Secret Garden Inspiration Shoot

I had the pleasure of being invited to collaborate on a photo shoot last July designed and planned by the talented Grace and Saviour Styling and photographed by Paula O’Hara Photography.  I am in love with this one and thrilled to see the full shoot now published on prestigious wedding blog Green Wedding Shoes.  In this blog post I wanted to give a little insight into the inspiration for the shoot and corresponding brief for the cakes…with a sneak peak of the result!

The inspiration for the shoot was ‘ vintage botanical illustrations from the 18th century’. The brief was dreamy,  ‘..to convey the wedding of a cool, relaxed, slightly bohemian couple who get married in a beautifully ramshackle glass house in a country pile…overgrown gardens and slightly too warm, glistening skin’.  The shoot was to feel earthy and relaxed so I created a mood board for the cakes, drawing on pretty, informal and delicious looking cakes as inspiration, with natural florals for decoration.

Mood board:

 

The ‘country pile’ was Carncairn Lodge in Northern Ireland, an Irish Manor house with a beautiful garden and rambling greenhouse.  It was a glorious July day, creating the perfect atmosphere to convey a relaxed summer garden wedding. The shoot was centred around the greenhouse which was styled by Grace for an informal wedding lunch with draped linen, relaxed flowers, candles and fruits.

 

For the cakes, I opted for a trio for an informal sweet table concept. A main textured iced cake adorned with oversized garden blooms styled by Grace was accompanied by un-iced Chocolate Salted Caramel and Prosecco Peach Thyme cakes (for more of our delectable cake flavours check our our menu!). Purposefully oozing peach and thyme jam, a cake slice, and the exposed chocolate cake layers were chosen to convey delicious homemade and summery sweet treats. 

 

This gives a little taste of what’s to come in this gorgeous summery shoot which features signature informal flowers by Petal and Twine,  exquisite gowns by Ivory and Pearl, stationary by Lenka Calligraphy, hair by Lynette Murray, and make up by Jennifer Ireland. To swoon over the full shoot head on over to Green Wedding Shoes!

Cake Tasting Box Service

 

Wedding cake tasting must be up there amongst the most enjoyable aspects of planning your big day. What is not to love about sampling delicious cake and deciding what flavours would be most enjoyed by you and your guests?! At Cove Cake Design wedding cake tastings are operated via a sample box service which has been hugely popular with clients. Obviating the need for yet another appointment sample boxes are delivered to your door, allowing for tasting and discussion in the comfort of your own home.

Here are some FAQs about the service:

  • I have booked my wedding cake with Cove Cake Design, how to I order a tasting box?
    • Once you have reserved your date your name will be put on the next available tasting box list which suits your diary. The tasting service operates every 2-3 months. Tasting boxes are complimentary for clients who have booked their wedding cake.
  • I am not getting married but would love a tasting box! Is this possible?
    • Unfortunately due to limited availablility only wedding cake clients can be accommodated on the tasting box service.
  • I would like to taste some of Cove Cake Design’s flavours before booking my cake, is this possible?
    • Due to limited availability priority on our tasting box service is given to those who have already reserved their wedding date with Cove Cake Design. However if you wish to try samples prior to booking and a box is available on a particular dispatch then I would be delighted to send one to you! Prior to payment of booking deposit there is a €40 charge for tasting boxes which can be redeemed against your wedding cake deposit should you choose to proceed with an order.
  • How many flavours are in the box?
    • The boxes contain 6 delicious samples from the menu.
  • Can I choose which flavours I would like to sample?
    • Flavours are chosen by Cove Cake Design depending on a number of criteria including seasonality and availability of ingredients. However if you see particular favourites on the menu which you would like to try please do let me know and I will do my utmost to include as many of these as possible!
  • How are the boxes dispatched?
    • Boxes are sent via overnight registered delivery.
  • Will the samples stay fresh?
    • The samples are wrapped tightly and well-packaged. Once you receive your samples it is recommended that they are consumed within 24 hours
  • Do you ship tasting boxes overseas?
    • Samples can be shipped to the UK but unfortunately shipping further afield would not be advisable as we could not guarantee freshness of the samples. Should you live overseas please let me know if you plan to visit Ireland in advance of your wedding day and I can arrange samples for that date. Alternatively if you have friends or family in Ireland they may (!) be willing to do the tasting for you.
  • I couldn’t decide which flavours I would like, can I have a second box?
    • Additional boxes can be dispatched at a cost of €15, subject to availability. This is not redeemable against your wedding cake cost.

