Butter and Bodoni: 10 Things to Consider when Designing a Bespoke Cake

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Supplier Takeover: Butter & Bodoni
Est. 2019︱Edinburgh, Scotland
We asked talented confectionery artist Lauren Rand, the face behind Butter and Bodoni to put together this guest post for us on the 10 things to consider when designing your bespoke wedding cake. Butter and Bodoni specialise in modern cakes with a focus on design, style and sugar artistry.

For couples, designing the look and aesthetic of your wedding cake can be as exciting as it is daunting. With so much visual inspiration available these days, narrowing down your ever-growing Pinterest moodboard into cohesive ideas can be a challenge for some. It can also leave couples wondering where to begin and possibly unsure of how to work with a cake designer. As the owner and cake designer at Butter & Bodoni I want to help demystify the process of creating a bespoke cake and offer some helpful tips so you can have your cake and eat it too!
1) Choose the right designer for you 
First and foremost, find a designer who speaks to your style and to your aesthetic. If you’re looking to incorporate a specific technique in your design be sure that they are skilled in that style of work. Some cake designers are incredibly skilled in the art of buttercream but don’t create fondant cakes. Others are preferable to textural fondant work over smooth, clean edges.

Some make sugar flowers, others prefer fresh. Finding the right designer will make the entire process easier because you’ll be starting on common ground and speaking the same language. To find a designer that’s a good fit for you look at their portfolio, get a feeling for what they’re like through their social media and feel free to ask them questions. I love it when a couple sends along photos of techniques they love, asking me if I can create that look. It could be a technique I’ve done recently but not had the opportunity to put on my social media yet. Or, it could be that it’s a technique or style that’s not in line with my brand. In that case, I am always happy to refer them to another cake designer because they’ll have a much better experience working with someone who really gets their style.
2) When to begin the design process 
Though you may want to book your cake designer well in advance to ensure you save your date, you most likely will not begin work on your cake design straight away. It’s much better to begin the design process a little further down the line, once you have a solid idea of your colours, florals and overall aesthetic. The further down the creative path you go the more your ideas will evolve and grow. You can always reach out early with initial ideas – I love to talk through colours and themes with my couples early on – but the more inspiration you have and the more you’ve worked through other elements of your wedding the easier it will be to create a cake that will complement the event.
3) Be mindful of your budget 
Bespoke work does come at a higher cost than purchasing a ready-made design as there is a lot more time and skill woven into the process. Designers who have spent years cultivating their style and honing their skills will charge a premium for their services to reflect their experience. That being said, it is still possible to work within a budget. Approaching your designer with a realistic budget at the beginning of the process will help them to create designs that are within your budget so as not to lead to any disappointment. Every cake designer has their own pricing structure so either check their website or reach out for a quote to get an idea of their pricing.
4) Gather all kinds of inspiration 
When I’m designing a bespoke cake for a couple there are often times when the most obscure inspiration can be hugely important in informing the overall design. It’s important to see certain styles and techniques on cakes that couples love and are drawn to, but a photo of a beautiful Parisienne façade from a dream honeymoon can tell me a lot about the couple and their vibe as well. Architectural elements of that Parisienne façade could be used on the cake to create something truly unique and imaginative and a design that’s even more meaningful for them. The smallest things often say the most about you so include a variety of images in your moodboard, especially ones that evoke the mood or the tone of the event that you’re hoping to achieve.
5) Know your colours 
I am mental about colour. The human eye can discern around a million different colours so when someone says to me that their colour scheme is blush, well I’m going to need a bit more than that! Be sure to supply your designer with realistic representations of the colours in your theme. Even better if these are actual swatches of bridesmaid dresses or fabrics from the event as colours on screen can differ widely. I have my own swatches and colour chips that I bring out during consultations to help me get a clear idea of the colour palette, and I reference that palette throughout the design process.
6) Use strong trends sparingly 
The wedding industry is a hugely creative space and new trends are emerging all the time. Some trends are quite subtle and indicative of the industry simply evolving over time. Things like more laid-back table styling – sans chair covers – and event spaces that are more free-form and open are ways in which the industry is evolving and not necessarily overtly “trendy” wedding styles. Saying that, there are more intentional and bold trends that are meant to shake up the industry with something fresh, exciting and new. If you’re considering getting bold with a trend consider a few areas or aspects of the wedding that you’ll highlight that trend and other areas where you’ll compliment it. Visually overdoing a trend can leave yours guests feeling a bit exhausted. So, consider if you’ll incorporate those trends into your cake design or simply have the cake contrast with the trendy space that it’s existing within.
7) Leave room for the designer to surprise you 
While you may have a very specific vision (and that is wonderful, as a designer and a certified control enthusiast I fall into that category all too often) be aware that leaving room for your designer to surprise can lead to incredible work. I’ll often include along with the sketches related to the designs we discussed, another sketch or two that I think will surprise the couple or give them another angle on their theme. Sometimes the designer will see something different or a way to take a concept further and it may lead to something you love even more.
8) Don’t be afraid to ask for revisions 
There may be time required for the design to evolve, and that’s ok. Sometimes seeing a sketch or a rough design prompts further ideas and inspiration. Don’t be afraid ask the designer to develop any ideas further or to create new designs altogether. Creating a bespoke design is a process, one which we designers truly love. All we want at the end of the day is for you to be completely blown away with your cake. Everything in between is part of the process of getting to that moment.
9) Do you want to blend in or stand out? 
Pinterest is a fantastic resource for wedding inspiration. There are so many eager pinners creating seemingly endless moodboards based on colour schemes and wedding themes. Sometimes though, these moodboards can sell you the idea that everything needs to match and be totally cohesive. It’s worth considering if you’d like the cake to be part of the same colour story/theme or if you’d like the cake to contrast or stand out from the rest of the event. I worked with a couple who originally were entertaining the thought of a cake with very moody dark elements as the theme was Paintings of the Dutch Masters. But, in the end we went with a very stark, very simple white cake with a white velvet ribbon and textural sugar crystal accents. This way, the cake stood out amongst all of the other dark and moody styling. The cake in and of itself was not overly dramatic but when paired with a very dark and dramatic setting it stood out far more than it would have if it had completely matched the rest of the styling.
10) Displaying the cake 
Your cake is a bespoke work of art and it should be prominently displayed for your guests to enjoy! Speak with your venue co-ordinator or your stylist about where you would like to display the cake to ensure that it’s safe and suits the venue. The placement of the cake should be away from excess heat such as radiators and in a safe spot on a sturdy table. Most venues have their own silver cake stands on which to display the cake, but if silver isn’t in your style or doesn’t suit your theme have a conversation with your cake designer as they’ll be able to guide you in choosing a stand that will bear the weight of a tiered wedding cake and fit in with the aesthetic. Also, consider other design elements that you can bring into the cake table. You could ask your florist to create some beautiful florals to surround the cake or even add some personal mementos around the cake to create a conversation piece. You want your guests to indulge in the experience of seeing your cake, after all it’s made just for you! Your guests will fawn over it, keen to see the inspiration in the design and how it reflects in you, the couple.
If you're in the mood for cake after reading this, you can treat yourself to a Butter and Bodoni cake sample boxCheck out the Butter and Bodoni blog for lots more tips on choosing your wedding cake.

From Brides, With Love xo

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