No longer is it simply a choice of how many tiers or whether or not you’d like fruit or chocolate, now the humble wedding cake sits on top of its perch, a beacon of marriage, a picture of taste and an artistic showcase – and so it should! Brides and Grooms from around the world are putting much more effort into creating a spectacular cake whether it be on the inside, or the outside, that suits them and their style.
And talented unique wedding cake designers are starting to pop-up in home studios around the UK. With backgrounds and expertise in fields that couldn’t be further from the baking industry, like today’s stunning showcase by the amazingly uber-talented, Claire Kemp from Claire Kemp Cake Studio. Claire has a background in Architecture! Yep, you heard it right… architecture to baking!!! Who’d a thought it right? Well wait until you see her spectacular creations. She is breaking tradition and using her inspiration from her love for design and architecture and injecting the ‘wow’ factor into her unique wedding cakes.
The unique wedding cake
Claire in the hotseat:
What would be your top tip for Brides when thinking about the kind of wedding cake they’d like?
My top tip when thinking about your wedding cake would be, don’t be afraid to be creative! If you can get married wearing flowery wellies in a farmer’s field or take your vows while circulating on a big wheel by the Thames, then your wedding cake really doesn’t have to be a three tier cake covered in white icing with a bit of ribbon wrapped around it!
I like to combine different colours, forms, proportions, textures and graphics in my designs. For example the Mr & Mrs cake in my new wedding collection presents a twist on the US tradition of having a bride’s cake, usually a white iced cake, and a novelty groom’s cake. Instead I have created a pair of complimentary cakes designed to sit together with contemporary graphics, bold colours and presented on my bespoke cake stands. No pre-marital arguments over which flavour cake to have – the bride and groom can pick their own!
These cakes above are the culprits that caught my eye and made me investigate who was making these whimsical, ingenious wedding cakes.
If you are thinking of making your own wedding cake then my top tip would definitely be to have a trial run. Creating a tiered cake to serve a couple of hundred guests is quite a different undertaking to making a children’s birthday cake. It takes time, patience, technical knowledge and careful transportation! But don’t be afraid to have a go – just give yourself time to practice!
In your experience are there any particular types of cakes to stay away from?
At the end of the day wedding cakes are made to be eaten and I would steer away from anything that doesn’t make the grade in the taste department!
Instead of buying a pre-iced supermarket cake or one that has been made in a mass production bakery, choose a cake that has been baked especially for your wedding using good quality ingredients. That does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. A lot of the cost of wedding cakes is in the time taken to decorate them so instead choose a simpler design from a good cake maker rather than going with a cake covered in decoration but that tastes disappointing.
In my opinion simpler designs are often much more elegant than those that have had every type of sugar flower, cake topper and piping nozzle thrown at them. And most importantly any good cake maker should let you sample their cakes before you place your order.
What’s been the wackiest cake you’ve ever made?
The most unusual and challenging cake I have made was not a wedding cake but a 1:100 scale cake model of the University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower building. The finished cake was almost 80cm tall and weighed over 50kg! As I studied architecture, I specialise in cakes of buildings, or cakes that are influenced by architectural forms. For example the design of my ‘Fold’ wedding cake, a series of stacked cubes wrapped in crisp ‘folded’ white icing, is influenced by ideas in modern architecture and sculpture.
A little bit of info from Claire Kemp Cake Studio
Claire Kemp Cake Studio was established in 2011 to provide a fresh approach to cake design and creation. Working from her self-designed kitchen studio in Sheffield, former architectural student Claire creates contemporary cakes that reflect her design background and add a real ‘wow’ factor to weddings.
Claire gains design inspiration from the worlds of modern art, architecture, fashion and graphics and is always on the lookout for new ideas; for example the design of the ‘Gradient’ cake from her wedding cake collection was inspired by a dress she saw in a shop window whilst travelling home on the bus! By using skills from her architectural training, such as computer-aided modelling, and experimenting with sugar craft techniques Claire is able to design and make truly original cakes. Her first commission was a 1:100 scale cake model of the University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower building which stood at almost 80cm high and weighed over 50kg!
Claire prides herself on creating cakes that not only look the part, but taste great too. Her most popular flavour combinations include a vanilla sponge layered with vanilla buttercream and strawberry preserve, a rich chocolate brownie cake made with 70% cocoa solids chocolate and filled with dark chocolate buttercream and her personal favourite; a moist carrot cake filled made with rum-soaked sultanas and layered with a delicate orange buttercream.
Claire personally crafts each cake from initial design, to baking and decorating, right through to delivery and final touches at the venue ensuring that each Claire Kemp Cake Studio creation creates a stunning edible centrepiece.
The Wedding Collection
In Spring 2012 Claire Kemp Cake Studio launched a new wedding cake collection presenting a range of contemporary cakes. In an industry dominated by white icing, pink ribbons and frills, Claire set out to create a set of cakes that would provide a new choice for the style-conscious bride and demonstrate the cake possibilities for modern weddings.
The collection includes seven designs, diverse in style, and including daring forms, contemporary graphics, bold use of colour and delicate detailing. Perhaps the most unusual of the cakes is ‘Fold’, a modern crisp white cake decorated with ‘folded’ icing forms reminiscent of origami or art deco architecture. For the up and coming metallic wedding trend Claire has created ‘Gold Leaf’; a trio of cakes adorned with gold-lustred edible roses and petals. All of the cakes can be customised to the couple’s requirements including colour, size and flavour combinations. For a truly unique cake ‘Photo Dot’ offers the opportunity for a printed photograph of the couple’s choice to be abstracted onto the cake surface in repeating circular pattern using edible ink.
Prices for the wedding cake collection start at £325 and can be delivered throughout England and further afield by special request.
As well as offering cakes from her wedding collection, Claire specialises in designing and creating bespoke wedding cakes. She works with couples to understand their wedding style and produces sketches to visualise and refine the cake design. Inspiration for a cake design may be found in the detail of the bridal gown, the graphic design of your wedding stationary, the floral arrangements or any of the individual or quirky details that make a wedding day truly unique.
If only I had the job of Taste Tester 🙂
Enjoy your Tuesday!