Here is a selection of Q&As from Your West Midlands 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Just one slice
Q. We're having a winter wedding and would love to incorporate the time of year into our cake. How can we do this?
A. Laura Nelson says: I adore winter weddings and love using a range of striking yet warm textures to create a showstopping cake.
- Opt for natural textures that you see in winter settings such as pine cones and berries. - Look for bold reds, burgundies and claret.
- Dark winter roses, green foliage and a touch of gold will look striking against a bright white or pale ivory sugar paste.
- Winter flavours to warm up your wedding cake include spiced carrot with white chocolate, chocolate and ginger and dark chocolate with white chocolate peppermint buttercream.
- Complement the cake with unusual themed accessories such as antlers or pheasant feathers.
Laura Nelson,The Nuthouse Bakery
Q. What flavours would you suggest for our Christmas-themed wedding cake?
A. Jackie Diamond says: Christmas is a special time and gives you a wide choice of delicious flavours.
- One of my favourites is a Moroccan orange cake, which is very rich and decadent, filled with a raspberry curd buttercream.
- A Baileys sponge filled with a light chocolate ganache.
- On the more traditional lines, there's the bakewell, a light almond sponge filled with vanilla bean buttercream and a cherry curd.
- Making the most of the season, how about a delicately spiced pumpkin sponge filled with a rich mascarpone cream? - Red velvet is a deep colour and always looks stunning when cut and served to your guests.
- I never like to leave out the one that has stood the test of time, the traditional Victoria sponge. Filled with either raspberry or strawberry conserve and vanilla bean buttercream.
Jackie Diamond,Jackie Diamond Cake Desgin
Fall in love
Q. How can we incorporate our autumnal-themed wedding into our cake?
A. Christina May says: By pairing your wedding with the natural beauty of the season, you'll be able to take advantage of widely available products, which you can incorporate into different aspects of your cakes design and styling.
When creating your overall look, why not add sugar or dried flowers, berries and foliage? When paired with deep, saturated colours like burgundy, golds and plums, your bake will ooze warmth and embrace the seasonal charm.
Plan your flavours around the time of year. This will tie it in nicely with your theme and give you the chance to use the best ingredients available. Rest assured, going down the autumn route doesn't mean you will be limited in terms of flavours. You could choose blueberry and cinnamon, which is warmly spiced and tartly fruity. If fruit isn't your thing, why not go for layers of moist gingerbread sandwiched between a whisky and caramel sauce? This sassy combination is an indulgent alternative that your guests will love.
Christina May,Christina May Cake Design
Ready, set, bake
Q. What are the latest cake trends?
A. Laura Nelson says: We're seeing two popular trends that are almost polar opposites of each other. The first is the use of very natural, floral themes. Typically featuring a light, simple colour pallet, decorated with fresh blooms and filled with buttercream, chocolate ganache.
The second is the use of very dark and rich colours such as black, burgundy and navy blue. These designs are often textured and accented with metallic gold, providing a striking creation that catches your attention.
Of course, the choice of wedding venue and staging of the cake have a massive impact, and should always be considered when choosing a design. For example, a beautiful bold bake would look out of place in a simple, rustic setting.
As for flavours, two options that seem to be popular are sticky toffee, and coconut and lime.
Laura Nelson,The Nuthouse Bakery
Just one slice
Q. We want a cake that will wow our guests. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Jackie Diamond says: Be inspired by colour. Warmer tones are on-trend, and blues are being used in sugar floral arrangements as well as a base colour.
If you're unsure about using colour, then focus on textures and fabrics. Designs inspired by the details on your dress can also provide the wow factor.
The use of clear acrylic tiers will add height and drama to your design. Leave these clear to create a sense of the tier above floating, or fill it with flowers, rose petals or crystals to create an eye-catching effect.
Flavours are becoming more adventurous as is our need for something different. Pink champagne, lime and pistachio are beautiful delicate flavours, these add a lovely pastel shade to a simple sponge, which looks stunning when served.
