FAQs and expert advice about cakes

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 editor@yourwestmidlands.wedding

 

Seasonal spices

Seasonal spices

Q. We're having a Christmas-themed wedding and would love to incorporate some of the season's flavours into our cake. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Jackie Diamond says: There are many ways you can incorporate seasonal flavours into your cake. Here are some of our ideas:

- Why not indulge in chocolate and spice it up with cinnamon, orange and a hint of cardamom filled with a rich chocolate ganache?

- If you don't like orange, then how about a dark chocolate cake filled with white chocolate and peppermint ganache? Ideal if you're serving your cake as dessert.

- My all-time favourite treat for this time of year is Baileys, so give a traditional vanilla sponge a hit of Baileys and fill it with white chocolate and Bailey's ganache.

- Raspberry red velvet filled with a raspberry liqueur is delectable.

- A spice cake filled with cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and allspice with a white chocolate ganache creates a seasonal feel without the traditional fruitcake.

- Bring back your childhood memories with a light gingerbread sponge filled with a rich chocolate ganache.

- If you're finding it hard to decide, remember you don't have to stick to just one flavour.

Jackie Diamond, Jackie Diamond Cakes
www.facebook.com/jackiediamondcakes

 

Walking in a winter wonderland

Walking in a winter wonderland

Q. My wife-to-be and I would love to incorporate the time of year into our cake. What do you suggest?

A. Samantha Strecker says: Winter wonderland weddings can vary depending on if you're going for a snowy or warm and cosy feel. If you're going for the latter, you might want to introduce a spray of flowers in deep reds, berries and pine cone or pine leaves (artificial for food safety) with accents of gold leaves, rich coloured bases and textures on the cake.

Alternatively, for a snowy look, opt for a snowglobe with personalised figures and create a forest with fairylights for a touch of warmth. This will look amazing with a bark effect wood log as the bottom tier with a flower spray and deer antlers made from chocolate.

Samantha Strecker, Cake Fantastique
www.cakefantastique.com

 

Fall in love

Fall in love

Q. We're having an autumn-themed wedding and would love to incorporate the time of year into our cake. Do you have any ideas?

A. Jackie Diamond says: Autumn provides a wide variety of rich tones from gold and bronze through to burnt orange and rich, vibrant reds. When combined with rustic elements, it creates a warm, welcoming feel for you and your guests.

Surprise your friends and family with delicious seasonal flavours such as spiced chocolate, carrot, chocolate with a hint of ginger ganache buttercream filling or a warm cinnamon coffee and walnut cake.

Use flowers such as garden roses, anemone and calla lilies in a deep plum and combine them with a mixture of red, bronze and gold berries or mini pumpkins and little crab apples.

Cascades of autumn leaves also look stunning with the addition of berries and twigs. These can be natural or coloured in bronze or gold to add interest.

Make the most of texture with wood and bark effects and combine them with smooth tiers painted in a shimmering bronze finished with buttercream.

Display the cake on a log and surround it with a mixture of seasonal pumpkins, leaves, berries and woodland creatures.

Jackie Diamond, Jackie Diamond Cakes
www.facebook.com/jackiediamondcakes

 

Trend setter

Trend setter

Q. What are the latest wedding cake trends?

A. Samantha Strecker says: Incorporating flowers into your cake is very popular at the moment whether it's real, silk or sugar versions. I've also seen a rise in natural, eco-friendly blooms that are dried or pressed. It's important to talk to your cake designer about what flowers will work in your design as they have to be edible and organic with no pesticides used.

Good options would be roses, violas, calendulas, cornflowers, abutilons, fern leaves and rose leaves. If dried, non-pressed versions are used, like palm spears or grasses, these should be covered in florist tape or flower picks.

Certain blooms are seasonal and not available all year round, so check availability well in advance.

Allergies need to be added to an allergen list as some flowers might come from the mustard, celery or onion family, and some guests may have severe pollen allergies.

Samantha Strecker, Cake Fantastique
www.cakefantastique.com

 

Delectable delights

Delectable delights

Q. After postponing our wedding due to the pandemic, we've decided to have a small celebration, and a big cake doesn't seem right. What other options are there?

A. Jackie Diamond says: There are many ways you can still have the cake of your dreams at a smaller wedding. Here are a few of my top tips:

- Right on-trend for the coming wedding season are floating tiers. Achieved using a sidebar that can be decorated with foliage, flowers or crystal beads, it gives the illusion of a floating top tier. Creating a tall, elegant cake without extra portions.

- Alternatively, you could opt for the illusion of a clear tier using an acrylic dummy. This can be left empty or filled with flowers, crystals, baubles or decorated with a stencil feature to tie in with your theme or centrepieces.

- If you would prefer something more traditional, then opt for a dummy tier as your base, decorated as a real cake would be, and no one will ever know that it's not real. You could cover the dummy base with flowers, and/or foliage to match your bouquet.

- Whether you've decided to opt for a singer tier cake or to make a statement by having a double-barrelled design, let the decorations do the talking. Use a mixture of textures and sugar flowers, and display it on a footed cake stand which will look simply stunning.

Jackie Diamond, Jackie Diamond Cakes Designs
www.facebook.com/jackiediamondcakes

 

Just one slice

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
www.nuthousebakery.co.uk

 

Festive spices

Festive spices

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
www.facebook.com/jackiediamondcakes

 

Fall in love

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
www.christinamaycakedesign.co.uk

 

Ready, set, bake

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
www.nuthousebakery.co.uk

 

Just one slice

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
www.facebook.com/jackiediamondcakes