If you are about to start the search for your wedding cake in Scotland, take note of these pointers from some top Scottish cake makers, covering everything from flavours to on-the-day practicalities
Book your cake designer ASAP
“Book early, design later,” says Moira Chirara at The Wedding Cake Studio in Lanarkshire. “Couples are planning their big day as far as two years in advance now, so getting a date reserved right off the bat is advisable,” she says.
Arrange a first consultation to chat about your plans
Venue and approximate party size will have a direct bearing on your cake requirements, so these should be discussed on your first appointment. Ask as many questions as possible.
“Get an idea of cost, what size of cake you’d need for your guest numbers, whether delivery and set-up is included, and when this would take place,” says Laura Japp, owner of Jappacakes in Lanarkshire. “And when you commit to a supplier, you should be given a clear contract with terms and conditions that outline all of this.”
Ask what your cake is made from
Not all wedding cakes are created equal it seems…“Ask if your cake will be freshly baked from scratch – you need to check the company doesn’t use cake mix,” says Claire Davidson of Liggy’s Cake Company, which has boutiques in Stockbridge and Bearsden. “Unless budget is your main concern, it’s nicer to have real cake rather than something out of a packet.”
It’s also worth asking if your baker ever works with pre-frozen sponges, as this would affect whether you could freeze leftovers after the wedding.
Think about how you want your cake to look
“My couples come in for a design consultation (and tasting) around three to six months before the wedding – trends are always changing, so I like to leave it as long as possible,” says Laura Lane, who runs Aberdeenshire cake shop Love Laura Lane. “I ask them to bring along as much as they can for inspiration: invites, colour schemes, moodboards from Pinterest and pictures of the dresses.”
Not whatever the weather
“Weather is definitely a big factor when selecting a cake,” says Moira at The Wedding Cake Studio. “On hot summer days, the last thing anyone wants is a buttercream number sitting in direct sunlight all day. You also need to think about where the cake is going to be displayed and how long for, to check whether it will be exposed to heat or light. A good cake designer would (where possible) make a site visit to an unfamiliar venue so they can see what they’re dealing with.”
Marquee weddings take special heed
Think about all those Great British Bake Off calamities when the temperature rises in its tent…“Marquees can be notoriously tricky for cakes due to the unpredictable humidity and temperature inside – especially in Scotland,” warns Claire at Liggy’s Cake Company. “For a summer marquee wedding, we’d suggest avoiding elaborate chocolate work and heavy sugar flowers combined with soft buttercream.”
Pass the taste test
It goes without saying that you want your cake to taste as good as it looks. Thankfully Scottish bakers will usually ply you with sponge samples until you find the flavour combination that’s right for you. “My tastings usually take an hour and clients get to sample five of my most popular flavours,” says Laura Lane.
Most cake makers will offer a core range – featuring options like vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and fruit cake – but many will have more adventurous flavours in their repertoire. Just ask.
“I have recently launched a new flavour list which includes traditional flavours like Victoria sponge with raspberry but also some more interesting combinations like Snickers and Biscoff,” says Nicola Moffat, who runs Borders’ cake studio, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art.
Do your research when it comes to food allergies and intolerances
“I can accommodate dairy-free and vegan requests, but it’s a bit trickier when it comes to allergies,” says Laura Lane. “My kitchen is very small and at risk of cross-contamination, so I don’t offer this service. I’m always very honest with my clients and will usually recommend bakers who specialise in that area.”
Transportation and set-up
“Our bakes are always delivered in separate tiers, in food-safe boxes specifically made for transporting wedding cakes,” explains Laura Japp at Jappacakes. “They go in the back of our van on non-slip mats, and we don’t add the final dressings and flowers until we get to the site.”
Attention to detail
“I encourage couples to consider where the cake will be sitting on the day and if they would like the cake table/area to be styled – there’s nothing worse than having your beautiful cake sitting in front of a fire extinguisher or a cracked wall,” says Nicola at Ruby and Pearl Cake Art.