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Ask The Expert: Jessica MV

Jessica of Floral Cakes by Jesscia MV is an award-winning cake designer known for her elegant wedding cake designs. Here she answers your wedding cake questions.

www.facebook.com/FloralCakesbyJessicaMV

Sketching Wedding Cakes

Q: Do you have any tips on how to sketch wedding cakes for an order? I am not good at drawing!

A: I’m not good at drawing either! What I always do is figure out the structure of the cakes, the techniques to decorate each tier including as many descriptions in keywords as possible and print out the inspiration photos. I also indicate which sugar flowers or toppers will be made and which position on the cake they will be placed so I am reminded when I come back to the projects after loads of work.

Planning

Q: How long in advance before the wedding should I start creating a wedding cake?

A: Sugar flower toppers can be made long before when you have time for them but I often start working on cakes covered in fondant with decorated details a week before. For naked cakes, I bake the cake two days in advance then layer, frost and stack the tiers one day before.

Creating Textures

Q: How can I create impressive textures on my wedding cakes easily?

A: The most effective clues for the textures are the client’s wedding theme: colour palette, invitation designs and textures, the bridal gown design, the major decor items of the wedding…

Setting Up

Q: What tips can you give for setting a wedding cake up at a venue? Should I ask anything in advance?

A: I always visit my client’s wedding venue first, if I can, to be aware of where the cake should be placed. For a cake of three tiers or less, I can manage to deliver on my own with a tool kit to fix it at the venue. For taller, bigger cakes, the tiers will be delivered separately and stacked by my assistants at the venue five hours at the latest before the wedding happens.

Cake Portions

Q: How should I prepare the portions of the wedding cake?

A: I always ask my clients about the size of the portions. In my country, people don’t like eating cakes a lot because traditionally, they are more interested in the main course and desserts are something very light. I always advise couples to think about catering portions for their guests. The servings would be small and the total number of portions would be 20% less than the number of guests invited. But if the clients want the cake to be served as dessert, I will make bigger portions and the number of them must be quite similar to the number of guests. Then, we will finalise the number of tiers and the size of the cake.

Naked Wedding Cake

Q: What tips can you give to creating a naked wedding cake? I don’t know how to make it look impressive!

A: A beautiful naked cake means two things: perfectly baked sponges and freestyle coating of the buttercream or ganache. I will bake sponges with good shapes, frost with delicious icing and finish by random strokes of the icing. So organic! A couple of important things that need to be taken into account are that flower toppers, if required, should be in soft colours with a lot of wedding bouquet leaves (for me, it’s always sugar flowers, not real ones) and the cake stand must be something metal with a vintage look or rustic wood.

Stacking Tall Cakes

Q: Do you have any tips for stacking really tall wedding cakes?

A: I have some rules of my own for stacking tall cakes. Put cake boards and dowels between each 4” of the layers for double barrel tiers and dowel each tier. The cake board for the whole cake must be a firm plywood one. Always stack the tiers together two days after icing them to let the icing set firm on the tiers and avoid slipping. Use a long wooden dowel to stabilise the whole cake.  Display sugar flowers symmetrically on the tiers if there are not many and in a cascade if the client wants a lot of them to avoid too much weight on one certain part of the cake.

Design Change

Q: My client keeps changing the design for her wedding cake, how do I manage this?

A: I will try to make them stick to one rule – their cake should be always in a harmony with their wedding theme in all senses: colour scheme, decorated details, etc. I will remind them that we already discussed very carefully and decided on the design based on all the elements of their wedding, which means I will only do it if  their wedding party ideas are changed too. An extra charge will be applied if all decor items on the cake are already made in advance and can’t be used for the new design any more.

Real Flowers

Q: What do you think about using real flowers on a wedding cake and how should I deal with a client who only wants real flowers and not sugar flowers?

A: I don’t favour putting real flowers on my wedding cake designs. I always tell those clients of mine who insist on fresh flowers on their cake that if they know so well which flower types are food safe, I will satisfy them. But I will only use organic flowers and they are not cheap at all which means they have to spend more on the cake. The reason for my choice is that it’s what they want but at the end of the day, it’s always my responsibility to make a cake with all safety standards for their most precious day of life.

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