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Wedding Cake Research

Natasha Lovell

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There’s no doubt now that weddings are a year-round thing, and this time of year I’m particularly busy bringing to life cake designs for my Brides & Grooms. Designs that were chosen a year ago and more in some cases.  This has prompted me to put together some hints and tips for when you’re doing your wedding cake research.

You’ve set the date, booked your venue, got the dress of your dreams and now it’s time to start thinking about all the other things that bring the day together and your wedding cake is one of the things on your list. Where do you start?

How do you choose the right person for the job?

A friend or family member might want to take on the task and doing the cake as a present is such a kind gesture, but make sure they can produce a quality centre piece for you and to the standard you require. People under-estimate the pressure of making a wedding cake and it could all get too much for them nearer the time. So alternatively, you can ask a professional cake designer to create something special just for you.

At the very minimum, any cake designer, whether they run their business from home or has a shop, should be registered with the local Environmental Health and will have a rating from the Food Standards Agency. (5 being the best, 1 not so good). They’ll also have a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate and public liability insurance too.

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Where do you start with your research?

Check out websites, social media pages, reviews. If they have a shop, go visit. It’s a great opportunity to have a look at their work for real. Ask friends for recommendations. This is a great way to get first hand feedback. A lot of my clients come from recommendations.  Wedding Fairs are great for finding suppliers. You’ll meet the owner of the business and this will often be the actual person who designs and creates your cake. If you’ve booked your venue, they might have a list of recommended suppliers that they work with. These are all great starting points. Look at the cake makers work and see if their style is what you’re looking for. Find out their price range or starting prices. Once you’ve established if they come within your budget, ask if you can arrange a consultation with them. I think it’s important to meet face to face as you can start to build a good relationship with your cake maker. Often, you’ll be able to taste the cake at the consultation. It must taste good!

How much should I pay?

Have a realistic budget in mind, but remember, cheap cake ain’t good and good cake ain’t cheap! Cake makers dedicate a lot of time to every cake they create. From preparing cake tins, buying ingredients and supplies, making the cakes and fillings, washing and tidying up. Then they can start filling, levelling (no-one wants a wonky cake), ganaching and covering your cake. All this before they even start making the decorations. This is many hours and you’re paying for their time and skill, just like you do your hairdresser, electrician or plumber. A lot of websites will have “from” prices published. Bespoke cakes are more expensive as these are designed individually. Let your cake designer do what they love doing the most and that’s creating a cake that’s truly unique and a one off just for you.

Should I Pay a Deposit?

Absolutely. You’ve exchanged several emails, visited the cake maker, and they’ve designed a cake you’re delighted with. They’ve provided you with a quote and you’re happy to go ahead and book with them. So at this stage you need to let your cake designer know as soon as possible that you’d like to go ahead and ask how you can pay the deposit. I see the deposit as a two-way thing. It’s my commitment to my client that they’re booked in and I will be doing the cake, and it’s your commitment to your cake maker that you want the cake. I have known of incidences when someone thought they’d booked a cake, but no deposit had been paid and when they checked with the cake maker some weeks later, they hadn’t secured their order and the cake maker had become fully booked for their date.

Once you’ve paid your deposit, the cake maker should confirm that they’ve received it and quickly follow that up with an order. The order should contain all the details of the big day (date, venue, time) and the cake. This is your opportunity to check dates and details and let your cake maker know straight away if anything doesn’t look right. I always tell my clients that no question is a silly question so please just ask. Terms & Conditions will form part of your order and should include a cancellation policy, (deposits might not be refundable). And confirm delivery arrangements too.

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Your big day arrives and you’re super excited to see your cake. Hopefully all your research has paid off and maybe these hints and tips have helped along the way.  All that’s left to do now is say “I do” and enjoy your cake!

RECIPE - Chocolate Brownies

Natasha Lovell

I've got a handful of "go to" quick and easy recipes for when I want to whip up a sweet treat for my guys at home.  This is one of them. It's also the recipe used in my "Brownies in a Jar" where you have all the dry ingredients in the jar and you just add the rest. So here we go...

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INGREDIENTS

  • 275g of butter softened
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g plain chocolate chips (or you can use dried fruit, nuts or combination of all of these)

You're also gonna need:

  • 10" square cake tin or 13"x9" baking tray, lined
  • Pre-heated oven to 180C (or 160C fan oven)/350F/Gas Mark 4

Place all your ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together using a hand held electric mixer. (You might want to start it off with a good old fashioned wooden spoon so it doesn't fly everywhere and you re-decorate your kitchen!)

When everything is mixed thoroughly, spoon into your lined tin and spread evenly. Pop it in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean and it should be slightly crusty on the top. 

Leave to cool in the tin then cut into squares and enjoy. These brownies keep really well if stored in an air tight container or cake tin. 

Serving suggestion: Re-heat in the oven by wrapping in foil. Heat up for 10 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.

So there you have it. Chocolate Brownies. Why don't you have a go and make these for a weekend treat. And don't forget to let me know how you get on. I'd love to hear from you. 

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New Beginnings....

Natasha Lovell

Welcome to The Blog

Hi! I’m Tasha. Owner of Glitter & Sparkle Cakes. I’ve been lucky enough to run my business from the start as a full-time job. Repeat customers and recommendations have kept me busy, busy, busy for the last 7 years and for this I am truly grateful. I’ve wanted to start a blog for ages but not had time to do it properly, so I thought I’d use my first post to introduce myself and explain briefly how I’ve got to where I am now and where I’d like to go from here…and invite you to come with me too if you fancy it.

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Since 2011 I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working for my clients, creating their dream cakes. From extravagant multi-tiered wedding cakes to individual cupcakes, I’ve been honoured to be part of their special celebration. In 2016, my dream came true and I opened a shop. The next 2 years were a complete whirlwind of joy, tears, happiness, emotion and physical exhaustion. I guess you could call it “a victim of its own success”. I couldn’t sustain that amount of work on my own and I wanted to see my family a bit more, so when I had the opportunity, I decided to bring my business back to my kitchen and studio at home. 

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Back to the present day and it’s June 2018. I’m lucky enough again to have cakes booked in throughout the rest of the year and wedding cakes into 2019 and I’m very much looking forward to doing these for you. So, for now, I’m not taking any more orders. But stick with me if you can. In doing this, I can explore all the things I’ve wanted to but just not had time. I’ve got lots of things to share with you. From recipes to cake decorating tips. Product reviews to choosing your special cake. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with lots of other independent creative suppliers and venues and I’d love to share their ideas with you. I want to help, whether you’re the client or the cake maker…and there’s bound to be the odd competition and cake give away here and there.

So, what do you say? Will you join me? It’ll be such fun!