November 30th, 2016 | Rachel Parry
Image by Photography By Kathryn
We have something pretty tasty in store for you this afternoon, as we welcome new Brides Up North Sponsor, Debbie Gillespie Cake Design, to the blog.
Based in Yorkshire, Debbie loves nothing more than the challenge of creating a cake that tells a story and is a big advocate of couples expressing their personalities and interests through their big day design.
From beautiful hand-painted creations to rustic sensations and fun novelty designs, Debbie has the skills to do it all!
So, let’s take a look at some of her show-stoppers while hearing a little more from the lovely lady herself.
Can you tell us a little bit about Debbie Gillespie Cake Design and how it came to fruition?
debbie says: My first wedding cake was my own in 2005. Although it was a very simple design, I found the process renewed the love of art and creativity that I had had as a child, whilst at the same time producing something beautiful and tasty for someone else to enjoy. The arrival of two children meant that cakes became more elaborate and soon I was being approached by family and friends to make cakes for them.
I am largely self-taught but draw on a love of watercolour painting, gardening and my kids’ creative input to inspire my designs.
What is it about your job that you love?
I love sitting down with customers over tea and stickies and hearing their stories e.g. proposals, common interests, nicknames, and then designing their cake together. Many of my customers have become friends and I have continued to watch their lives unfold, even getting the opportunity to make cakes for their children. The wedding is only the beginning!
Where do you get your inspiration from for your cake designs?
I have very much a split design personality; enjoying bold and fabulous florals as much as fun and funky personal designs. I love the hand-painted and floral designs of Emily Hankins and Amy Swann, but would say that my biggest cake hero is Duff Goldman (of Ace of Cakes fame), as I love his ‘anything goes’ philosophy. Ultimately, my main inspiration are the couple and their life together and feel that their wedding cake should be a reflection of this, however bold and crazy it may be!
What should couples look for when searching for a supplier to make their wedding cake?
With any wedding supplier, there should be an ease so always find someone you feel comfortable with. Check out their portfolio to ensure that they can provide the style you want and don’t be afraid to ask questions. With cakes, always ensure that they are EHA-registered with good hygiene practices, have adequate public liability insurance and ultimately that they serve a tasty cake. You don’t want any nasty or unpalatable surprises!
What is the process if couples book you to make their wedding cake?
All my wedding couples are invited for a no-obligation consultation, where they are provided with a sample selection of our most popular flavours. We then chat over the design and I will provide a detailed quotation and sketch (if required). Their date is then secured with a 25% non-returnable deposit. Alternatively, as I will only have limited capacity per week, a wedding date can be secured with a £50 deposit and the design process completed nearer the date.
What styles and flavours of cake do you tend to create?
I do believe that the cake should taste as wonderful as it looks and for that reason, I prefer to stick to a smaller selection of popular and traditional flavours, e.g. lemon drizzle, red velvet, rich fruit etc. that I know are exceptional. However, I have just introduced a courgette and lime cake, which is proving very popular.
As for styles, I love to incorporate bold floral displays with hand-painting to produce a modern but rustic look. However, I am also partial to a little novelty and one of my biggest trends for 2017/18 are the reveal cakes – traditional at the front, party at the back!
January 27th, 2015 | Julia Braime
The Whimsical Cake Company is known for whimsical and opulent wedding cakes, also specialising in ‘naked ‘ and now chalkboard wedding cakes across Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.
I first met Skye, the owner and chief baker, when she made some stunning Brides Up North branded cake pops for one of my first ever wedding industry networking events back in autumn 2011, and she was first on my speed dial when it came to a christening cake (complete with fairies and glittering flowers) for my baby daughter last spring. Only the best for Little Miss Braime!
Skye’s cakes and treats are the prettiest around. Fact.
She’s here today to show off the range of dessert tables and wedding favours that The Whimsical Cake Company can provide to compliment their wedding cakes or as a feature in themselves. And now that Brides Up North can order her products online, these little delights would be most excellent boxed up as a St Valentine’s surprise for someone special.
Think about it. You buy him chocolate. Collect brownie points. Redeem against shoes.
