Expert advice about cakes

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Bristol and Somerset 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


Sweet spots

Sweet spots

Q. We're having a relaxed wedding in July. What style of cake would suit our day?

A. Leah Coetzee says: For laid-back nuptials, lots of couples would automatically choose a buttercream style – but there are considerations to be made. If the wedding is outside or in a marquee on a hot day, then the cake won't last long in the heat. Timing is key, as you won't be able to have your bake on display all day as the butter content will melt and make it unstable.

Instead, try a traditional ganache and fondant covering as it's much more sturdy. You can still use real flowers to get a summery look, but I recommend sugar flowers as they are long-lasting and can be kept as a memento of the day.

Leah Coetzee,Pretty Cake Creations


Be bold

Be bold

Q. We're having a bold and vibrant wedding. How can we inject this into our cake design?

A. Leah Coetzee says: A great way to add a pop of colour is to use sugar flowers to bring your cake to life. Any shade or type of bloom can be made so you're not tied into seasons. If the flowers are super-realistic, then it gives extra wow factor for your guests when they find out they're edible.

Another way to create a bold design is to opt for an unusual base colour such as black. This creates a dramatic look and gives a great contrast against bright flowers. You could also consider a gold abstract design to give a metallic touch or create texture with ruffles.

Leah Coetzee


A slice of the action

A slice of the action

Q. What flavours and styles of cake work well for a laid-back outdoor summer wedding?

A. Kerry Hemms says: For a more relaxed feel, a naked or semi-naked design would work brilliantly. The only problem is that this style doesn't withstand heat very well. This means that if it's left outside in the sunshine, the edges of the cake may become dry and the filling could melt. To help prevent this, ask for the cake to be filled and covered with either whipped white chocolate ganache or a mix of ganache and buttercream. This'll give a firmer finish, make the cake more stable and keep in the moisture. If possible, a cake like this should be kept in a beer cellar or cold store until the last minute.

When thinking about decoration, sugar flowers would be better than fresh, as they won't wilt. A good cake maker can make florals that look as good as the real thing to match your theme. The best thing is you get to keep them afterwards! Fresh fruit is also a great option. Try strawberries, as their taste improves as they warm up.

In regard to flavours, think about what you love and what's seasonal. Your bake needs to be as spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. Think zesty lemon sponge with tart raspberry compote or a vanilla sponge with strawberries and champagne filling. Both are real crowd-pleasers for sun-filled days.

Kerry Hemms


Sweet spots

Sweet spots

Q. We want a showstopping cake to cut on our big day, but we also want smaller treats for our dessert. What do you suggest, and how much should we budget?

A. Isabelle Boizis says: Sweet tables are growing in popularity, as they allow you to have a centrepiece along with easy-to-eat items for your loved ones throughout the day.

When considering something like this, it's good to keep in mind that every mini cake, cupcake, macaron, etc. will be priced individually, and very often couples don't know how much money the finished table will cost and how many items they need to make it look good.

With this in mind, I've created three packages that allow brides and grooms the option to have matching sweets to go with their big-day bake at a fixed price. I usually offer meringue kisses, macarons and mini cupcakes along with decorated cookies, single-tier bakes and more. The idea is that everything ties in with your theme and palette, and your loved ones get a delicious treat too.

Isabelle Boizis


Floral fancy

Floral fancy

Q. I love pretty floral designs – how can I incorporate this into my cake design without it looking old-fashioned?

A. Mai Bignell says: There are so many trends in cake design that there's no need for it to look outdated. Depending on your taste, there are lots of ways to incorporate flowery touches.

Why not ask for your design to be hand-painted on to fondant? Or try buttercream decoration or flowers crafted from sugar. I think fresh blooms look wonderful on a cake with their pretty natural hues.

I love the white-on-white look, as shown in this photo. I took inspiration from the room that the cake was displayed in, which featured opulent golds and damask patterns. The design was added to the white fondant. Then I inserted beautiful blush pink roses with brushed gold edges for a contemporary statement piece.

Mai Bignell,M Bakery


All things bright and beautiful

All things bright and beautiful

Q. How can I reflect my bright colour scheme in my wedding cake?

A. Ali Walsh says: There are so many ways to make sure your bake complements your chosen colour palette. If you're clever, you can mix some really eclectic colours together such as pink, orange and turquoise. The best way to get this right is with a colour wheel. If you have two colours, choose opposites on the wheel. If you opt for three tones, then they need to form a triangle and so on.

Vibrant ribbons and flowers are an obvious way of dressing your cake, but have you thought about coloured icing? You don't just have to have white or ivory; your designer can match the hue you want. Try a bright fondant icing with lace or sugar flowers in an opposing colour. Another option is to keep a plain base and add coloured stripes for an edgy look.

With Harry and Meghan choosing a buttercream wedding cake, I'm predicting a resurgence of this style. Not only does it taste amazing, but you can also achieve some incredible looks.

Ali Walsh