It’s safe to say that everyone in this office has a bit of a sweet tooth. But we can’t help it. As a very important part of our job, we are always researching wedding cake ideas and trends (someone has to). So when we discovered Gail from LizzieMay’s, we knew we needed to know more (for research purposes of course)…
Hi Gail, you’re the creative mind behind LizzieMay’s. What inspired you to get into confectionery?
Well, I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember; decorating has been a much more recent endeavour! When I started my business I knew I wanted to make cake, but otherwise wasn’t sure which direction to take. I actually had no interest in sugarcraft at all, and was adamant that I wouldn’t have any patience/talent/skill for it! However, I thought I’d be asked at some point to make an iced cake, so I did a beginners day course simply to learn how to cover a cake with sugarpaste and use some cutters… much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it; I tried my hand at another cake when I got home, and it slowly grew from there. At some point I realized I was pretty handy with a piping bag, and now I decorate intricate cookies as well. I follow a lot of incredibly talented cake and cookie makers online, and am always inspired to work hard to achieve similar high standards myself.
What are some of your favourite cake trends for 2014?
I love that more couples are going for quirky, original designs and/or incorporating splashes of bright colour. In contrast, I also love the current trend for rustic buttercream-iced cakes – such a romantic, pretty style.
What has been the most impressive cake you have ever made (do you have pictures!)?
I’m torn between two favourites! I made these to showcase my work at a wedding fair earlier this year – the teal and coral cake is certainly the most impressive in terms of both the bold colour choice and the henna-style heart motif, which was entirely piped by hand with royal icing. The ‘kissing couple’ cake and matching cookies is much less complex, but I love how striking the simple design is against a plain white background.
Baking cakes and cookies most be a fun job, what is your favourite part of it all?
It is a fun if also a stressful job – often decorating late into the night with the occasional tears and tantrum when a design just isn’t coming together! I love the stage where all the basic elements are ready (cookies and cakes are baked, royal and buttercream icings whipped up) and I can focus on decorating. And then of course there’s the part when the client sees their finished cookies / cake – the delight on their faces, in their ‘thank you’ emails, makes all the stress and long hours totally worth it.
Do a lot of your cakes come from couple’s ideas and wedding themes? Is there a lot of collaboration between you both?
Absolutely! Sometimes a couple will come to me with their own design that they’d like me to recreate in cake or cookie form; most often they will have a theme and colours in mind and nothing very specific. We’ll have a chat about it, I’ll make some suggestions, and we’ll work together from there until we have the final design. Whether it’s a wedding cake or cookie favours/placeholders, it’s so important to me that the end product is a perfect fit for their special day.
How soon should someone book a cake before their wedding?
I would advise that couples book their cake a minimum of 2-3 months before the wedding; there is a lot of work involved in the initial design phase and if a fruit cake is required, it will need to be made in advance and given time to mature. Lots of couples are enquiring now for weddings next year, so it’s even better to book further in advance – if there is a cake maker whose work you really admire, best to book early to confirm your date in their schedule!