 

January Newsletter

January can seem like a long, dark month in the Northern Hemisphere but it is one that I think is secretly relished as a slightly quieter month by all those working in the wedding industry! Sometimes a little time with few orders allows you to catch up, take stock, try new things and plan for the year of business ahead. Here is a little of what we got up to this month…

Sample boxes:

January was sample box month and we were delighted to send delicious tasting packages to many of our 2017 brides! This month’s boxes included some of our most popular flavours such as Lime, White Chocolate Pistachio; Champagne, Elderflower and Strawberry; and of course what has become a signature flavour, Guinness Chocolate with Roasted White Chocolate! Our next dispatch is scheduled for late March.

Classes:

Off-peak wedding season is a great time for us to host some classes. We offer private 1-2-1 tuition, allowing clients to pick exactly what they wish to learn. I had a lovely day with Melissa from the UK, teaching techniques including smooth chocolate ganache, semi-naked buttercream, macarons and overall styling. This was the result of the day! If you are interested in private tuition contact us directly to discuss options and available dates.

Press:

It was a pleasure  to collaborate with Orla Neligan of Cornershop Productions in a botancial themed photo shoot for the Spring Issue of Irish Brides which is on sale now. Shot in the beautiful surroundings of Cliff at Lyons by the talented Kataya Koliban, we loved the soft foliage, hints of gold and considered props. Our cake was a classic lace design which Orla styled with deep velvet green ribbon, white rose and foliage.

New Design:

Not one to put anything to waste, after our photoshoot for Irish Brides I reconditioned our lace cake for a new display model. Taking inspiration from the current trend for oversized bridal bouquets, I topped the lace design with an abundance of sugar flowers to include David Austin Roses, Garden Roses, Frilly Peonies, Freesia, Blackberries and lots of foliage. Perfectly in keeping with the Pantone Colour of 2017 we are a little bit in love with this one!

Recipes:

No month would be complete at Cove Cake Design without some time spent experimenting with recipes and flavours! Pink peppercorn has been on my list of ingredients to try for some time and makes a deliciously spicy addition to these Chocolate Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn cupcakes. Perfect for some Valentine’s Day baking this recipe will appear in the Febuary edition of TheTaste.ie .

…and here’s to Febuary!

Five of our Favourites from 2016!

It is hard to believe that another year has passed! We have had a wonderful year of baking and creating cakes and are incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to work with our amazing clients. A big thank you to all who have supported us in 2016 and wishing you all a lovely festive period!

For our last post of the year we decided to have a look back at five of our favourite cakes from 2016.

1. Opulence

What started as a delicious towering blank canvas became a rich and sumptuous cake with the help of some beautiful deep blooms from Appassionata Flowers, gilded fruits and a splash of gold leaf. Set up in one of Virginia Park Lodge‘s cosy rooms, this cake formed the centrepiece for a delicious evening wedding buffet.

2. Blush Buttercream Roses

Sometimes simplicity speaks for itself. Classic smooth blush buttercream adorned with the most gorgeous of avalanche roses by Unique Flowers became one of our summer wedding favourites!

3. Dark and Decadent

Our client had a wonderful vision for this wedding cake, dark and rich to reflect the wild wintery surroundings of Connemara where the wedding took place. Three tiers of Guinness Chocolate cake coated in chocolate ganache, trimmed with gold leaf and adorned with dark winter fruits. This one begged to be eaten!

4. Rustic White and Green

This cake epitomises the effectiveness of a simple palette, a perfect setting and beautiful styling. A rustic white iced cake adorned with fresh greenery and accompanied by marshmallows and macarons, was surrounded by foliage and soft candlelight. Set against a rustic stone backdrop with those amazing floral hoops by the Wedding Festival, this cake table formed a classically beautiful centrepiece for the wedding reception.

5. Floral Monogram

I may be displaying a little bias in choosing this one, as this cake was made for my brother-in-law and his beautiful bride who were married in 2016. Designed around the monogram of their wedding invitations, I loved how the floral semi-wreath turned out. And I got to eat some of this one..!!!

Image Brides Alchemy Editorial Shoot

Having always been a fan of the chic Irish fashion and lifestyle magazine, Image, it is no surprise that it’s sister magazine, Image Brides, has become my go-to read for following trends and finding inspiration in the wedding industry. It was hence a delight to have been invited to design a cake for an editorial in their current Winter/Spring edition.

