Wednesday, 27 March 2013

One year of blogging later.......

This time last year I decided to create a blog to share my cake adventures with anyone who loves cake!

At the time I was lucky to be getting 100 hits a month but a year on and I'm amazed to be easily getting 500 hits per month which is fabulous!

Since giving up work in September 2012 and setting the business up I've done several wedding fayres, attended lots of networking events where I've met some fantastically like-minded people, met plenty of lovely brides and grooms, set up a twitter account (@antoinettecake1) and best of all made LOADS of delicious cake!! Oh and I won my first (hopefully of many) cake decorating awards at Cake International last month!! 

I've also learnt a huge amount not only about cake decorating but about running a business. Even though I do have the odd crisis of confidence now and then, I'm so much more sure of myself and my business than I was when I started and just love being my own boss!

If I don't have the answer, there are so many people out there who are willing to help and even though I work alone, I know I'm never actually alone but have become part of a friendly network of self employed entrepreneurs all working extremely hard to make their business a success, against all odds helping to keep the economy going!

Having worked non-stop since leaving University, it was really scary leaving employment and not having the security of a regular income but I can honestly say that so far (touch wood) I haven't a single regret and can't thank the people enough who have supported me and encouraged me along the way, couldn't have done it without them!

Let Them Eat Cake!

R x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

3D Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake

When I was just starting out in cake decorating a good friend of mine asked me to make a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed cake for her son's Christening.
Now as I'd never heard of the Very Hungry Caterpillar I did an internet search for cakes and was a bit underwhelmed at what I found.  I always like to push myself and try to do something that makes people go WOW! so came up with this huge 3D apple design with a caterpillar (made from moulded rice krispy treats covered in sugarpaste) chomping his way through the apple. It was about 1 foot tall and really impressive!
Even though this is one of the first cakes I ever made, I still absolutely love it!

Wedding Cake Myths, Busted!

Planning a wedding can be complicated and stressful so when it comes to choosing your wedding cake, I like to keep things as stress free and enjoyable as possible, after all, everyone loves cake!

So to help you, here are my top wedding cake myths, busted!

Myth #1: Wedding cakes are expensive!
If meeting brides and grooms has taught me anything it’s that nobody seems to have a clue how much a good quality cake costs!

Yes of course, if you want something to feed 200 people, decorated with hundreds of handmade flowers and detailed piping, it’s going to be expensive. At Marie Antoinette Cakes we understand that your wedding choices are a balance between getting the cake of your dreams and having the reality of a budget to work to.
As well as our Couture range, we’ve also developed the Simply Antoinette range, simple yet chic designs which require less time to decorate and are therefore lower in cost.

Take the Simply Sparkles cake (pictured right) for example. This beautiful 3-tier cake covered in sugar sparkles and decorated with luxurious satin ribbon and a pearl brooch provides approx. 110 portions and costs £295 (chocolate or vanilla sponge). Of course, it can be personalised with ribbon choices to fit in with your colour scheme. You can also add more tiers if required and choose different cake flavours, all of which will result in a more personalised quote.
We love the Simply Antoinette range and so far it’s been a real hit with Brides and Grooms, not only for the fantastic value but also because the designs are really beautiful! We always work with you to get you the cake you want within your budget and will offer advice on how this can be best achieved.

Myth #2: Wedding cakes should be round
Cakes can be in any shape or form you want. Be creative and don't be afraid to think outside the box, search on the internet for inspiration! Square cakes provide you with more portions per tier so if you’re having a lot of guests, a square cake or even a bottom square tier may help to get you the portions you need.

Myth #3: What if I don't like the taste of sugarpaste icing?

The big elaborate cakes we usually see in magazines are typically made using a layer of buttercream covered in sugarpaste. Consider your wedding day weather. If it is an outdoor reception and your cake has to withstand the elements, avoid using buttercream. Sugasrpaste is much more resistant and provides a whole host of options for decoration. Here at Marie Antoinette Cakes, we’ve experimented with several sugarpaste brands and have found that Renshaw Regalice not only tastes good but provides the most polished finish on your wedding cake.

However, if you really do dislike sugarpaste, the Simply Naked cake (pictured left) may be the kind of thing for you. This cake is stunning and the simplicity really is key to it’s beauty. Three tiers of Victoria Sponge cake sandwiched with Raspberry Jam and Madagascan Vanilla buttercream, this cake will provide you with approx. 90 portions, comes decorated with fresh flowers and fresh fruit with satin ribbon round the base of each tier and costs only £295!

Although we think this cake is perfect in vanilla, it is also available in chocolate sponge as well as other flavours such as lemon.

Alternatively, if you love chocolate, why not make this the basis for your cake. Chocolate covered cakes can be a bit more expensive but really add a luxurious wow-factor to your day.

Myth #4: We've no idea what we want, there's no way we're ready to order a cake yet!