You can thank me later.
skye says: Dessert tables are a huge trend for 2015 as more brides are choosing to have lots of little sweet surprises for their guests to choose from. Many of our brides come to us to supply their wedding cake, dessert table and also their wedding favours.
Our specialty is to create a bespoke dessert table with sweet treats which include, macaroons, iced cookies, macaroon towers, individual cakes, cake pops, caramel apples, cupcakes and ornate jars of sweets.
I have lots of enquiries for my dessert tables and wedding favours from brides further afield and this is why I decided to offer our wedding items online for delivery.
These chocolate pyramids are this year’s must have for any bride. The pyramids are made from pure Belgian chocolate with a cookie centre. These treats can be personalised and made in any colour and heavily featured in my dessert tables this year. Bespoke cookies are another favourite for weddings and are co-ordinated with the wedding theme or colour.
September 24th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
At this point in the wedding alphabet I’m bringing you a delicious post on wedding cakes. As a lover of all things sweet (and unfortunately bad for you) this is one area of wedding planning that I feel requires some serious deliberation.
For me one of the most disappointing experiences in life is biting into something that doesn’t taste as good as it looks. So not to sound too Mary Berry about it, but style and substance are 100 per cent necessary here.
There’s no doubt about it, competition in the wedding cake industry is growing. I’ve spoken to designers who are not only upping their game to stay ahead of the pack, but who are also being continuously asked by wedding couples to create a cakes that are more impressive than ones they’ve seen at previous weddings.
Thankfully most couples are avoiding the monstrous gypsy-wedding-style cakes, complete with 20 tiers, bride Barbie and Ken and LED lights, and instead are looking for creative confectionery with striking déco and inventive flavours.
So to ensure you get a show stopping cake, and your guests can actually eat it, let’s take a look at the key considerations.
Image sources as credited in gallery.
Let’s face it all elements of wedding planning start at this point but it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. Many c0uples report being shocked at the price of wedding cakes when they start their search but as is the case with most things in life – you get what you pay for. If you want intricate detailing, complex colours and gourmet flavours you will need to cover the cake designer’s time and expert efforts. The amount of guests you will be inviting and portion size will also affect the overall cost.
Once you have your budget in mind you can search for a cake creator that will fall into your price bracket. Word of mouth recommendations are a great way to find top bakers as is the internet. Most designers will have a gallery of their work and a suggestion of prices so you can narrow down your search before meeting with your shortlist for consultations and those all important tastings.
If you are thinking of making your wedding cake yourself then practise and preparation is key to avoid a kitchen dramarama. Alternatively if you are fortunate enough to have a master baker within your friend or family circles, ensure you trust them with the task and that they feel comfortable with your requirements. Some couples also go down the route of asking several guests to make and bring cakes to the wedding table. This can be a lovely way to include people in the proceedings while saving money, but just make sure enough guests take-up the invite so everyone gets a slice of the action.
Now that you know who is making the cake you can start planning its design. Colour, structure and décor will each need to be considered. It’s helpful to search in magazines and online for inspiration and to talk to your designer about all the elements you have planned so far such as venue, colour scheme, dress design etc so they can be incorporated, if you so wish. Naked cakes with stunning floral décor are weakness of mine at the moment – I just love their naturally stark and simple appearance. If you desire such a cake see if your florist and cake designer can collaborate to make it a reality. Other striking options include hand-painted cakes, sculptural designs and colouful ombre creations.
Don’t forget, what’s on the inside needs to be as fabulous as the cake’s exterior. While many couples (often at the request of an older guest) still request a small traditional tier of fruit cake the options go way beyond this point. Chocolate and lemon are crowd pleasers, but for those really wanting to push the boat out, some bakers offer more luxurious flavours such as vanilla bean and raspberry, mocha or orange and cardamon.
We’ve all heard horror stories about cakes falling apart on route or resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa when the set up goes wrong. Therefore it’s vital to prearrange when, where and by whom the cake will be delivered and to allow time for any complicated set-ups to be perfected.
The cake has been designed, made and delivered so now it’s time to show it off. Make sure your cake is a focal point at the reception before it’s cut up. Those having a sweetie table might like include the cake there while others may prefer to display the cake on a table with themed décor to help it stand out.
