Cake Week…Monday

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
Cake Week has arrived. The reason for a whole week dedicated to scrumptious sponge is mainly because I feel that a wedding cake or cupcakes can often come quite low down the planning process. The cake can sometimes suffer from being a last minute decision and a lot of brides may not know what the possibilities are. So enjoy my week of inspirational creations from fabulous bakers up and down the UK. If you want an Oscar the Grouch, you will know who to call! On Friday, I will be attempting to make my own wedding creation proving how hard it is to get right.
Name: Beth Mottershead (Cakes by Beth)
Twitter: cakesbybeth
Bit of a background on you:
I am a self-confessed geek, after focusing on science for my entire school education, and then studying for a degree and PhD in Materials Science. I don’t mind though, I think a bit of geekiness is good. The cake side of things stems from my other love of all things arty. I’ve always been into drawing and crafts in general so the idea of creating a gift for someone that is really personal to them has always been something that I have loved to do. I can pinpoint the exact moment when the cake obsession really began. It was when I created a 3D Oscar the Grouch for my brother’s birthday. It was a complete surprise and we shipped it all the way to Sheffield from Stafford. His reaction, as well as that of everyone else who saw it, really spurred me on to hone my skills and turn my favourite hobby into something bigger.
Background on your business:

My style is clean, simple and contemporary but with a little something special that makes my cakes beautiful and unique.  I like to use flowers in my designs, but in a way that you can’t find in nature, so scattered blossoms in interesting shapes, sparkling petals and larger than life blooms.  I also find wallpapers, fabrics and vintage jewellery incredibly inspiring.  My pricing reflects the time I spend designing and hand-crafting the details on my cakes. I want everyone who purchases a cake from me to feel that they have something really special and unique, but also value for money. No matter whether it is your wedding or civil ceremony or a fabulous birthday party or celebration, my approach to designing your cake and my pricing structure remains the same. I know a lot of people worry that as soon as the word “wedding” is mentioned, prices start to increase. I also believe that things that aren’t an option shouldn’t be charged as an extra, such as delivery and set up. If you have placed a large cake order with me, the cost includes delivery and set up. After all, who wants to get involved with stacking their wedding cake when they have a wedding to attend??

Favourite flavour of cake/cupcake/pastry: 

Despite all the cake talk, my favourite dessert is my mum’s apple pie. My mum and dad have a great partnership when it comes to apple pie. My dad makes the most amazing homemade mince meat. It has a really fine texture and is so fruity and boozy, you could dig it straight out of the jar! My mum’s pastry is so moreish so combine this with a lovely, zingy apple filling and a huge blob of mince meat in the middle and you have the most irresistible apple pie ever!

 Most memorable wedding creation you have done:

This would have to be the four tier wedding cake I made for one of my oldest friend’s wedding. It was definitely an emotional day for so many reasons…but transporting the cake all the way to Liverpool in the baking heat certainly added to that. The entire wedding (except the cheeky afterparty) was held at the Palm House in Sefton Park. It was absolutely amazing, definitely the best wedding I have ever been to, and every single detail she chose was something I would have chosen myself. She looked stunning and the cake completely matched the tropical flower and plant backdrop. It was fantastic!
Advice to brides about selecting their cake, any tips or things to remember?

There are so many tips and things to bear in mind, it is difficult to generalise without hearing the individual couple’s story about their special day. I would say that two key pieces of advice that apply to everyone and are always taken into account in my designs are:

1)     How many guests are you having and what style of event is it? Large and formal? Large and informal? Small and intimate? This can be the deciding factor for whether you go for a cupcake tower or five tier, all white, brush embroidery creation
2)     What is your favourite element of your wedding day? Your cake should be the centrepiece of your reception so as well as tying into the theme of your day, you want it to really highlight something you love. By starting your design with your favourite element, this really helps to bring it all together.

Do you have a recipe you are willing to share for budding bakers?

Ah, now that would be telling, wouldn’t it! 😉 All I would say is, for the perfect cake, time after time, it’s crucial to weigh your ingredients accurately. I never mix imperial with metric and I also take into account the weight of the eggs, not just the number you use.

A Quick Q & A
Favourite Colour: green (although when it comes to budgies, definitely blue!)
Favourite Film: Two recent ones that I have loved and needed to watch again and again are 300 and The Departed
Favourite Song: something by Metallica, Guns N Roses or “I heard it through the grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
Favourite Month: August (my birthday!)
Favourite Drink: red wine
Favourite Food: roast beef or lamb rogan josh…tough choice 
Favourite Word: ingredients (makes you think about juicy dried fruit and making homemade scones)
Favourite Perfume: Coco Mademoiselle

If you have any baking or cake related questions please leave them in the comment box for Beth.


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Anonymous //

Wow, what beautiful cakes!
I am having a vintage style wedding and I'm not sure what sort of cake will fit this theme yet, so do you have any tips for where to start? also how far in advance do you have to order wedding cakes?

Cakes by Beth //

Hi Sarah,

Congratulations and thanks very much! In answer to your questions, I would say that it is best to let your cake designer know as soon as you can about when you are getting married. They can then book you in, even though you haven't finalised all of your wedding details yet, so that they are definitely free for your chosen wedding date. Some cake designers such as myself, offer a Save the Date option, where you pay a small deposit to reserve your chosen date, which takes away the worry and leaves you free finalise other details that will then help you decide on the style of your cake.

In terms of where to start with the theme of your wedding, the possibilities are endless so it depends on what you like and don't like. Vintage style weddings are so popular and there are so many amazing styles, patterns and beautiful items to choose from. If you like cupcakes, these are a lovely way of giving each guest their very own share of your display, and can be decorated in a stunning array of vintage-inspired colours, textures and patterns. You can even have a cutting cake at the top for that all important photograph. Mini cakes are also a lovely way of creating a display like this, if you wanted lots of mini servings but didn't want cupcakes.

If you would prefer a more traditional stacked cake, is there an element of you wedding that you particularly love? Your dress or accessories? The location? Your flowers? Your invitations? This can be a great way to start as your cake design can bring in different elements of your days but focus on the one you love the most. Your cake can be trimmed in ribbons or lace and can incorporate colours to match your theme. Maybe you are wearing a vinatge headpiece to wear as you walk down the aisle. This might be the perfect accent to a tall, simple wedding cake, but recreated in sugar 🙂

I would recommend that you look through some pictures of cakes to see if anything jumps out at you as being something that you really like. You will definitely get a feel for your taste in cakes. Then you can sit down with your cake designer, someone whose work appeals to you, and tie all the elements together to come up with your perfect cake.

I have a section on my website that explains the different stages and options to designing a cake, which you might find useful:

I hope this has been of help. Good luck with choosing your wedding cake and if you have any more questions, just let me know!
Beth x