Although these flavours are becoming more on-trend, I find that a majority of my couples still opt for a traditional vanilla bean or rich chocolate cake. Having the option of more than one flavour saves them from having the difficult decision of choosing just one.
Jackie Diamond,Jackie Diamond Cake Desgin
It's all about the cake
Q. Our summer nuptials have turned in to a winter wedding due to the pandemic, and we feel this has changed our wedding cake design and flavours; what could we opt for that's more fitting to the wintry season?
A. Susan Angel says: Susan says: I know things have changed, and an autumn and winter wedding wasn't your first choice however, it's truly a magical time of year with many possibilities for both design and flavour profiles.
By choosing something new and unexpected with your flavour combinations, you can bring a playfulness to your wedding cake you may not have considered in the traditional wedding season.
If you're looking for a trio of flavours that are unapologetically indulgent, fun, and unexpected look no further than gingerbread and whisky caramel, chocolate orange and cardamon, and deliciously sinful blueberry and cinnamon compote. Your wedding cake should offer a multisensory 'wow', so choosing the unexpected for your guests is a sure way to have them talking about your wedding cake long after the final crumbs have been eaten.
Susan Angel,Christina May Cake Design
More cake please
Q. For our summer wedding, is there anything we need to consider when it comes to our cake design such as the weather effecting certain icing, or lighter flavours that work better at a summer do?
A. Laura Nolan says: Laura says: During the initial consultation process, we always ask our couples the venue/ location of their cake. A key consideration is that during summer, hummidity and temperature can be an issue, especially in outdoor venues that tend to be more popular during that time of the year and may lack air-conditioning. This is important because the wedding cake may have to stay in place for several hours before, during, and after the wedding ceremony, and needs to be durable enough to cope with these higher temperatures and hummidity levels.
An experienced cake maker should be able to provide almost any style of cake that is stable and durable enough to be placed at a venue during summer. We adapt our receipes and use specialised products to cope with summer heat and humidity, for example by changing the composition of buttercream to ensure that it can withstand higher temperatures. This type of knowledge is why dealing with an experienced cake maker is crucial.
Summer wedding cakes should be light and moist in texture and taste, my favourites are strawberry champagne, lemon drop with lemoncello, and rasberry and white chocolate, all of which are fruit infused.
Laura Nolan,The Nuthouse Bakery
Q. Were struggling choosing a cake design for the big day, what 2020 wedding cake trends can we be inspired by?
A. Caroline Bailey says: Caroline says: There are so many exciting colours and designs being asked for by couples this year and a mixture of shaped tiers works beautifully. I always advise couples to consider what would complement their special day and this could even be by starting with their colour scheme.
The trends this year are lots of flowers be it big and bold colours or tiers of flowers, adding extra height and a new dimension to the cake. Another popular request for many of my couples is cascading sugarpaste petals, these are utterly beautiful and can be the classic white or a colour combination to match the wedding theme.
The final element I'd recommend is taking time to consider how you want your cake displayed. Decorating your cake table can take your wedding cake to a whole new level and ensure it is showcased perfectly. Caroline Bailey | Hunkington House Kitchen | hunkingtonhousekitchen.co.uk
Q. What types of cake flavours and designs would you suggest to reflect a winter wedding?
A. Emma Marston says: Winter is the time of year to feel cosy and warm, it conjures up images of traditional log fires and snow days.
We indulge in lovely warm colours which washes away the greyness of outside such as deep reds and oranges with dark green foliage – a perfect contrast against a crisp white wedding cake. Add a little edible sparkle to bring snow to your wedding day as well as swathes of beautiful handcrafted sugar flowers in pure white and crimson cascade down your cake for a magical feel.
Alternatively, white-on-white cakes look so elegant for a winter wedding, or perhaps touches of pale sky blue with spiralling sparkly snowflakes and accents of deep midnight blue and edible silver leaves.
