Design Consultations and Celtic Knotwork Cake

 I provide information on the website about how to schedule tasting appointments, but I wanted to take a moment to describe in more detail what these consultations are about.


When a client (or bridal couple)  first makes contact with me, the next step we take (after I confirm availability for the date of the client's event) is to schedule a consultation, usually a week or two after that first contact.  Clients usually meet me at my cake studio, and I offer them a variety of cake and filling samples to try. The tasting plate pictured below is just one example, and can come in pretty much any configuration (based on the Honey Crumb menu).  Clockwise from top: white cake with tiramisu filling, lemon poppyseed with lemon buttercream, coconut sponge with coconut cream frosting, dark chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache, and Kahlua-moistened butter sponge with mocha buttercream. A second plate (not pictured) featured a sample of white chocolate ganache, marionberry filling, and Bavarian cream.




Tasting plates enable clients to sample some possibilities for their cakes. Mostly, the plates are chef's choice, but sometimes clients will tell me beforehand if they'd especially like a particular selection, or indeed would prefer to avoid certain ingredients.


Once the samples have been enjoyed, the flavors are selected for the final cake.  Then, we talk about the design!  Ideally, I would have access to the event invitation, or samples of fabric, or a picture of the bride's dress, or other such things, for inspiration.  I generally try to sketch out some rough ideas during the consultation, to help clients see what I am envisioning, or to make sure I am interpreting their vision appropriately.  We talk about colors, shapes, textures, flowers, and a rough estimate of servings.  When the appointment is over, and depending on the requirements, I come up with a series of design sketches that I scan and e-mail to the client(s). Once the design is agreed upon, I accept a deposit (ideally, within 10 days of the consultation) and the date is booked into my calendar.  The balance is due two weeks before the event / date of delivery.


Finally, here's today's wedding cake delivery. One photo depicts it in its box, before leaving my kitchen.  I completed the set up (and added more sugar flowers) at the venue, seconds before the bridal party arrived!  (A note to my fellow cake designers: Things always take longer than you think they will.)  Well, I'm glad I made it just in time, and that the cake managed to stay intact during the drive to Junction City. The bride was an absolute joy to work with; she was incredibly easy-going and enthusiastic, and her only design brief was "some kind of Celtic knotwork, and candy-apple red."  I took inspiration from a Pink Cake Box cake for how to introduce the red ribbon without overwhelming the cake's otherwise neutral palette. The cake is decorated with cattleya orchids, roses, and small calla lilies, mostly 'glued' on with melted white chocolate (which is, by the way, an excellent glue for cake decorating!).  I used a knotwork mould for the side appliques, which were made from fondant mixed with gum tragacanth for extra stability (so the pieces don't distort when they're removed from the mold).  I handpainted them with pearl luster dust after attaching them with water to the sides of the cake. 


The 6-inch top tier is red velvet with white chocolate cream cheese frosting; the 9-inch middle tier is 1.5x normal height and consists of vanilla sponge with vanilla bean syrup and vanilla buttercream, and the 12-inch bottom tier is dark chocolate sponge with milk chocolate buttercream. The entire cake is frosted in vanilla buttercream, and covered in white fondant. I also covered the cake board in white fondant so that it would match.