May 19th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
Ladies we’ve all been there (before finding fiancées that is) – you see an attractive man on a night out, pluck up the courage to say hi, or even better, he approaches you, and then within matter of measly minutes the dream falls apart. Turns out he’s a mannequin man – perfectly formed on the outside but there’s nothing on the inside – he clearly has a low IQ, he’s way too laid back, or worse: he’s just plain boring.
I’ve had similar experiences with cakes – there’s nothing worse than a highly attractive cake that disappoints massively once you get a taste of the inside (just like mannequin man).
Surely for a wedding cake it’s essential that the style and taste stakes match up? Some couples are fortunate enough to have a talented relative or friend capable of producing a culinary masterpiece while others can afford to task a cake supplier with making a bespoke creation that tastes as good as it looks.
Chocolate Plaque Vintage Rose
But what are the options for couples’ whose cake budget just doesn’t stretch that far? Cue the Marks & Spencer wedding cake collection – yes that’s right folks, this is not just any wedding cake collection, it’s an M&S wedding cake collection. And, though we traditionally reserve the honour for fast fashion, these cakes totally deserve our High Street Honey accolade.
Shimmering Hoop (Dark & Gold)
Upside Down Raspberry
The high street supplier is close to many Brits’ hearts, especially the contents of its food hall – whether it’s the cheesy puffs, ultimate mash or faithful Percy Pigs, we trust M&S to deliver wonderful pleasures for our palettes. This is perhaps why so many couples turn to Marks and Sparks for their wedding cake.
The fabulous collection features a stunning range of both contemporary and traditional options, including exceptionally pretty vintage and floral designs, with a choice of delicious sponges and fillings.
Shimmering Hoop (White & Pink)
M&S itself states that a wedding cake should look and taste amazing, and encourages its customers to pick a cake that reflects them as a couple. Personal favourites of mine include the Birdcage and Bauble cake designs – it’s just a shame there isn’t a bride or groom version of Colin the Caterpillar!
For more information about wedding cakes by Marks & Spencer, visit their website.
This is not a sponsored post
February 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Image by Jade Osborne Photography
Anyone feeling hungry? I know, I know, after banging on about keeping New Year resolutions this morning, I go and put a whole load of beautiful sugar in front of you at just after 3pm. I’m a very bad friend.
I’m a very good wedding blogger though, as it’s my job to tell you all about the best suppliers in the business, available in your local area. Job done. North West brides: wedding cake: sorted.
Let’s meet the lady and Brides Up North Featured Supplier behind these delectable confections, the lovely Liz at The Little Velvet Cake Company.
P.s. Let Liz know that you found her through Brides Up North and there’s a 10% discount in it for you!
Hi Liz! Tell Brides Up North about The Little Velvet Cake Company, yourself and your experience?
Well I wasn’t always a cake maker. In my former life I had completed a PhD in Environmental Chemistry and then I was an environmental consultant, working for an engineering company on big urban regeneration projects. Previous to that, in my early twenties, I had worked in theatres, where I was everything from usherette to stage manager.
I had never really thought about baking, until I jumped off the career ladder to stay at home and look after my two sons. It all started with a few fun baking sessions making cupcakes with the kids, but it soon got serious when I started nudging the boys away so I could do it all myself. They lost interest but I kept going, until one day I found myself offering to make a friend’s wedding cake. I had never iced a cake before, but fancied having a go after watching Lorraine Pascale doing it on her television show. That was it, I was bitten by the sugar craft bug!
I also loved the idea of having my own business based at home, and this was perfect. For me it’s the perfect combination of technical and creative skills. I’m completely self-taught, I got books out of the library, looked techniques up on the internet, and spent a lot of time playing with sugar crafting equipment. Everything I had learned in my previous jobs seemed to give me a good grounding, I don’t even mind the endless washing up as it’s nothing compared to washing glassware in the analytical laboratory where I did my PhD!
Tell us about your cakes? What finishes and flavours are available?
My role of creating perfect and personal centre pieces for something as important as a couple’s wedding day is a big responsibility, and so I work closely with each couple to make sure they get the perfect cake for them. Consequently I end up making a wide range of cakes, but I do think they all have the unique ‘Little Velvet’ style about them. I concentrate on clean, elegant designs that are well balanced and never unnecessarily fussy.