The shoot took place at one of Ireland’s most exclusive wedding venues, Clonwilliam House, a gorgeous country house set amongst wooded hills in the Vale of Avoca in Co. Wicklow. Meticulously renovated and decorated, Clonwilliam exudes contemporary glamour in stunning period surroundings…I had serious house envy! (Image courtesy of One Fab Day).

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The theme of the shoot was ‘Alchemy’, with styling by Ciara O’Halloran of Style Serendipity, who specialises in beautiful wedding, interior and food styling.  Her brief and mood board were tantalising.  With inspiration taken from the earthy magic of crystal and mineral stones, the look was about capturing the simplicity and beauty of natural elements, with delicate jewellery , large blooming flowers and bohemian gowns in shades of ‘rose quartz, rich cream, shimmering gold and crystal grey’ creating an ‘effortlessly luxe’, romantic, mysterious and enchanting mood.

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The photographer for the shoot was the talented Christina of Brosnan Photographic. Having admired her light, relaxed photography for some time I was thrilled to finally get the opportunity to work with her. It was a delight to watch Ciara and Christina at work throughout the morning and the final photos from the shoot were undoubtedly stunning!….

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Love the colours and relaxed style of this flower arrangement by The French Touch!

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Beautiful amethyst rings by Juvi Designs

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And for the cake….Ciara briefed on a ‘luxe bohemian’ style, suggesting dripping caramel, fruits and blooms with additional elements such as gold leaf and macarons for added decadence. We opted for a natural blush buttercream finish, contrasting a smooth base tier with semi-naked upper tiers. A luscious caramel drip was complimented with simple yet elegant styling: gorgeous roses by The French Touch Flowers offset by contrasting blackberries..and of course those gold macarons for some luxury!

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Top cake view! Some detail of those roses, that drip and our macarons…

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It is always nice to see the different elements of the shoot come together and I think all credit to a great team who created this contemporary, romantic luxe beauty!

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Stylist: Ciara O’Halloran

Photographer: Christina Brosnan

Model: Sarah Tansey at Andrea Roche Model Agency

Hair: Inch Hair Design

Make-up: Elysian Brows

Jewellry: Juvi Designs

Flowers: The French Touch

Stationary: Kerry Harvey Designs

Cake: ME!

See more of this shoot and indeed lots more inspiration, supplier guides and real weddings in the gorgeous Winter/Spring edition of Image Brides, on shelves now!

 

Marshmallow Love

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Deliciously light and fluffy, and with endless flavour possibilities, homemade marshmallows make perfect additions to a wedding cake table  as well as beautiful guest favours. We have been having some fun experimenting with flavours and are delighted to share some of our favourites.  With so many options we would as always be delighted to customise flavours as required!

Champagne or Raspberry Rose

Our favourite flavours which taste so good independently or combined. We couldn’t decide which to choose so will leave it up to you! Here we have layered fresh raspberry and rose with deliciously decadent real champagne mallow. Flecks of freeze-dried raspberry between the layers add a little surprise!

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Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Roasted White Chocolate

Sweet and caramel-like, our roasted Belgian white chocolate is delicious swirled through vanilla bean marshmallow.

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Cinnamon Spiced Irish Apple

Made with pure local Irish apple juice, this lightly spiced marshmallow is a real taste of Autumn.

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Pure Coconut

Fragrant Malibu marshmallow coated in textural dessicated coconut.

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Fresh Blueberry Swirl

Visually beautiful and equally delicious, this blueberry swirl marshmallow can also be made with other summer fruits.

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Earl Grey Chocolate

Belgian chocolate marshmallow infused with the subtle Bergamot fragrance of Earl Grey Tea

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Real Wedding-Natural and Elegant Wedding Cake Styling

It is always a delight when a finished wedding cake display exceeds all of your expectations. Such was the case for a recent cake table we styled in the gorgeous garden room of Powerscourt House. Our client had a beautiful vision for her cake and the finished display exemplifies how a little thought and some simple yet considered styling can really give your wedding cake the wow factor.

Our client chose a simple textured white iced cake adorned with fresh greenery and lisianthus, in keeping with the green and white scheme of the gorgoues wedding flowers by The French Touch. Delicious cake flavours of Guinness Chocolate with Caramelised White Chocolate, and Lime White Chocolate and Pistachio were accompanied by fluffy Coconut Marshmallow and Pistachio Macarons.

