We interview Sally from Don't Go Baking My Heart Cakes.
Q – Tell us about your background – how did you become a cake maker?
"I've always enjoyed baking ever since I was very young. I remember baking our Christmas cakes every year as a family, all excited to take our turn stirring the mixture and making a wish (I realise traditionally, this should be done with the Christmas pudding, but we like cake)! Occasionally I was allowed to make puddings for Sunday lunch, it would usually be something easy like an apple crumble, but for me, this has always been what baking is about, something I can give to make others happy. As I got older, I started to make family and friends celebration cakes and eventually decided to take it more seriously, so started taking evening classes after work to learn how to decorate. As day-to-day life continued, my cake making dreams lingered in the background and were brought to life now and again for a nieces' or nephews' birthdays. Fast forward several years, one day, whilst on maternity leave with my youngest child, my older daughter was having a little chat with me. She told me how she loved me being home with her more, and that daddy goes to work while mommy cleans the house. Although I don't think there is anything wrong with this if that's what makes you happy. That was the moment everything changed. I was going to stop dreaming and start a business. I want to show my children that it's okay to dream, but if you want your dreams to come true, you have to work hard to make them happen."
Q – What should couples expect when booking your services?
"I want to provide couples with a beautiful bespoke cake that tastes and looks amazing. However, to get to that point, I like to take the time to find out about my couples. I love to make personal cakes and if possible, to include a sentimental element to the design. It's this that ensures my couples cakes are completely bespoke to them, and no one else has had that design. I feel that weddings should be filled with sentimental touches so that your wedding day is the most special day it could possibly be."
Q – What's your favourite wedding that you've worked on and why?
"Seven years ago, I made my biggest cake. It was five tiers high, decorated with my favourite sugar flowers and the flavours I chose for each tier were also my favourite. The reason for this is that the cake was for my own wedding. This cake was not my favourite because it was my most beautiful design. It really wasn't, seven years ago I was still learning, the tiers were short, the edges weren't perfectly sharp as they would be now, and the flowers were basic, to say the least. However, another huge factor of me becoming a cake maker is my nan. She used to make amazing celebration and wedding cakes too. Unfortunately, by the time I became interested in cake making, she was no longer with us, but the fact I have this connection to her is something embrace forever. So, I incorporated this into my wedding cake. When she died, I was given a piece of her jewellery, a small silver bracelet. It's not fancy, or expensive, but it was hers. When it came to designing my cake, I copied the pattern of the bracelet and piped it in royal icing onto two tiers of the cake. I also wore the bracelet on the day, so I could feel like she was part of it all. This is what I mean when I say I like to add sentimental elements to my couples' cakes. Maybe you have a piece of jewellery that's been passed down, or your "something borrowed" has a pretty pattern or colour that could be used to honour the person who gave it to you. These little touches are the things that make your cake so much more than cake. This cake will never be my most beautiful, but it will always be the one closest to my heart."
Q – How long before the wedding should couples book?
"It's never too early, and to avoid disappointment it's a good idea to book any supplier as soon as you know you want them. I've recently taken bookings for 2023, however, anything from six months to a year is ample time."
Q – What's your favourite part of the job?
"My favourite part of the job is also the most important. The couples. Speaking with them is so much fun. I love to hear their stories, how they met, the proposal, their interests. What flavour cake samples were their favourite, a little bit of light-hearted bickering over which flavour should be the biggest tier. I get to really connect with them. Some brides want the lace or sparkle on their dresses incorporated in the cake design, so I'm sent photographs of their dresses before their loved ones see. To be trusted in that way is something I'm so grateful for. There is no bigger honour than to be part of making someone's wedding day perfect, and as a wedding supplier, that's my main focus."
Q – Do you have any top tips for couples looking for a cake maker?
"Always make sure you meet your cake maker, face to face or via video call. I think it's important to make sure you gel well and build up a good relationship. Make sure they fully understand what you want from the design. I always relay our design conversation to my couples and ask if they feel like I fully understand their needs. Also trying the flavours is a must, your cake has to taste as good as it looks. Ask for tasters, and when you get them, look at how they are presented. The little details are really important and booking your cake isn't just about what arrives on the day, the whole service provided needs to make the couple feel taken care of."
To find out more about Don't Go Baking My Heart Cakes, visit www.facebook.com/dontgobakingmyheartcakes