We meet some clients who know exactly what they want, it may be they’ve seen it on the internet or in a magazine that catches their eye. We also meet some clients who don’t know where to start! This really isn’t a problem, during your cake consultation, we take you through a design process where we ask you questions about the rest of your wedding. During your wedding planning, you’re constantly making choices about things that shape the look of your big day and we bring all of these together to make sure your cake suits your big day and your personalities perfectly!

Myth #5: We just need a cake for the photos

We’ve met some clients who are just looking for a cake because it’s on the list of things they need so they can have a lovely photo stood next to it! Nothing makes my heart sink more! We believe that every aspect of your wedding is important and should be personal to you and your day. Whether it’s from the Couture range or the Simply range, no two Marie Antoinette cakes have EVER been identical. The consultation process is about us listening to you, getting to understand the feel of your wedding and what you want for your cake and making sure we provide you with that!

We love nothing more than doing a complete one-off bespoke design that’s really quirky but these are really few and far between. For those of us that are a bit more conventional, your cake can be personalised in colour choices, flowers, ribbons, cake toppers, piping detail and all other manner of things. We can incorporate details from your wedding stationery, dress, table decorations, even hobbies and interests that you both share – if you happen to have a gorgeous little scotty dog for example, why not get him represented on the wedding cake?

It’s the little things throughout your big day that all add up to make it special!

Myth #6: Wedding cakes are fruitcake and I hate fruitcake!

The number of couples who are surprised when I tell them their wedding cake can be any flavour they desire, shocks me. It wasn’t long ago that we were all reluctantly eating fruitcake at weddings and it pains me to say, not always good fruitcake either, we’ve all endured dry crumbly and tasteless fruitcake and unfortunately it has developed quite a bad reputation! Our fruitcake is a Rich Brandy Fruitcake and it is delicious and very moreish! Because we use brandy and lots of rich fruit, it is the most expensive cake we make but we do believe more people would actually like fruitcake if they all tasted like ours!

That said, our most popular four wedding cake flavours are as follows;

Victoria Sponge with Raspberry Jam and Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Truffle with Chocolate Ganache Buttercream

Luscious Lemon with Lemon Syrup and Lemon Curd Buttercream

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Butterscotch with Toffee Buttercream

However, we can make any cake flavour and always ask clients which flavours they would like to try at their consultation so if you have a particular love for carrot cake for example, let us know and we’ll bring it along! Recently we were asked if we could do a butterscotch cake (for the groom, the bride was not keen). We said of course and were delighted when both the bride and groom loved it and have now chosen it for their cake!
Myth #7: The whole cake has to be the same flavour
The simple answer is “no way”!! We haven’t done a wedding cake yet which has all been the same flavour and always encourage clients to choose more than one flavour. Not everyone likes the same thing and it’s great to be able to serve several different flavours for your guests to enjoy!

As cake flavours can differ in price, having a mix of flavours can also help to balance the cost of your cake. A more expensive cake flavour for a smaller tier balanced with a large tier in a sponge can bring the cake into budget.

Myth #8: The cake is served after the speeches

The traditional approach is for the cake to be cut after speeches, and then handed out to guests with their coffee at the end of the meal. Though this is traditional, we advise against it. You’ve just served your guests canap├ęs followed by a three course meal and no one will have room for cake. As much as I love cake, I dread to think of the amount of times I’ve declined cake at a wedding when it was served this way and can remember seeing lots of cake going in the bin (gasp)!

A more sensible approach is to kick start your evening reception my cutting the cake, this way ALL of your guests get to see this and take photos! Your caterer then cuts the cake to be served in the evening. With all that drinking and dancing, guests often get hungry again in the evening and a quick sugar hit can keep that dance floor full right to the end of the night!
Myth #9: We're having a small wedding so only need a small cake
While you will need to consider the number of guests when coming up with your cake design, you also need to think about the height of the finished product. If your cake will be displayed in a grand setting with high ceilings, three-tiers will be lost very quickly in the space. Simple options such as separator tiers or polystyrene dummy tiers covered in sugarpaste and decorated as per the rest of your cake can add height and grandeur to your cake for very little extra.

Myth #10: We'd like chocolate but surely this is going to be expensive?

Yes chocolate itself is expensive but there are options that can be fairly quick to decorate which therefore reduces the cost in comparison to the time taken to decorate an iced cake. Options include chocolate cups filled with layers of cake and buttercream and topped with fresh fruit (pictured right), cake covered in buttercream and chocolate cigarillos (pictured below) or cake completely covered in chocolate and decorated with chocolate roses and other decorations.

As with iced cakes, the prices can vary depending what cake flavours you choose and how detailed the decoration is so it’s always worth asking for quotes, it’s you big day so if your heart is set on chocolate don’t assume you can’t afford it!

If I could give you just one piece of advice when it comes to choosing your wedding cake, it would be not to neglect this wonderful and integral part of your celebration. It just isn’t a party unless there is a cake and this is your one chance to completely indulge in the cake of your dreams!
Let Them Eat Cake!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Luxurious White Chocolate & Fresh Fruit Wedding Cake

This weekend I went up to Eaves Hall near Clitheroe to deliver the wedding cake for Becca & Jack. I first met Becca whilst volunteering in Uganda back in 2003 so was really excited to make a wedding cake for her wedding to the lovely Jack.
As they had chosen a navy blue colour scheme, we decided to team this up with gorgeous white chocolate for a luxurious effect.