With a stone wall backdrop and flooded with natural light from the grand windows overlooking Powerscourt Gardens, the garden room was the perfect spot to create a stunning wedding cake centrepiece. A natural stone-coloured linen tablecloth complemented the rustic stone walls. Cakes and treats were displayed on pristine white stands and plates, surrounded by natural greenery interspersed with hurricane and antique votives. The final flourish was the floral gold hoops by wedding planners The Wedding Festival. I had no idea these were part of the display until I arrived, and oh my they were just fabulous!

Props used in this table styling and more are available to hire from Cove Cake Design. Contact us to discuss your wedding cake styling!

Cascading Peonies and Ballyfin

 

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Every once in a while a cake deserves a little more attention than a photo and quick mention on Facebook and Instagram. I’m sure all cake decorators can recognise the delight when the loveliest of clients walks through your door with a fabulous vision for their wedding cake, a stunning venue and a dream team of suppliers lined up. Such was the case for a recent order for a peony cascade cake at Ballyfin.  

The design and stature of the wedding cake was in no doubt influenced by its final setting in the palatial surroundings of Ballyfin Demesne. Built in the 1820s, Ballyfin is probably Ireland’s finest regency mansion and I have to confess that I had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to visit due to a little bit of personal interest…for much of the 20th century Ballyfin was run as a boarding school which was attended by my father in the 1960s. The eventual closure of the school led to a state of disrepair before an eight year restoration project resulted in it’s reopening as a luxury 5 star hotel in 2011. And it is not hard to see where the eight year’s went….the interior is breathtaking. From stunningly restored architectural detail to sumptuous furnishings and fine artwork, it is a luxurious step into another time and place. Quietly exclusive it caters to around only 10 weddings per year.

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(Images courtesy of Ballyfin.com)

The cake itself was from an original design by the fabulously talented Peggy Porschen, a design that my client had fallen in love with on a visit to the famous cake parlour in London. Four tall tiers were swathed in a sugar peony cascade matching the shades of pink in the bridal bouquet.

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Being displayed in the Rotunda room at the heart of Ballyfin, the cake was to be a centrepiece to be viewed while guests mingled over welcoming drinks (before of course being tucked into later!). A key to this design was therefore to ensure that the cake was of equal beauty when viewed from all angles, hence the continuation of the floral cascade around the back of the cake and neat little bows to hide the joins of the ribbon. The final flourish was to be a base of fresh roses and peonies by the amazing Joeanna McCaffrey flowers, sadly I had to leave before seeing this final detail in situ so I can’t wait to see the final photos!

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People have asked how many hours it takes to make sugar flowers and to be honest I lost track of these! Made over several weeks whenever I had time, over 700 peony petals were cut, veined and shaped, along with an array of peony buds, stephanotis, buds and leaves. Fixing the flowers on the cake took nearly four hours! It was my first time working with this many flowers and I was thrilled at the outcome of the challenge.

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My final glimpse of this cake  through the ornate doors of the Rotunda would be the first view seen by the bride and groom and their guests. I hope that this view, and the luscious layers of Guinness Chocolate and Lemon Coconut Raspberry cakes to be served later that evening, were well received!

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Choosing Wedding Cake Flavours

 

With many of our 2016 brides and grooms in the process of choosing their wedding cake flavours I thought I would write a little post to take a peek inside our cakes and offer some tips on flavour choices!

Our Cakes

Our ethos at Cove Cake Design is first and foremost to create delicious cakes for all to enjoy. Yes we love to decorate in our own unique style but the foundation of this is simply yummy cake!

Each of our recipes is chosen to reach our essential and strict standards for wedding cakes: interesting flavours; visual appeal; moistness; ability to stay fresh; and finally, ability to be cut neatly into portions. And it doesn’t end there…we take time and care to level each layer to exact measurements before syruping and generously filling with buttercream, with the final cake containing four layers of cake, three of filling and measuring 5″ high. Cakes are then coated according to design in a buttercream finish, or in a layer of ganache prior to a thin 3mm of fondant icing. It is only after several hours of work to create a perfect cake that the decoration can begin!

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Our Flavours

So what is on our menu! We have recently edited and perfected our menu to incorporate eight delicious and crowd-pleasing favourites. We do believe every one is a winner!

Top L-R:

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry; Lime White Chocolate and Pistachio; Orange, Almond and Rosewater; Lemon, Coconut and Blueberry; Apple Caramel, Brown Butter Icing and Blackberrry

Bottom L-R:

White Mocha and Irish Whiskey Sea Salted Caramel; Guinness and Caramelised White Chocolate; Champagne and Strawberry

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Cake Flavour FAQs!

