EXPERT ADVICE

FAQs and expert advice about cakes

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London 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@yourlondon.wedding

Tis The Season

Tis The Season

Q How can we incorporate winter themes into our big-day cake?
A Selina Prescott says: There are lots of ways to incorporate winter into your wedding cake. You can opt for a semi-naked design adorned with red flowers, pinecones, holly, ivy leaves and foliage. Or go for that iconic white winter look with snowflakes for the ultimate bake.

Alternatively, you can have a sugar paste-covered cake using warm colours such as forest greens, rich reds and deep purples complemented with creams and gold for a timeless look. This pictured design uses an ivory sugar paste with a hint of gold, red silk flowers, deep red ribbon and a beautiful hoop to add the wow factor!

Regarding flavours, chocolate is a favourite paired with chocolate buttercream and strawberry/cherry jam. How about adding nutmeg, cinnamon mixed spice and clove to give guests that warm wintery feel? The traditional fruit cake is always a go-to for winter weddings, with a bit of rum to give your guests Christmas vibes!

Selina Prescott, Sweet Sils Cakes

A slice of shunshine

A slice of shunshine

Q We'd love a colourful showstopper for our big-day bake. What designs and flavours are great for a spring wedding?
A Maxine Den says: There are so many ways to bring the season into your cake design. If you're going for fresh florals, stay local and climate-friendly if you can. Freesias, for example, are non-toxic spring bloomers that come in several colours including pink, lilac and yellow, plus they smell amazing. Pressed edible flowers are another strikingly beautiful, seasonal, and safe choice. For spring months, daisies, and sweet violets (from reputable sources, of course) are both pretty, edible florals with delicate flavours that shouldn't interfere with the taste of your cake. Sprinkles of colour from dried cornflour petals or pansies can also be used to tie together the elements on a dessert table with elegance.

I love to use non-edible dried coloured florals and foliage such as palm spears, and couple them with decorative dyed wafer paper sails and shards. They're all vibrant and striking, and it allows me to customise the colours to fit precisely with my clients' chosen colour scheme at any time of the year. Hand-painted decorations such as white chocolate shards or multicoloured chocolate 'paint' splatter are another colourful signature Den Bake Shop style.

Flavour-wise, I like a little classic citrus, some medium spice options and some sunshine inspiring ingredients in the spring. From my menu, I'd go for tiers of carrot and ginger and lemon poppyseed, with cake canapés in pistachio almond mango and chocolate salted caramel.

Maxine Den, Den Bake Shop

Cake

Cake

Q We're absolute foodies so we want our cake to be a showstopper but wondered if there's any way that we can cut down on the cost?
A Maxine Monu says: There absolutely is and you don't need to sacrifice on design. If you're after wow factor, consider having a smaller centrepiece and going all out on style, perhaps with some sleek metal or transparent separators to give you more glam, tiers and height without adding more actual cake. For bigger weddings, you could include nondisplay, undecorated sheet cakes behind the scenes that can be cut and served to guests. Nondisplay sheet cakes can help you bring down the price, as there's a bit less time and skill involved in decorating them.

You could also consider having a treat table instead of a dessert course after your main meal. You could opt for a selection of mini cakes, doughnuts, macarons and goodies to suit all dietary requirements, all designed along a similar theme and displayed in a fabulous way to create that amazing focal point in your venue.

All quality cake suppliers will have a good sense of what we can provide for a specific budget, so my biggest piece of advice is to be upfront when you speak to them. Let them know at your first appointment how much you have to spend, and they'll advise on the best realistic options for you.

Maxine Monu, Den Bake Shop

Sweet treats and showstoppers

Sweet treats and showstoppers

Q We can't agree on a flavour or look for our cake. What ideas can you share for a winter-themed design and how can we please everyone on flavour?
A Maxine Den says: If you've come up with your shortlist of flavours and just can't decide, don't! You can have a different flavour in each tier of your cake; that could mean several if you're going for a multi-tiered showstopper. Another neat sidestep is a dessert table, laden with various sweet treats such as meringues, brownies, cookies and bitesize cakes. It also caters to both your guests' dietary requirements and tastebuds, allowing for plantbased products and items made without gluten or nuts, or anything else you might wish to cover.

On design, if you fancy a tropical themed wedding on the chilliest of Britain's dark winter days, I say go for it...it's your day, after all! But if you'd rather reflect the season outside, there are plenty of ways to achieve that too. On style, cake designers love to hear about the overall theme of your day – colours, materials, florals and foliage, and then we can let our creativity flow. Maybe you'd like deep and brilliant blues with a cascade of hand-painted chocolate shards, neutral shades with a pop of festive floral colour, or textured pastel buttercream with metallic highlights. The only limit is your imagination.

Maxine Den, Den Bake Shop

Cake

Cake

Q How to inject seasonal brights into every element of your wedding…
A Davina Bye says: If you choose a neutral palette for your décor, then your cake can be the place to add a burst of colour. The most traditional way is to incorporate some fresh flowers from your bouquet, but this won't make the biggest impact if your flowers are neutral. Instead, smother your cake in edible flowers for a wild multi-coloured vibe. You can also bring the colours of your flowers on to your cake's surface. People are scared of going for a non-white toned cake but don't need to be.

Add texture in different shades with edible embellishments. A cascading waterfall of bright rice paper features, chocolate details, fruits, macrons, meringues, piped details all look amazing.

If you match the tiers to one colour you can get away with more details like extra piping, textural features, flowers and other adornments. Different coloured tiers can be statement enough and need less adding to the finished showstopper.

It's a fine line between fun and too much. Choose a designer who has a good eye for colours and uses them confidently, then give them some starting points and trust their instinct! You're hiring them for their skills, and most will provide mock up drawings before the design is set in stone, so you can tone it down if you need to.

Davina Bye, ACHE for cake

Decadent bake

Decadent bake

Q We want the perfect winter cake. What flavours would you suggest, and do you have any design tips?
A Elizabeth Solaru says: Seasonal wedding cakes are a perfect way to incorporate winter style and flavours. While Christmas-themed weddings may seem an obvious choice, winter weddings are an opportunity to feature bold jewel tones such as emerald, plum, deep reds and navy blue and adorned with berries, seasonal flowers or painted in gold, warmer rose gold or cool silver.

For brides who love a bit of bling, cake designs with beading or crystals also make a statement, with crystal cake stands bringing a decadent and impactful look.

When it comes to flavours, an all-time favourite like chocolate, can be paired with one of the following buttercream and/or jam seasonal fillings: peppermint, praline, blood orange, or pomegranate. You could also incorporate warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or cardamom into your cake batter or fillings to surprise and delight your guests. Red velvet is another winter flavour favourite both for its colour and the hint of cocoa powder. The ultimate winter flavour must be fruit cake but not how your grandma used to make it. The modern take incorporates healthy and immune-boosting acai berries, dried cranberries, goji berries and golden berries in addition to the traditional fruit commonly used.

Elizabeth Solaru, Elizabeth's Cake Emporium

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