During their cake consultation, the Bride & Groom tasted our most popular cake flavour and opted for the following to serve to their guests;
Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
Luscious lemon with Lemon Curd Buttercream
Victoria Sponge with Raspberry Jam and Madagascan Vanilla Buttercream

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Pilkington, have a great honeymoon!! x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Astley Bank Boutique Wedding Show

On Friday evening I drove up to the lovely Astley Bank Hotel in Lancashire to exhibit at the Boutique Wedding Show.

The hotel's lovely orangery was the setting for my stand and I was fortunate to be in-between to fabulous stands, Miranda Templeton Tiaras and Rebecca Karen Wedding Design . If you're getting married, a visit to both of these ladies websites is a must!

Also there with some stunning dresses was Claire Louise Brides , Lancashire Sweet Buffet and St Leonards Wedding Cars .

We had a great time meeting everyone and hearing about the plans for their special day and were really happy that everyone loved our cake designs so much!

The two most popular designs of the night were definitely Simply Sparkles and Olivia.

Dates for consultations are filling fast and we can't wait to see which cake designs people choose so Get In Touch to book yours!!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Marie Antoinette Cake!

Well for some time now I've been dying to do a Marie Antoinette styled cake and it seemed really necessary given the name of the business!

So my third and final entry into last weekend's Cake International competition was in the wedding cake category.


This cake is 8 tiers, three of which were gilded in edible gold leaf.

The other 5 tiers were covered in gorgeous shades of pastels. There were then three layers of small pink roses with gilded gold leaves and two large-bloomed pink roses on top.

Even though this cake didn't win any prizes, I think it looks fabulous and I love it!

Vintage Hat Box Cake!

As well as the silver-leaf cake that won a Silver Award, I also entered two other cakes into last weekend's Cake International competition classes at Event City, Manchester.


My second award was for a Mother's Day Hat Box cake which was decorated in a vintage style with a pastel green hat box with a blush pink lace effect.

The cake was then decorated with a pretty sugar flower spray and large sugar bow on the lid, along with a lovely sugar luggage tag with a hand-piped message along with a string of pearls and brooches round the base of the cake.


My Award Winning Cake!

This weekend was Cake International's first visit to Manchester so I decided to enter my first ever Cake Decorating competition. I entered three competition classes and dropped them off early Friday morning at Event City. The standard of cakes being delivered was amazing and some of the designs incredible, particularly in the Novelty Cakes.

As I went round the exhibition itself (spending a small fortune on cake decorating supplies including my fabulous new DinkyDoodle Airbrush kit) I saw the judges going round the competition area, scrupulously inspecting and scoring each cake so I really didn't expect to get awarded with anything.

Imagine my shock and delight on Saturday afternoon when I found out that two of my three cake entries had won awards, one a Silver award and one a Merit.

My Silver Award was for this gorgeous celebration cake, decorated with edible silver leaf, a pretty blush pink lace border and a wonderfully huge blush pink rose, which apparently had lovely movement!!


Monday, 4 March 2013

Wedding Cakes Galore!

Yesterday Marie Antoinette Cakes exhibited at The Wedding Show Company's wedding fayre in Didsbury.

We met some lovely engaged couples along with their families and really enjoyed hearing about their wedding plans!
On show on the Marie Antoinette Cake stand were some of our Couture Wedding Cakes, some very chic looking Simply Antoinette Wedding Cakes and some pretty Wedding Cupcakes.

We also greeted our visitors with a choice of wedding cake samples to try and as usual, they certainly got mouths watering!

Also on hand were some other great wedding suppliers including , , , and
If you visited our stand on Sunday and want to book in for one of our complimentary, no obligation Wedding Cake Consultations then Get In Touch , we'd love to hear from you!

Rachel x

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today I delivered a birthday cake for the lovely Ella who is turning 9, her Mum told me she's a complete chocoholic and wanted a white chocolate cake with LOTS of chocolate on it!
So we decided on a main cake which was four layers of white chocolate mud cake, sandwiched with white chocolate ganache buttercream and then covered in layers of white chocolate and drizzled with 70% dark chocolate.
I made some beautiful roses from modelling chocolate and then moulded a number nine and Ella's name which were then sprinkled with edible glitter.
For the top of the cake, I stacked pink marshmallows with a selection of minstrels and maltesers!
 To accompany the main cake, I made 6 lemon cupcakes topped with a swirl of white chocolate ganache buttercream and 6 chocolate cupcakes topped with a swirl of dark chocolate ganache buttercream.

These were then topped with more handmade roses, minstrels and maltesers.


 I'm really pleased with how this cake turned out, I particularly love the cupcakes, the mini roses look so pretty, they'd be perfect for a wedding on a huge cupcake tower!
Happy 9th Birthday Ella, hope you enjoy all the chocolatey goodness!!

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