Many brides have quite a fixed idea of what they want their cake to be like, others need a bit of inspiration before they decide what they want, either way I try to accommodate this by relating the cake design to the big picture so it complements the styles, colours and textures used elsewhere in their wedding.
I’m going to get a bit technical here, but where cake finishes are concerned there are two main types (forgive me, I’m such a cake geek!). I do traditional ‘rounded’ edges for that classic, smooth wedding cake look, which is very traditional. These cakes are very natural and romantic looking. I also like to do ‘sharp’ edges, which has a more contemporary look where the sides are ultra-straight with a sharp edge along the top. The tiers on these cakes are typically deeper, so the overall look is tall and elegant.
The more tiers you have, the more flavours you can go for! I do all the standard flavours, mostly vanilla and chocolate sponge, but good old faithful fruit cake is often requested for at least one of the tiers. There is demand for less traditional flavours though, with carrot cake and red velvet cake being popular. Last year I made a cake that was not just lemon coloured, but all 3 tiers were lemon flavoured too. I used plenty of zesty lemon curd and butter cream to fill it, and it smelt amazing. This is the beauty of having a bespoke cake… you get to decide your own flavours.
Tell us about your ingredients?
I’m very fussy when it comes to baking ingredients. I always buy the same organic flour, because I trust it to give me consistent results. Eggs have to be free range, and butter has to be good quality. I believe that if you cut corners with the ingredients, it will show in the baked product. My ingredients are tried and tested, so I’m confident that my cakes will taste the best they can. For example, the quality of cocoa powder varies enormously, so I am brand loyal and get a good quality Fair-trade make that is head and shoulders better than the others. After all, it doesn’t matter how good a cake looks, nobody wants their guests to be disappointed when they eat it.
Do you cater for special diets?
Yes, I have made cakes without gluten, nuts or dairy products on many occasions. However, my kitchen isn’t gluten free, and not entirely nut free either, so I always state that there is a risk of cross contamination although nuts and gluten free products are stored separately and I take precautions to make sure cross contamination is avoided (again, the analytical laboratory experience comes in handy)!
Last year I made a ‘naked cake’ with gluten free products (which is tiered sponge cake without the icing. This one was filled with jam and fresh cream and dusted with icing sugar). These cakes have to be baked perfectly even and I was a bit nervous using the gluten free flour as it can be tricky sometimes. It turned out great though, you wouldn’t have known it wasn’t the usual wheat flour.
What are the most popular flavours?
Vanilla is the most popular flavour, closely followed by chocolate. I think these are the crowd pleasers.
January 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I just love that today’s bride, Lisa, is all about the cake. As good a place as any to start planning your wedding, I reckon! Lucky for Lisa that some fabulous local suppliers (including Brides Up North Featured Supplier Liz from The Little Velvet Cake Company) were on hand with the baked goods.
Lisa and Simon’s double celebration, mixing Chinese and British tradition, has it all – vintage high tea, fancy footwear, a dash of drama, Chinese lions, hula hoops, and plenty of cakey goodness.
With images by Damian S Brandon.
Lisa says: We got engaged on 18th March 2012 which was Mothers’ Day. We first met on 15th October 2011 so had only known each over for 5 months when we decided to get engaged! We called both of our mums on Mothers’ Day to let them know the good news. It was the first wedding for both families so it was all very exciting!
Our wedding date was 25th May 2013 which also happened to be the day of the Champions League final. Simon supports Manchester United. I can’t tell you how happy I was that they didn’t make it into the final!
We decided to split our wedding into two days: one day for a traditional civil ceremony and the other day for a traditional Chinese banquet celebration. Our civil ceremony took place at Tabley House which is a Grade I mansion set in beautiful parkland located in Knutsford, Cheshire. The Chinese banquet took place in Chung Ying Garden Restaurant, Birmingham.
Subscribe to receive Brides Up North e-shots, our newletters and notifications of events, giveaways and offers
We strive to represent the very best in our industry, but Brides Up North cannot be held liable for the products/ services of our sponsors. Any bookings are made at your own risk. Terms & Conditions.
All images © Brides Up North/ original author. Images should not be reproduced without written permission. Terms & Conditions.