Posts

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).

clonwilliam-house-chandeliers

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.

0ac22906258e1da26b6b78e2f53834d0

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!….

082

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

037

Beautiful amethyst rings by Juvi Designs

rings

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!

cake-1

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

cake-2

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!

picmonkey-image

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!

 

Book Review-Clean Cakes

lead-image_edited-1

I am a bit of a hoarder of cookbooks, finding it difficult to pass by the aisle in the bookshop. My mantra is you can never have too many, and since the start of my cake business I have now amassed cake books in equal measure to my general cooking books. I am particularly drawn to those that have something a little bit different, be it in style or in particular, flavours.

I discovered Henrietta Inman through her Instagram account, which showcases her cakes and desserts decorated in a colourful array of pretty flowers and berries. All of her cakes and bakes are made free from wheat, dairy and refined sugar. Her book ‘Clean Cakes’ was released earlier this year and while the name initially held me back (I don’t believe in classifying food as ‘clean’ or otherwise!), the delicious flavour combinations showcased on her blog left me too tempted!

The book gives an excellent introduction into alternative ingredients to make your bakes ‘free-from’ and is subsequently divided into chapters on cakes; muffins, loaves and breads; biscuits, brownies and bars; tarts and pies; raw desserts; and finally, chocolates and little treats.

img_4238

I was most tempted by the Courgette, Basil, Lime and Pistachio Cake with Avocado Lime Cream and Raspberry Jam. Yes, you did read all those ingredients together! It was an unusual combination which I tested on some dinner party guests. Although the recipe denotes making layers I made a single larger cake for simplicity.  Made with coconut flour and sugar, the cake was deliciously moist and incredibly nutty from the ground pistachio. The icing was a combination of avocado, lime juice, coconut yogurt and coconut sugar. Underneath the icing was a layer of raspberry jam. This was an unusual addition I thought, but actually added an amazing dimension to the final flavour.  To say the cake tasted divine was an understatement…it got a resounding thumbs up from my dinner party guests and the flavours and ingredients became a lovely talking point too! img_4231

Other recipes in the book which caught my eye were the savoury Roasted Root Vegetable Tarts with Spiced Sesame Crust, Purple Haze Loaf with Super-Berry Cashew Yogurt, and the Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Honey Praline Ganache.

I did find that some recipes in the book had ingredients that were not readily available (despite me living in a capital city well-served by delis and speciality shops). Items such as palmyra nectar (which I had never heard of before!) and teff flour were not available in my local health food shop. However I did substitute honey for the coconut sugar in the icing of the Courgette cake and I imagine other simple substitutions are also possible.

For a baker interested in free-from cakes and treats and who likes to source and experiment with different ingredients I would highly recommend this book!

img_4227_edited-1

Marshmallow Love

img_4657_edited-1

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!

img_4833_edited-2

Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Roasted White Chocolate

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

img_4872_edited-3

Cinnamon Spiced Irish Apple

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

img_4884_edited-2

Pure Coconut

Fragrant Malibu marshmallow coated in textural dessicated coconut.

img_4637_edited-1

Fresh Blueberry Swirl

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

IMG_3802_edited-2

Earl Grey Chocolate

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

img_4865_edited-2

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

 

IMG_4056_edited-2

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.

telegraph

ballyfin website

(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.

IMG_4059_edited-1

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!

p_rotunda01_lrg

IMG_4045_edited-1

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.

IMG_4041_edited-1

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!

IMG_4083_edited-1

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!

IMG_2201_edited-1

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

IMG_2216v5_edited-4

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.

IMG_2197_edited-1

For further details on our menu see here!

 

 

Styling and Displaying your Wedding Cake

IMG_5280 (2) v2

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.

IMG_0274_edited-1

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.

IMG_9532

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)

Horetown Styled shoot-121

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’!!).

IMG_0151_edited-1

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.

IMG_5280 (2) v2

Happy styling!