How Sweet It Is

A far cry from the traditional necessity it once represented, wedding cakes have become an adventure in flavour and an expression of originality. René Hart speaks with Sarah-Jane Wicks from Cake That! about how cake inspiration can come from non-obvious sources to create a truly unique dessert.

Whether your wedding style is modern or traditional, your cake sets the tone and adds the finishing touch to your nuptials. It’s also an opportunity to showcase a confectionary delight that guests will admire and appreciate. After all, the cutting of the cake is one of the final formalities and it’s also the last thing on the menu, so guests are sure to remember it.

There are many aspects that can inspire the theme of a wedding cake; some brides will bring the lace from their wedding dress to a baker to create a very elegant and extravagant cake, while some couples may have fallen in love with a countryside scene and will want their cake adorned with colourful blooms. Traditionally, your wedding cake would take a cue from your dress and be predominantly white, but thanks to some of Queensland’s incredible cake artists and bakers, you can now draw inspiration from all walks of life to ensure your cake is designed and created to represent you and your partner.

Cake That! was established around 15 years ago by Wicks, who has worked as a chef for one of Brisbane’s premier five-star hotels. After years of making cakes for family and friends, Wicks knew that creating gorgeous cakes was her passion. Being both a qualified chef and pastry chef means that she has sound knowledge and a solid background for creating and delivering quality cakes. Working with couples to create their special unique wedding centrepiece underlined that her creativity in cake design was her true calling. “My favourite part of the job is working with fabulous clients who trust and appreciate the work that goes into making a stunning cake,” says Wicks. “I am blessed to work with people who are celebrating the happiest times of their lives, and furthermore, I get to provide them with cake!”

Peering Into The Process

Wicks offers a truly bespoke service that far exceeds what is traditionally expected of a cake designer. By working closely with the couple, she’s able to draw inspiration from almost anything to create a truly unique confection. “I offer private consultations in my home studio in Alderley, where I sit down and learn about my customers so that I can create a cake that truly suits them,” says Wicks. “Once I sit down and meet with the clients, we discuss how the cake is to be served, whether it is the main dessert or a token piece, as well as the venue and room that it will be displayed in. I try to discover what sort of people my clients are, the things that they like, and what signifies them. From there, I draw up some designs to see if we are connecting, we discuss what flavours they like, and then they try some cake!”

Talking Trends

With so many fresh and inventive concepts to choose from, finding the perfect cake that’s unique and non-traditional might be easier that you think. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be unique! “I love taking inspiration from gown patterns and invitation designs,” says Wicks.“I love three-dimensional lace and embossed, white-on-white, art deco-style patterns. Designs for cakes ultimately come from the feel of the event they are being created for. It is imperative to match the cake’s design style to the rest of the function’s theme.”

If you are planning to serve your cake as the main dessert, then see if your baker can create a flavour to complement your dinner menu. “If you are hosting your wedding in a restaurant that focusses on local seasonal produce, have your cake tie in with this,” Wicks says. “Deliver something spectacular and so moreish that your guests will forever be talking about the end to such a fabulous celebration.”

Let Nature Nurture

With greenery, blooms and plenty of other natural produce to choose from, nature-inspired wedding cakes are the countryside confections of choice that have guests scrambling to score a slice. In lieu of traditional tiers and classic fondant, brides are opting for subtly stylish wedding cakes with an earthier aesthetic. “With an outdoor garden wedding, the type of cake you choose will be dependent upon the time of year and where your cake will be displayed,” says Wicks. “Incorporating loads of flowers and greenery can make for a magnificent centrepiece.”

Similarly, if you plan to exchange vows by the sea, Wicks says couples should forget the typical blue cake with seashells and opt for something more unique. “If you want to keep your beach wedding stylish, look into designs with sharp edges and creative floral, vine or tortured willow sprays.”

Dig Deep

When it comes to finding inspiration for your wedding cake, take some time to think about how you can create a concept that describes your relationship with the one you’re about to marry. More importantly, Wicks suggests enlisting a professional baker who’ll be able to bring this concept to life. “When choosing a decorator, find someone who really takes interest in you and your day, and someone who is looking to make something special and values the importance of the celebration,” she says.

Wicks’ final piece of advice is to simply “have fun and choose a cake that suits you”. Let your wedding cake be a token of your personality and the highlight of your special day, and remember that inspiration can be found in even the smallest of places!

Image Credit: Leigh Warner Weddings