Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas holiday. So it appears I took a year’s sabbatical from blogging…but I certainly didn’t take a break from cake! I have lots of stories to share and have had the pleasure of working with so many lovely people that 2016 will be much more blog-filled than last year. However, first of all, here is a little month by month summary of some of my favourite cakes from 2015:
A birthday cake depicting Camp Echo, a lake and the countryside for a lifeguard who was also having a surprise reunion for her birthday. As a second surprise, the cake was actually a US flag when you sliced into it.
The lovely Rebecca was throwing a pirate-themed party for her triplets’ 5th birthday and so I created this for her, complete with edible pirate ship and treasure map.
I have never worked with glow in the dark cakes before but I now wish I could make them more often! This was Mr Oogie Boogie Man from The Nightmare Before Christmas and, just like in the film, he (and his creepy crawly innards) glows under UV light!
This was a real challenge for me but I was so proud of the result! To celebrate the launch of the film Fifty Shades of Grey, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the team creating an edible walk-in red room, complete with Mr Grey in various stages of undress and a series of peep holes into some saucy goings on!
Two christenings and a baby shower, and a beautiful palette of pastel colours. George and Jenson shared a cute hot air balloon cake, whilst Ava celebrated with a pink and white ruffled blossom cake and cupcakes, complete with sugared rose petals. The little polar bear was created for a baby shower where the parents didn’t know the gender of their baby. Inside, I layered chocolate cake with both pink and blue buttercream.
Wedding season was in full swing and I had the pleasure of creating a huge range of different styles of cake. Here is a beautiful ice pink birdcage cake with white ruffled roses and real gold leaf (at Heaton House Farm), and a carved The Italian Job-themed cake, complete with road, minis and lorry teetering on the edge (at All Star Lanes). It just shows how different and unique a three-tier cake can be made to be!
A lot of structuring goes into a stacked wedding cake but this Liverpool Skyline cake (at Pendrell Hall) required a lot of extra engineering! The design features Kerryanne and Olly dancing amidst a cascade of stars and at night, the base tier lights up to create a starlit cityscape. It’s all pretty scary creating a wedding cake for a French chef but that’s exactly what I did when I set up this “naked” pastel cake at Hilltop Country House. I love the effect of the icing sugar-dusted sponge with the beautiful pastel flowers (by Green Earth Flowers). The flavour was pretty exciting too; lemon and elderflower drizzle cake!
In July, I found myself at Peckforton Castle quite a lot, which is a venue I love to work at! I had the pleasure of creating these two incredibly different wedding cakes for two lovely couples and their fabulous weddings. Laura and Emily chose a travel-themed wedding so their hand painted vintage stack of suitcases reflected this, from the map of the world to the luggage stickers of the places they had visited together. The finishing touch of some sprigs of gypsophila was created by Laurel Weddings. Rebecca and Ben had a true fairytale wedding with just a subtle hint of lilac and silver. The cake reflected their invitations and also had a bespoke piped tier copying the lace on Rebecca’s dress.
I am over the moon when I couple’s cake is a true and really personal reflection of their personalities and life together. I had the great honour of creating from scratch two such designs for two awesome couples, both cakes also telling the story of how they got engaged. The Under the Sea design (at Manchester Town Hall) was created for a couple who love to scuba dive, and Ben proposed to Lindsay whilst they were actually diving! I included fish and other sea creatures, coral, seaweed, driftwood and a silhouette of a ship wreck. Becky and Steven share my huge passion for Studio Ghibli so I was beside myself when we started to plan their cake for their wedding at Salmesbury Hall. The painted design features key scenes and characters from all their favourite films, and a Studio Ghibli shield with their names inserted into it. Steven and his brothers actually built a mini version of the robot and Steven used it to help propose to Becky at a surprise picnic. Amazing!
Autumn saw a lot of flowers in rich and varied colours, both in sugar and the real thing. Both of these cakes had little touches of gold in the design, but used in completely different ways. You Are My Lobster (at Arley Hall) is a birdcage cake like no other, with a pair of the crustaceans holding claws, and cascades of peach roses with Alice in Wonderland-style “painting the roses” gold, plus Mercedes and gambling emblems, a little boy chasing a cat and soft edible lace trim. The Silver Birch wedding cake (at The Sefton Park Palm House) is an asymmetrically stacked, textured and painted stack of tree trunks with a carved monogram of the couple, accented with gold. Everything was then decorated with flowing cascades of fresh flowers and feathers for a really striking look. I was also in love with the couple’s choice of champagne flutes to toast their marriage; Vera Wang!
These are two completely contrasting wedding cake designs but both were a joy to create. First is the hot pink and orange paisley design for an East meets West style wedding at the stunning Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel & Spa, featuring butterflies, calla lilies and a Lego model of the couple in their wedding outfits 🙂 Katie and Mark chose a much paler colour scheme for their vintage-inspired wedding at The Midland Hotel and so their cake was a slender design, featuring a central bespoke piped tier replicating the bride’s dress, a subtle shimmering silver base tier with draped pearl trim and fresh flowers by Laurel Weddings. The couple also borrowed my silver cake stand for that finishing touch of glamour.
I absolutely love how this birdcage wedding cake (at the Royal Taj Banqueting Hall) turned out, especially the red painted edge to the ruffles and roses, and the way it was displayed in the reception room on a beautiful dressing table. I also created a 40th birthday cake for a lady who owns a shoe company, featuring a coral ombre torn fabric design, porn star martini and a pair of her most popular shoes. The hillwalking cake was created for a gentleman’s 80th birthday and showed him relaxing in the countryside with some of his favourite animals, including Herdwick sheep and the mighty highland cow!
The final month was such a busy one and my work was so contrasting, I think it deserves an extra large post. Firstly, I made my first wedding cake and groom’s cake pairing, for a gorgeous couple having their reception at the uber-cool Twelve restaurant and lounge bar. The wedding cake was all-white with cascades of white fluffy roses and just a hint of gold in their bespoke monogram. Groom’s cakes are an American tradition but are becoming more popular over here and as the bride is American, she wanted to surprise her English dj-ing groom with a little hint of her home country, so I created a cake copy of his sound desk and model of him in his work gear.
Finally, December wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas cake…of sorts. Along with a salted caramel-flavoured vintage birdcage cake and a chocolate orange replica of one of The Stone Roses’ album covers, which I had such fun “paint splattering”, I also created Santa sitting in a meat and potato pie, burning his bottom in the gravy. Inside, the cake was sticky toffee pudding flavour.
What a fantastically varied year I have had! Thank you so much to everyone who has ordered from me, I have loved working with you all. Here’s to an even more amazing 2016!
Beth is a leading wedding cake designer based in Manchester, UK. For further information, please visit www.cakesbybeth.co.uk.