Today I’m catching up with Charlene, wedding cake queen and owner of Cherry Tree Cakerie. I am such a big fan of Charlene’s cakes, her style is so unique and she creates the most amazing unconventional designs, some too good to even eat in my opinion!! She’s sharing her invaluable tips on where to start when looking for your ideal alternative wedding cake.
Charlene tells me she gets her inspiration from nature, textures and art and she always strives to create cakes that are unique to each couple, “after all, your wedding cake is going to cost a few pennies and so if you want something executed with skill why not make it a show-stopper?” She goes on to say, “this doesn’t mean to say that it needs to be every colour of the rainbow to be eye-catching; something subtle and elegant created with different decorating techniques can be just as impactful and interesting. If you and your guests exclaim, ‘have you SEEN that cake!’, then my job is done!”
Book your venue
Ok so this sounds overly obvious but bear with me! In most cases, your venue will most likely dictate the style of wedding you’re going for and therefore, the style of cake you might want. From a relaxed, rustic tipi wedding to a formal stately affair in a historic manor house, the style of cake may vary drastically to suit its surroundings. In fact, the venue style tends to set the tone for the whole wedding.
Bonus tip: If you’re considering a marquee venue or maybe even an orangery during the summer season, then really consider the effects of heat on buttercream cakes. Bakers have some tricks up their sleeves to mitigate the risk of melting buttercream but there’s only so much we can do in the midst of a heatwave.
Decide when to serve your wedding cake
Deciding whether to serve your cake as a dessert for your wedding breakfast or as part of your reception food will dictate what kind of portion size, and therefore the size of cake, you might need.
If serving cake as a dessert then you will need to be pretty accurate on your guest numbers and the size of cake you order. The last thing you need is to run out of cake!
If serving cake at your reception, I would suggest catering for around 10% less of your total number to allow for those guests who don’t fancy cake or are too busy throwing shapes on the dancefloor!
Now for the fun part! Get pinning on Pinterest, delve into Instagram, stock up on those wedding mags and seek inspiration everywhere. It doesn’t necessarily have to be other cakes either; perhaps you’re inspired by a piece of art or maybe you have a favourite interior designer that ignites your creativity. It can be anything…let your imaginations fly!
You may even have a definite design in mind but allowing your baker to flex their creative muscles might just give you a different perspective on it and allow them to create something unique to you.
Find your baker
Aside from searching geographically (some bakers may not travel over a certain distance with a delicate cake on board…1.5 to 2 hours’ journey is generally my own limit), look for a baker that floats your boat!
Does their work match your style and ethos? Do their creations inspire and excite you? Does their website speak to you and do they have client testimonials to back up their work? Let’s just say, if you have a novelty Avengers-themed cake in mind and they only specialise in intricate creations covered in sugar flowers, then they may not be the right baker for you.
A lot of wedding cake bakers tend to work alone and in turn, they can only take on a certain number of cakes per week to give each creation the time and attention it deserves. As such, it’s advisable to get in early to secure your date. For peak wedding dates, I would suggest 9-12 months in advance.
Lock in that date
So you’ve met the baker, tasted their mouth-watering cakes, reached a design and you’re happy with their quote. Now to lock in your date with a deposit and be happy in the knowledge that you’ve found your ideal wedding cake maker!
Go for a consultation and tasting
Surely the best part of the wedding planning shenanigans! This is where you get to eat cake and discuss your wedding cake design. It’s also your chance to meet your baker and decide if they’re the right supplier for you and for the baker to tease out those design ideas and create something truly bespoke.
Once a design has been agreed then your baker should be in a position to provide you with an accurate cost. I normally provide a colour sketch of your design alongside your quote so you can really visualise what it will look like. If you would like to know what to expect from my wedding cake consultations then check out my blog.
The final thing we chat about is Oxfordshire wedding venues, as I’m always on the look out and fascinated which ones suppliers recommend. She tells me, “as a baker with a penchant for the unusual, then my favourite wedding venue has to be Aynhoe Park. I was recently treated to my first visit there as a supplier and the house and grounds are breath-taking and, with its quirky and characterful interior design, every corner of the venue is stunning. On my wish list of venues, I would love to work with Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Both have beautiful architecture and a sense of history and grandeur that would be the perfect backdrop for a statement cake.”
If you’d like any further cake inspiration please take a look at Cherry Tree Cakerie’s social media handles below or just give her a call, she’s so lovely (and very funny!)
Contact Charlene on 07518 800529 | firstname.lastname@example.org