Don't forget about the inside of your cake as it's just as important! In winter we tend to have more luxurious tastes like spiced ginger and orange buttercream or rich chocolate cake with a cherry brandy ganache and cherry preserve. Other flavours include spiced apple and cinnamon cake with caramel that will smell and taste delicious. Traditionalists will love a brandy-soaked rich fruit cake.
All in all, it will make you want winter and your wedding day to never end!
Sweet and tasty
Q. Christmas is my favourite time of year and I would like my wedding cake to look and taste really festive, do you have any tips on how to achieve this?
A. Heather Tilstone says: I love winter weddings! We offer autumn and winter flavours for my wedding cakes, I feel it's a really special time of year for eating foods that remind us of our childhood. Flavours like chocolate orange fudge cake and our delicious sticky toffee pudding cake are popular for this time of year. You absolutely can't beat our cinnamon swirl and pecan praline cake, anyone who walks into our kitchen on a baking day when this one is in the oven can't resist it! The design of the cake is really important; Christmas always lends itself well to reds and rich greens, but with a current trend around gold and metallics, it's the perfect time of year to add a little sparkle. Of course, a traditional white on white, maybe with a little glitter will always look good, especially if it snows. I think Christmas is a great time for a cosy wedding and trends such as dessert tables are a great way to create a feeling of togetherness and warmth. Our mini toasted s'mores or doughnut wall make people have fun, join in and feel festive.
Q. What advice would you give me on choosing my wedding cake?
A. Angela, Isabel & Lisa says: Your wedding cake is an important part of your special day; not only does it add the wow factor to your celebration it can also serve as additional dessert or sweet treat for your evening guests.
When looking for a reputable wedding cake supplier it's important to choose one who is insured and has a high food safety rating. Additionally, most companies will offer a delivery and setup service. Ask your cake supplier if they have worked with your venue previously, which ensures everything goes smoothly on the day.
A good wedding cake supplier will use high quality ingredients, as a delicious tasting cake is as important as the design. They may also offer a cake tasting or consultation so you can meet the designers, taste their cakes and discuss your design in detail.
Angela, Isabel & Lisa
Q. Which style of cake finishing would withstand the heat at our summer wedding?
A. Caroline Bailey says: So a great question especially if this summer is as hot as last year's! Fondant icing (also referred to as sugar paste) is by far the best covering to consider during the summer months and even though it's soft when the cake is first decorated, the fondant icing creates a firm covering before the other decorations are added.
I always ensure that the cake is not displayed in full sunlight as this could potentially affect even fondant-covered cakes and sugar paste decorations. I'd always advise couples to talk to their cake creator about set up times, if they're getting married mid-afternoon it may be possible to arrange a later cake set up which would work better.
If you're unsure always ask your supplier to liaise with your wedding venue regarding the set up arrangements, room layout and where the cake will be displayed; getting answers to these few questions will reduce any cake worries in hotter weather.
Q. We've started looking at wedding cakes but we're totally baffled by some of the terminology involved. Help!
A. Angela, Isabel & Lisa says: We work with couples to create their dream wedding cake. Here's a guide to some of the terminology used by cake designers.
Tiers – These are individual cakes that are stacked on top of each other. Tiers can be different heights, with two, three or more layers of sponge inside.
Buttercream – A smooth, creamy cake filling and covering, sometimes referred to as frosting and most often seen on cupcakes. It can come in a variety of flavours and colours – we get regular compliments on ours.
Fondant – A soft icing that has a sweet flavour, used to cover cakes for a smooth flawless finish. It is also used to create cake decorations.
Ganaché – A rich mixture of chocolate and cream, used to cover a cake before applying fondant to improve the structure and create a smooth finish. Ganache is also used as a decoration on drip cakes.
Sugar flowers – Often used in place of fresh flowers, they are usually hand crafted from a type of fondant that hardens.
Piping – A decoration technique achieved by using a piping bag and metal tip. Patterns, swirls, lettering and other decorations can be piped onto cakes.
Angela, Isabel & Lisa