend.

Be careful with a festive design. There can be a fine line between what looks like a super-stylish festive wedding cake and an over-sized Christmas cake! Talk to your cake maker and be guided when it comes to the design details in order to create a magical showstopper.

Susan Halil
www.cakesofgoodtaste.co.uk

 

Big bake

Big bake

Q. We have a huge guest list and I'm worried that to have a cake large enough it'll be way over our budget. What can we do?

A. Claire Festa says: You don't have to keep adding tiers to feed big wedding parties. A lot of brides really want their dream centrepiece to wow their guests but the cost of a multi-tiered decorated cake can be way over budget. You could opt for a cutting cake and dummy tiers. It takes a lot of time and care to create stacked tiers that look sharp and professional and the smaller tiers don't provide a great deal of cake for guests so the same size cutting cakes in different flavours can be the answer.

Claire Festa
www.atyourwishcakes.co.uk

 

Sweet treat

Sweet treat

Q. Chocolate cake's my favourite but I'm worried that it'll be too rich for a sunny day. How can I incorporate it into our bake whilst keeping it light?

A. Susan Halil says: Instead of a full-on rich chocolate cake maybe consider a lighter variation such as cookies and cream? This can be lovely made with vanilla sponge and a cookies and cream buttercream. Alternatively, you could switch to white chocolate. Matched with raspberry jam and pistachio this makes a decadent variation of the classic Victoria sponge.

If you're worried about the chocolate melting then speak to your cake maker about ganache. Made with tempered chocolate and cream, it can be used to encase the cake with a firm layer of chocolate underneath sugar icing that really helps in humid conditions. No cakes should be left for long periods in hot conditions. Be sure to discuss this with your pro who'll advise when the showstopper should be delivered and where it can be displayed to keep it in optimum condition.

Susan Halil
www.cakesofgoodtaste.co.uk

 

Naked back

Naked back

Q. We've decided on a naked cake design to complement our rustic theme but I'm worried it'll go dry once it's displayed. Help!

A. Susan Halil says: Essentially, exposed sponge will start to dry out in a way that cakes covered with sugar paste don't. If you want a cake that has no covering, then the risk of dryness can be mitigated by adding a little syrup to the sponge and ensuring that it's set up as close as possible to serving. A great way to overcome the problem of dryness is to have a semi-naked bake. This comprises a small amount of buttercream that's scraped around the outside to provide some protection for the sponge. It still won't be as well sealed as a sugar paste creation, but it could be the answer if you really love the naked cake style but still want some reasonable display time.

Susan Halil
www.cakesofgoodtaste.co.uk

 

Beautiful bake

Beautiful bake

Q. We're creating a dreamy look for our big-day styling – lots of lace, flowers, twinkly lights and hearts. How can we incorporate this look into our cake design?

A. Sue Creaser says: I just love creating romantic sparkly cakes. I'd recommend using firefly lights on very thin wires that are entwined between sugar flowers to add a gorgeous glow. Edible lace could be used on any of the tiers in the colour of your choice. A soft dreamy lustre applied to the fondant gives a wonderful sheen and makes the lace really stand out. If you'd like hearts they could either be incorporated into your cake topper or put on the fondant as an appliqué. Sugar flowers can be made in any colour and variety to match your theme and ribbons give a soft finishing touch.

Sue Creaser
www.facebook.com/croxleycakes

 

The icing on the cake

The icing on the cake

Q. I can't wait for my festive-styled big day. Do you have any tips on creating the perfect seasonal design for our showstopper?

A. Shannon Killingback says: There are many ways to style your cake around your festive theme. Your cake designer can make it as subtle or extravagant as you wish. From a cake using festive colours like red and gold to a more glam winter wonderland twist. I personally love the look of a simple white textured buttercream creation decorated with berries, pine cones and flowers from your florist. The possibilities really are endless when coming up with festive ideas for a showstopper cake so speak to your pro for ideas.

Shannon Killingback
www.hertfordcakecompany.co.uk

 

Create a showstopper

Create a showstopper

Q. I'd love a showstopper for our reception centrepiece. How can we incorporate our theme into our big-day bake?

A. Shannon Killingback says: The main part of creating the perfect cake (apart from choosing the flavours of course) is to understand your big-day theme. It can be as simple or as flamboyant as you desire. Incorporating a seasonal look can be done in many ways, from floral arrangements to using sugar craft to make that showstopper finish. Your cake supplier will be able to give you different ideas that match your brief, designed around how many portions you need and your budget. They'll aim to come up with something perfect and individual to you and your big day theme.

Shannon Killingback
www.hertfordcakecompany.co.uk

 

Big bake

Big bake

Q. We have a huge guest list and I'm worried that to have a cake large enough it'll be way over our budget. What can we do?

A. Susan Halil says: The first thing to do is work out how much cake you really need, as it might be less than you think. Assuming it's being cut in the evening rather than for your wedding breakfast dessert, I'd advise to cater for two thirds of your guests. It's usually served on platters and not all guests will partake – especially as the evening entertainment will be getting in full swing.

The next thing to consider is how generous you want to be. If you serve oneinch finger sized portions then a standard three-tier cake can serve up to 110.

If you really do need a lot of servings, then consider an additional cutting cake. This is a simple slab covered in the same icing as your display bake but without any decoration. Remember, much of the cost of a wedding cake is in the finishing touches rather than the cake itself.

Susan Halil
www.cakesofgoodtaste.co.uk

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