Expert advice about cakes

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Surrey Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Just one slice

Just one slice

Q. My wife-to-be and I want to incorporate the festive season into our wedding cake. Can you suggest any flavours or decorations?

A. Jo Harper says: Do you prefer a more traditional look with reds, greens and golds, or are you after a more modern theme with blues, whites and silvers? Either will make a stunning cake design and tie in with your theme perfectly.

If you've opted for a more traditional bake, why not incorporate some beautiful shades of red with roses, styled with deep green ivy and holly leaves? Add gold accents with edible gold leaf, which will create a glamorous feel. If this is too bold for you, then pair it back by swapping the red roses for cream roses and bringing in small touches of red with holly berries.

Alternatively, those of you who are more swayed towards the winter wonderland style, there are so many shades of blue you could choose from. Keep the flowers simple with an all-white display and let the cake make the impact with some edible glitter or silver leaf that will catch the light beautifully. If you prefer paler blue tones, then look for glitter details, snowflakes embossed into the icing and 3D snowflakes to add depth and dimension.

When it comes to what's inside the cake, why not delight and surprise your guests with some flavours that immediately make you think of Christmas, such as chocolate orange, gingerbread spice or chocolate and Irish cream?

Jo Harper,The Jo Harper Cake Company


Budget saver

Budget saver

Q. We want a grand wedding cake that will wow our guests without breaking the bank. Do you have any ideas on how we can cut down the costs?

A. Shenaz Lake-Thomas says: To achieve a grand cake, you need to think carefully about labour costs. These will be greater depending on which decorations you choose. For example, if you want an adornment of sugar flowers, these can take days to make with extras needed incase any break.

To make the design taller you could add iced polystyrene dummies, but remember making the various embellishments does take time and therefore money.

Decorate your creation with sugar pieces, ribbons or fresh flowers. You could also have oblong cutting cakes which will be served to your guests. These are large pieces which are iced plain and can be filled without any icing to help cut down the costs.

Pieces such as toppers and figures could also save you money, but keep in mind some of these can be quite generic.

Shenaz Lake-Thomas,Lake Thomas Cakes


Just one slice

Just one slice

Q. My wife-to-be and I want a cake that's on-trend. What's popular right now?

A. Shenaz Lake-Thomas says: Naked and semi-naked cakes have been a popular trend for the past few years. It's great for clients who don't like soft icing, and can be decorated with fresh flowers, herbs and fruit. The individual tiers can be flavoured differently to give your guests a variety to choose from.

Another trend is buttercream bakes. These are suitable for all weddings, but if you're getting married in the summer make sure it's stored in a very cool place. You can adorn your bake with blooms, fruit, sugar decorations and quirky toppers.

Iced (sugar paste) cakes are still popular and marbled patterns with metallic elements can be a great way of contrasting your décor.

Shenaz Lake-Thomas,Lake Thomas Cakes


Oh crumbs!

Oh crumbs!

Q. How can we incorporate our summer-themed wedding into our cake?

A. Shenaz Lake-Thomas says: Now you've decided on a theme the next step is to think about how to decorate it. Decide whether you want an iced, buttercream, semi-naked, or naked wedding cake.

- Use flowers, flavours, textures or icing to incorporate your theme. Blooms such as peonies, roses, sunflowers and foliage are great options. Alternatively, you could adorn the bake with ribbons paired with summer flowers.

- Colours play an important part in your design. Use bright colour such as yellow, cream or orange both inside and out.

Shenaz Lake-Thomas,Lake Thomas Cakes


Colour pop

Colour pop

Q. My wife-to-be and I love strong colours and want something unusual for our cake. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Nia Cummings says: If you love strong colours, then go for it! It's not an unusual choice anymore with lots of couples moving away from pastels in favour of statement hues. Painted cakes, strong concrete-like metallics, cakes that follow the lines of the bride's dress, designs rooted in modern art, sculptures and patterns are all great places to start if you're thinking about trying something different.

I love mixing the traditional with the unexpected. Huge, bold coloured sugar-flowers against a traditional, white canvas can look amazing. I'm also a firm believer that anything can be made to look beautiful. I've nestled flags, family silhouettes, models of the wedding venue, sketches of significant places amongst beautiful flowers and clean designs. There's no reason why you can't add vibrant personality to simple elegance.

If you're after something bespoke, I would stop looking at cakes and go for a walk together and see what flowers, textures and colours take your fancy. Alternatively, think about a painting that you love or a place you have travelled to and ask your cake designer to incorporate elements of it into your design. I based my wedding cake around some old wallpaper, everything from the buttonholes to the stationery had a tiny hint of it running through. I have built my brand on the whole idea that every cake tells a story, so think about what reflects you and find a designer that can tell your story.

Nia Cummings,Cakes by Nia Cummings


Just one slice

Just one slice

Q. We'd love to have a luxurious cake on our big day, but we're worried about the price tag. Do you have any ideas for keeping the cost down?

A. Achintha Illukkumbura says: - Keep it simple.

- Serve your cake as dessert.

- Opt for a sponge creation, as more adventurous flavours cost more.

- Use fake tiers. This will give the appearance of a larger bake without the hefty price tag.

Achintha Illukkumbura


Summer loving

Summer loving

Q. We're having a summer wedding and would love to incorporate the season into our cake. Do you have any ideas?

A. Shenaz Lake-Thomas says: - Think about where you'll be holding your reception as the weather can affect the overall appearance of the cake.

- If you've chosen an iced, buttercream, chocolate, naked or semi-naked design, then you'll need to display the bake in a cool area. If you're unable to do this, then consider storing your showstopper somewhere cold and bringing it out during the reception.

- Summer produces a variety of beautiful flowers and fruits. Fresh blooms look stunning and will tie in with your theme perfectly.

- Incorporate bright yellows, oranges, pinks and pastels.

- Decorate your creation with textures such as ribbon or lace.

Shenaz Lake-Thomas

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