And finally some answers to those most frequently asked flavour questions:

Can I have a different flavour in each tier?

Yes of course. Do bear in mind though that as the tier sizes get smaller there will be fewer portions of these flavours. So for example for an 8″/6″/4″ cake the portions will be 40/20/10. In this instance a separate flavour in the 4″ tier only gives 10 portions so I would recommend a total of two flavour choices, one for the base tier and one for the two upper tiers giving a relatively even spread of portions for each flavour.

What flavours I should choose?

I always firstly recommend to choose your own personal preferences! Secondly, it is worth bearing in mind what season your wedding will take place in, so for example Lemon, Blueberry and Coconut is a lovely Spring/Summer flavour while Apple Caramel, Brown Butter and Blackberry is perfect for Autumn weddings. Lastly, most couples choose one chocolate flavour for all the chocoholics amongst their guests (!) as well as their favourite sponge flavours.

What are your most popular flavours?

Guinness and Caramelised White Chocolate is a clear favourite (and a great one for the male guests!), as is the celebratory Champagne and Strawberry!

Do you cater to special flavour requests?

Of course! We know our flavours work but we are happy to discuss your particular requirements or preferences. That is what bespoke cake making is about!

Anything else to consider?

If you are opting for a naked or semi-naked buttercream finish bear in mind how the exposed layers will look for each flavour. Also bear in mind any allergies amongst your guests.

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For further details on our menu see here!

 

 

Styling and Displaying your Wedding Cake

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The display and styling of your wedding cake is something that I ask all my clients to consider. After many months of work, it is worth making that last little effort to ensure your cake is a stunning centrepiece and a talking point for your guests. For those on a budget, it is also a way of keeping costs down by opting for a simple cake while using inexpensive decorative flourishes to display it beautifully.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Betty from Lulabelle Wedding Styling and Design to create cakes for  a wedding in the gorgeous surroundings of Tankardstown House. Her styling of our cake and sweet treats on this stunning table are a perfect example of how to successfully display your cake! The ornate table, symmetrical display, simple background…and just look at those eye-catching antlers! (Photograph by Charlotte La Chaussee)

Here are some tips on what to consider in order to achieve cake table perfection like this!

Location

Do ask your venue or planner where your cake table will be located.  If it is normally assigned to an inconspicuous corner of the room don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives! The floral cascade cake in the image below was in the centre of the reception room, taking pride of place for all to see. Another nice alternative is to see if there is a suitable place in the area where your arrival reception will be held. This is often the perfect time for your guests to view, talk about and photograph your beautiful wedding cake. Also consider practicalities of location such as keeping your cake out of direct sunlight or heat, especially in the summer.

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Table

Many venues, especially period properties may have beautiful tables or sideboards which are a feature in their own right. If the cake table is a standard table do ask your venue or planner to ensure that it is stable and covered in freshly ironed linen.  In the image below, The Wedding Consultant turned an ordinary glass topped table into a glamorous setting for this cake by elevating the glass and filling the gap with beautiful fresh hydrangeas. Buying a tablecloth that complements your cake and theme is also another way of giving your table a wow factor, eg. glitter, stripes etc.

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Background

Think about the background to the cake table. If it is in front of a wall or curtains, will the colours or textures compete with your cake? How will it look in a photograph? Also be aware of anything unsightly that might come into field in your photographs, such as wires, speakers etc. In this beautiful styling by Style Serendipity at Horetown House, a plain wall with the texture of old stone and greenery of a floral wreath is a perfect backdrop for these cakes.  (Photo courtesy of Paula McManus Photography)

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Cake Stand

Many venues include a cake stand in their package for use by their clients. In many cases this is a traditional silver stand. Do ask to see it and request a polish if needs be! Is it an appropriate size for your cake?  Also consider whether a traditional silver stand is most suitable for your cake style. For example, milk glass stands such as that in the image below are modern and elegant, while wooden ones add a rustic feel. Ask your cake designer if they have any for hire, most of them have a large collection (otherwise known as ‘cake stand addiction’!!).

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Display and props

Betty styled this cake table using the antlers as the main prop, a nod to a deer farm once owned by the bride’s family (love a little story behind the detail!). Coupled with the ornate table this creates a stunning display for the simple, elegant cake. The amount of props needed will depend on your cake and theme, for example vintage-style cakes look beautiful with lots of flowers and quirky vintage props.

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Happy styling!