Small Wedding Cakes That are Big on Style
As weddings start to “reboot” albeit on a smaller scale we caught up with Claire of Claire’s Sweet Temptations to find out a bit more about her, her scrumptious business and amazing cakes that can be tailored to suit weddings of all sizes and vibes.
Your work is beautiful, what made you decide to be a cake maker?
Thank you! I have always made cakes. My passion for cake-making goes back to when I a child. When I had our son it soon became clear that going back to work in the conventional 9-5 way wasn’t going to be an option. And, so, I started making cakes for a local café. They were popular and this led to more orders for other types of cakes for people’s special occasions. I made my first wedding cake in 2013 and loved every minute of the process. I knew I had found what direction I wanted to take the business in.
Where did you learn your trade?
I’m basically self-taught. Over the years I have done many classes and tutorials on various aspects of cake decorating and in particular sugar flowers. And there has been many hours employing a lot of imagination and trial runs figuring out things that I couldn’t find a tutorial for online.
How do you help couples to bring their wedding cake vision to life?
I work closely with my couples throughout the whole process. Before we start designing their cake, I have a chat with them about their likes and dislikes, and what they would love if time and money were not an issue. We then take all these elements and I start designing. Usually couples will have a Pinterest board or mood boards for me to work from, these are always really helpful.
Couples can come to my studio or I can meet with them to discuss ideas and sample cakes, or I can send cake samples by post and we can discuss things on line. Whatever works best for each couple really.
You’re a multi-award-winning cake maker, most recently being named “Global Weddings Awards South West Wedding Cake Designer of The Year. Tell me how that came about?
The Global Weddings Award was a complete surprise! It is an industry led award, so there’s no chasing people for votes etc. I had an email asking if I would be happy to be entered. I said yes or course! I then heard nothing until I received an email to say that I had won! I was thrilled as you can imagine. It means a lot to know that I have such a good reputation within the wedding industry as well as with my clients.
You produce amazing cakes of all shapes and sizes. How do you keep your thinking original and fresh?
Again, thank you! Ideas can actually come from all kinds of places. Often, the ideas are client led. But inspiration can also come from artwork, architecture, fabrics or even wallpapers. I take inspiration from everywhere. I see shapes and colours together, or patterns that I know will work well on a cake and store those ideas away to use when needed. I also try to always include the personalities of my clients into the cake design, so that it becomes truly personal to them.
How would you describe your cake design style?
I think ‘high end with a twist’ has become my mantra. I love simple and traditional cakes of course, but I also love doing something different. I don’t mean themed cakes, but injecting colour, texture and personality into the design.
Describe the cake you would choose if you were to have a re-run of your own wedding day?
We had a four-tier chocolate cake for our wedding, and a smaller fruit cake beside it. I think the only thing I would change would be to maybe have more than one flavour so that people had a choice.
What factors should couples consider when thinking about their cake?
It’s not just about creating a stunning centre-piece for a couples’ special day for me, part of my job is to ensure that practicalities are taken care of too.
Make sure you have enough cake for your guests, remembering to include yourselves in those numbers. Also check if there are any dietary requirements from any guests that need to be catered for. Think about the time of year e.g. an all buttercream cake in the height of summer may not be the best idea due to the heat.
How do you make sure that the cake fits with the style of the wedding it’s going to sit in as centre piece?
This is where mood boards can be really helpful. If I can see not only cake ideas, but also images of the venue, the wedding colour scheme, the flowers etc, these can all help make sure the cake will fit in perfectly. If you are thinking of having fresh flowers on the cake then I always recommend asking your florist to provide these. This mean you can be certain that all the flowers are going to match perfectly.
The venue can also influence the cake, as well as other elements of the wedding. So, if you are having a barn wedding you would go for a rustic cake, and if you’re venue is a chic city space, then you would want to reflect that in the cake design.
We work with couples looking for elopement or intimate weddings, what options are open to them in terms of their wedding cake?
Oh, there are endless options for intimate wedding cakes. As many options as for the bigger cakes really. Everything is just on a smaller scale. It can be perfectly possible to take a picture of a huge wedding cake, and scale that down.
Or you can still have the huge looking wedding cake. You can replace real cake with dummy tiers to give the effect. Although these dummies are usually polystyrene, I can reuse them over and over again, so they are not thrown away.
Some couples like two or three smaller cakes as a desert table, that can also look really good.
In these uncertain times with lots of couples having to down size their weddings, we are all adapting our services to help make these smaller weddings fantastic. What changes have you implemented for couples to consider?
Yes, I think smaller weddings are going to become the norm for a while yet. And that’s not a bad thing. Smaller weddings can be so much more personal, and a lot less stressful than the big weddings. And this can be reflected in the cake. Really any wedding cake should be about the happy couple, but, too often, it’s more about pleasing or impressing others. This isn’t the case with smaller weddings.
I have sourced some brilliant packaging meaning I can post cakes for couples. This might seem a strange idea, but my thought is that with weddings being limited in numbers to 30, some couples might want to send relations or friends that might otherwise have been at their wedding ceremony or celebration a cake so that when they cut the cake on their wedding day, everyone can join by Zoom and enjoy cake together by way of celebration. This is a lovely idea for anyone who is still shielding or otherwise too frail to travel to a wedding.
What do you think sets you aside from other cake makers?
I think my creativity, vision and ability to turn ideas into reality is what sets me apart from others. My location right on the Devon/Cornwall border means I can cover both counties easily. Whatsmore, I’m also a member of The Wedding Gallery in London, so I can meet with couples there who may not be able to easily get down to the South West to meet with suppliers,
What do you foresee in terms of wedding cake trends in 2021/22?
Trends in weddings in general seem to move more slowly than in other areas of life. And this is the same for the cake. And trends seem to also last longer, semi-naked cakes are still very much with us for example. But I do think we are going to see a few new trends coming through. Colour being one, and I love using colour on wedding cakes. With smaller weddings there is less to consider, and so more chances to get creative with colour without it being OTT.
Another upcoming trend is going to be dramatic cakes, bold and exciting designs. Black wedding cakes are a personal favourite.
How can couples see more of your work and find out more about your service?
The best way to see more of my work is either my Instagram www.instagram.com/clairessweettemptations Or my website www.clairessweettemptations.com I also have several Pinterest boards at www.pinterest.com/clairessweettemptations
To get in touch about your wedding cake simply drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a pleasure talking to you Claire, and we look forward to seeing your cakes appearing at weddings again across the summer and beyond.