The best ever wedding cake
If there's a wedding cake to suit every couple, every venue and every budget it has to be a simple three-tier rustic buttercream dressed with fresh flowers. The frosting provides the perfect foil for statement blooms or modest meadow flowers, but unlike the pure polar white surface of smooth fondant, it has a character of its own.
This is a cake dressed with soft blush and dusky pink roses by Amanda at Distinctly Floral that we displayed at Chiddingstone Castle Wedding Fair.
Here's a real stunner - a rich chocolate, Madeira and lemon cake frosted with crusting vanilla buttercream and dressed with beautiful David Austin roses and trailing jasmine. This was another joint effort, with florist Miranda Andrews, who supplied the flowers and showed me how to wire and tape them correctly, so that they would remain fresh, food safe and in place until the cake was cut at this Port Lympne wedding.
The cake complemented the table arrangements and the bride's bouquet perfectly. The couple are South African and wanted to use King Protea flowers as centrepieces, as they're the South African flower.
You don't have to play safe with a neutral background. Look how effectively this hot pink buttercream rose swirl complements the pinks of this contemporary arrangement put together by local Westerham florist Jo Anne Hardy (of Posy & Wild). This shape can be achieved by stacking a cake dummy between two cake tiers so the flower stems can be inserted into the polystyrene, leaving the cakes intact.
Or you could use an ombre effect to link your colours, like this American design here. For this to work, the frosting needs to be very carefully tinted so that the flowers and foliage are accents, rather than merely adorning an ombre cake.
The strength in this design is that it reinforces the green of the ivy at the base and the pink of the roses on the top. If you can imagine a couple of pink blooms at the base, you'll probably agree that this would have completely confused the design, which would have had a stripy rather than ombre result. Very clever.
I supply cakes to venues and florists to be dressed on site. Most florists will have dressed cakes with fresh flowers before, and will confidently tape the stems or insert them into plastic flower picks so that none of the sap can reach the cake itself. Obviously buttercream is soft, unlike fondant, and this poses a few challenges, particularly when draping foliage between tiers, but often all it needs is careful pinning. Never instruct a florist, events manager or caterer to dress a cake with barestemmed fresh flowers. Some cut flowers are toxic and all have to be properly prepared to ensure that they are foodsafe.