Selecting the Perfect Cake

Anyone who is organising a wedding or who has organised a wedding in the past will know that selecting a supplier or service provider is one of the hardest things to do. So to help you out I have decided to start an expert series. I will be interviewing wedding experts over the next few months to try and make the process as smooth as possible.

Back in May last year while attending a Polkadot dreaming wedding clinic event I secretly may have indulged in a few cake samples that where on a table at the entrance next to some amazing cake designs and my mouth fell in love. So with out doubt I had to find out more about them, which is why I could not wait to start off our expert series by interviewing the brains, imagination and skills behind the magnificent cakes.

Last month I had the pleasure of Interviewing the award wining Tracy Desmond from Trace Of Cakes, and this is what she had to say.

Please tell me about your company and how you got started?

Well a few years ago I met my now fabulous husband Kevin and I decided to try and make him a cake in the shape of a UPS truck (he works for UPS of course.) It turned out ok (good for a first attempt, but ashamed to show anyone now lol). But I had full confidence in myself that I would get better at it. So Kev sent me off on a few sugarcraft courses and with the help of my family, here I am! We always baked with Dad at home when we were younger, as well as being good at art, painting, sculpting, gelling the two together just worked.

What have been your favourite cake designs to date?

One of my favourites would be Lisa Cannons wedding cake (Xposé TV3) which we personally delivered to Florence Italy and of course Suzanne Jacksons (SoSueMe)And also an airbrushed dragon I made a few years back. But honestly, I love most of the cakes I make, especially when people think outside the box and I can become a bit more creative

How far in advance should Couples order their Wedding Cake?

This has a broad time frame really. I have many orders booked already for 2020, but I’ve also had a few calls last week for weddings this May. Cutting it fine, timewise though, as Communions really take over that month.

But in all, once I’m not fully booked out for the week, I’m good to go.

How do couples choose a design?

Choosing a design is very hard these days. So many couples find a few they like online and I just blend the details together. The one thing I think that sets me apart from some other cake designers is that I can provide a sketch of the finished design when asked to. Or I can design a complete original. I just love it! My portfolio is on social media too, through Facebook, Instagram etc.

What do you think the latest Wedding Cake trends have been and are to come?

Wedding cake trends haven’t moved much in the last few years. I think couples decide on the theme of their day, and cake reflects the theme. Lace and vintage styles will never age, naked cakes and semi iced are still going strong. But metallics are big at the moment with a splash of both bold colours and pastels. I must say though I hate the geode cakes. But I strive to create a one of a kind for the big day. I prefer to have cakes on display, not put in a corner. Your wedding cake should be a focal point, a talking point, one to remember. I love to create a full table decor, and really show off your cake. After all, you pay enough for them, and you’ve worked hard to have the day of your dreams. So show off your cakes!!!

Do you supply cake stands & knifes with the cakes?

All hotels have cake knives really. So I don’t supply those. I do have cake stands available to rent, but most couples opt for the hotel cake stand. Some of which are just beautiful, others are just a box with table cloth over it! Cmon hotels, update your stands haha

What should couples be aware of when picking their fillings?

When choosing a flavour, it’s tough, as I have so many. Again, like the design, there is so much to choose from. Some of my flavours have been awarded Irish food awards, which I worked hard to achieve. Biscuit cakes are just great though. A few years ago I was the first to create the White Chocolate biscuit cake, which now has become so popular. My recipes again, are the result of many trials, but they are now so popular, like my new toffee popcorn biscuit cake, or my white chocolate and raspberry. That’s probably the most popular now from Trace of Cakes. Totally original flavours, and unique to my business only.

Choosing fresh fruit is fine, but it leaves me with a very short time frame which is fine, but be careful when thinking of fresh fruit for a wedding cake display mid August in 25 degree temp. 

Can you make sugar flowers and do you partner with florists?

Yes I make sugar flowers, I love it, it’s very time consuming, but the end result is beautiful.

I sure do use the same florist most of the time. But couples tend to find photos online, with fresh flowers and go with that look. The only thing to be aware of is, some flowers cause vomiting if they come into contact with food. Roses are fine, but some flowers are poisonous . Just be careful when choosing your cake florals. 

How far in advance are cakes made and what is the delivery process?

Preparing to bake a wedding cake is almost a week long process. Mondays are spent ordering materials and starting to make flowers, toppers etc

Tuesdays are the same really. Wednesdays I bake my biscuit cakes. Thursdays sponges. And start putting together the tiers, all ready for decoration. Fridays and Saturdays are mixed with deliveries and final designs

Delivery, well I’ve delivered far , from Ballincollig, all of Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick, Kildare, Kilkenny, Dublin, Wicklow and of course Florence. Some days I might have a few weddings cakes on the same day. That’s no problem at all for me as I would be quite organised, and my husband is a logistics wiz, so it all works.

How are cakes priced?

Many couples ask pricing first, which is hard to give, as every single cake is so very different from the next. It’s like asking “how much is a car?”

But I try to give a guide price, once I know all of the elements and designs, sizes to how many tiers. Pricing reflects the amount of work involved in the detail too. One cake may take a day to design, and another may take a week, hence the price difference.

Do you include the cake topper?

Cake toppers, I’m not a huge fan of the bride and groom 🙈. But Hey, we are all different. You can purchase the most beautiful toppers now in Ireland, and I give couples my recommended list. It really depends on the cake design doesn’t it?

Finally have you any other tips or advice for couples who plan on ordering a Wedding Cake?

Best tip I can give is to go to Trace of Cakes 🤣

No, I suppose, do your research, google, know your theme, colours. Ask yourself, do you prefer the simple look, or the novelty fun designs, or blend them both. And I will simply take it from there. And don’t forget, I can make a cake for any budget. Some couples don’t care about the cake, others it’s all about the dress and the cake lol. I also provide cake consultations, so do contact me to book a time slot and we can have a good chat about all of the detail. It’s really a very quick process.

Trace of Cakes: Email: Tel: 086 330 0555.


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