Once upon a time in the Autumn of 2012, I sketched out and added details to some wedding cake ideas that I thought would make a great new collection for the New Year. Every year, I launch a cake collection to showcase my latest ideas, bring to life some new concepts and draw on the latest trends for weddings. It’s always hard work but I love being able to empty the contents of my head so that everyone can see how I’m thinking and get a real feel for my style of work. However, this time, it was harder work than usual as so many things kept getting in the way at every turn. I just can’t believe how busy I’ve been and how quickly the time has flown! So finally, in mid-March, here I am finally unveiling my new wedding cake collection!
One cold and windy day a couple of weeks ago, I packed my car to capacity with my new cake designs, plus lots of cake stands and equipment, and headed off to the beautiful riverside photography studio of Chris Hanley and his wife Claire. I was very nervous as I had been building this day up for so many months but also incredibly excited as I love Chris’ work and couldn’t wait to see what he produced. These first few images are my own…if you couldn’t tell already, you will certainly see the difference later! 😉
Here are some of my boys, patiently waiting their turn to be photographed:
And here are the lovely Chris and Claire, and their hospitality. I managed to resist eating too many biscuits…
I thought I would take some behind the scenes photos of the shoot in progress. Here is my Au Naturale design, all stacked and beribboned and just waiting for the final flourishes:
And this is where the magic happens. Pictured is Antoinette, showing off its ruffles:
And so, finally, I can announce that my 2013 wedding cake collection is officially…LAUNCHED! Want to find out more? Here are the fabulous images and a little bit about my inspiration!
1) Au Naturale
Uniced or “naked” cakes are big news this year. I have seen a lot of different versions, from simple stacks of sponge to ones with flowers dotted over them and between the tiers. I wanted to do something simple and striking so created a stack of Madagascan vanilla sponge filled with vanilla buttercream and fruity raspberry jam, and added a long glossy red ribbon bow, which draped down the length of the cake, creating a bold and striking focal point. I also added red rose petals and pops of orange-yellow with the cape gooseberries. I wanted to keep the look very simple and unfussy so stacked the cake directly onto the glass cake stand, rather than adding a cake board.
This cake is inspired by the lady herself, Marie Antoinette. I wanted to be inspired by her decadent outfits and famous opulent lifestyle but without using gold in the design, which I have seen used a lot. Therefore, I limited the colour palette to sugary pastels, including dusky pink, duck egg blue and vanilla, on a fresh white background. The base tier is inspired by the full ruffled underskirts of the time, with a raw silk textured half height tier above, and the top two tiers are draped in a hand-piped lace pattern, complete with frilled edge. I balanced out the pink by adding a simple pink bow.
I once saw an antique plate on the famous BBC1 programme Cash in the Attic and instantly knew that one day, I would recreate the design in cake form. The plate was Japanese, from the Meiji period, and featured geometric tiles with hints of gold and soft cherry blossom branches on a bold pink background. I added a bit of a twist to the classic cherry blossom style by using leafy shards, and put a modern spin on the four tier structure by making the top three tiers very similar in diameter, with a wider base tier in a pop of lipstick pink.
4) White Swan
This is a tall, elegant and very feminine cake with billowing, frothy ruffles in pure white. The sides of the tiers are covered with feathered ruffle strips, and a fabric-style ruffled rose cascade pours down the side of the cake. Effortlessly simple yet incredibly detailed and striking.
5) The Drawing Room
I have created a good few cakes with this kind of structure and they have always proved incredibly popular so I decided to recreate a five tier version for my new collection. The inspiration for the design came from the grand rooms in country house estates, with picture rails, striped wallpaper and beautiful rose gardens. The striking colour palette is soft mint green, stone blue and oxblood, as featured on Farrow and Ball.
6) Vertical Magnolias
I wanted this cake to be based on a plain white three tier design, but with subtle differences that make it stand out. Therefore, I offset the tiers to create a flat vertical face down one side, which I then decorated with a line of simple magnolia flowers. Each tier was iced with rectangular panels to create soft vertical lines, and then trimmed with a simple rope edge. A classic cake with a twist.
7) Fantasy Forest Birdcage
Last year, I created a wedding cake covered with Belgian chocolate sugarpaste and decorated with a golden bird of paradise. I am renowned for my birdcage wedding cakes and when my dad saw my bird of paradise cake, he suggested that it might look great as a birdcage as well. What a great idea!! I originally designed this sculpted shape for Ruth and Simon, who wanted their birdcage wedding cake to match their birdcage table centrepieces. I absolutely loved the shape so recreated it here in black with dark gold cake details, hibiscus flowers, bright green vines and turquoise and orange hand painted flower details. I wanted the overall feel to be that of a mysterious and unexplored paradise.
8) French Riviera
Art Deco with a difference. I wanted to incorporate nautical details and Mediterranean colours (raspberry red, dark teal and mustard) inspired by the south of France, and art deco shapes with bold, simple sketched flowers. A bright, modern cake with a nod to the 1930s.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my new 2013 wedding cake collection. These are designs and concepts that I wanted to create to demonstrate my style of work and current thought processes but as always, I offer a completely bespoke wedding service, where each cake is designed to meet each couple’s exact personal requirements. If you would like to contact me regarding your wedding or event, you can get in touch using my simple website contact form.
Chris Hanley is a leading wedding, fashion and portrait photographer based at The Riverside Studio near Stockport: www.chrishanleyphotography.com
Thank you for stopping by and celebrating the launch with me. Until next time,