Layer Cakes The Essential Collection Ebook Cove Cake Design

Layer Cakes Ebook Launch

Ebook cover

My First Ebook!

I am so excited to announce the launch of my first ebook, Layer Cakes – The Essential Collection on Wednesday 18th November 2020. My business very much started from a love of baking delicious layer cakes and importantly, experimenting with flavour combinations. My flavour profiles have been what has regularly drawn clients to choose my cakes for their weddings and celebrations. I am often asked about my flavour inspiration and the recipes I use, demonstrating a demand for ideas and quality recipes in the cake making community. Having shared recipes over the years on my blog, I always wanted to do something a little bit more, to arm people with the skills and inspiration to create cakes of taste. I wanted to write a book.

Why an Ebook?

Cake ingredients

My ultimate dream was to write a hardback book that would grace the shelves of bookshops the world over. I started to research this avenue only to discover many disheartening tales of rejection, loss of creative direction, and ultimately low returns for the years spent working on a book. I wanted to get my recipes to my followers and have control over what I produced. With the digital age an ebook was an obvious and simple choice as a starting point on my book writing journey.

What is Layer Cakes – The Essential Collection about?

Champagne elderflower rhubarb cake

I wanted to start my collection at the beginning. Layer Cakes – The Essential Collection is a collection of key recipes, tips and techniques that aims to enlighten and inspire amateur and professional cake makers alike to make layer cakes of flavour. I took the most common cake flavours, such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Coconut, Coffee etc, and and provided ‘base’ cake recipes for each. These recipes are all suitable for layered cakes that are used in wedding and celebration cakes. A chapter on fillings such as jams, curds, caramels and icings/frostings allows readers to create fillings and icings from scratch. The book then provides a variety of flavour combinations using these cake and filling recipes, each with a twist on classics. Flavour pairings such as Vanilla Pear Macadamia, Chocolate Blackberry Bay and Coconut Black Sesame Passionfruit, are sure to spark interest. My ultimate hope is that readers will be inspired to create their own combinations too. I can’t wait to see what you make!

What If I Am A Baking Novice?

Eggs for baking

This book is for you too! I wanted my recipes to be attainable and relatively straightforward for all levels of baker. I have started the book with baking tips, techniques and essential equipment. In many instances I have provided alternatives for those who don’t want to invest in unusual or expensive tools or ingredients. I have given ideas on how to decorate with items such as flowers and other edibles. I have also included a step-by-step photographic guide for filling and icing a cake with buttercream icing.

What Recipes are Included in the Ebook?

Almond Matcha Raspberry Cake

This is the exciting bit! I worked hard on creating the recipes in the book to give achievable yet interesting cake flavours. There are a few classics such as Lemon Blackberry Lavender or Chocolate Pear Salted Caramel, but my favourites are Almond Matcha Raspberry, or the cover cake, Coconut Black Sesame Passionfruit. All cake flavours can be simplified if preferred, for example Lemon and Blackberry alone makes a wonderful combination. Or indeed I hope the base cake flavours and filling recipes allow readers to create their own flavour combinations.

Who Helped You With The Book?

Wedding cake

I am so grateful to a wonderful team of creatives who helped me pull this together. Firstly I took a course at Food Photography School earlier this year which gave me further skills and confidence to take my own photos for the book which I am so proud of. A few key photos in the book were also taken by the talented Claire Brown Photography who did my original branding work for me. I am so grateful to my sister, Emma Brady, a professional copyeditor, who worked so hard on editing my text. I was thrilled to work again with my wonderfully talented graphic designer, Natalie, from Keady Row, who ultimately brought the book to life. Natalie succeeded in creating an ebook that has the look of a glossy lifestyle magazine, and importantly has a style that is right on brand with Cove Cake Design. Finally I must thank my web developer Mick from Smudge Design who was on hand as always to assist in the website side of getting things done.

So How Do I Buy the Book?

Chocolate Blackberry Bay Cake

It’s easy! The book will be launched on Wednesday 18th November 2020 and will be for sale through my online shop. It is downloadable in pdf or epub format for reading on your preferred device. As a further incentive when you buy the ebook you will be entitled to exclusive access to my new private members Facebook group, Cove Cake Design Baking Club, where we can share our experiences with the recipes, give further tips, and ask and answer questions. Sign up to my mailing list at the top of the page to be notified of the launch to make sure you don’t miss out (and shh…to receive an exclusive mailing list member discount!).

Thank you so much for your interest in my cake recipes and support of my little business. I hope when you buy the book and try the recipes you will enjoy the process and results. Don’t forget to tag me on social media, @covecakedesign #ccdlayercakes so I can see and share your wonderful bakes!

Suzanne x

Suzanne Brday

Christmas Cake Postal Gift Box Cove Cake Design Ireland

Christmas Cake Postal Gift Boxes

Christmas Cake Postal Gift Boxes Ireland

Christmas Cake Postal Gift Boxes

I am delighted to launch my Christmas Cake Postal Gift Boxes. Filled with delicious treats, Christmas Gift Boxes are available for postal delivery throughout Ireland. They are a perfect gift to send to friends and family, especially those whom you may not see over the festive season. They would also make great gifts for work colleagues, neighbours and teachers.

Christmas Cake Postal Gift Boxes Ireland

What’s in the Christmas Cake Gift Box?

I enjoyed testing Christmas recipes for my boxes, and canvassed ideas from my followers online. My children were happy taste testers too! I finally settled on a selection of four delicious treats that are quintessentially Christmas.

Christmas Gift Box Contents:

Brandy Soaked Christmas Fruit Cake (2 portions)

Vanilla and Black Cherry Fudge (6 pieces)

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake with Homemade Ginger Biscuits, Pistachios and Cranberries (2 portions)

Iced Christmas Cookie (2 portions)

Postage and Packaging

I think we are all conscious of reducing waste and environmental impact these days and hence it was so important to me to ensure that my Christmas Cake Gift Boxes used sustainable packaging as much as possible. All treats are packaged in compostable food grade cellophane before being nestled with environmentally friendly tissue paper in my gorgeous recyclable branded boxes. The boxes are designed so that treats fit snugly, avoiding unnecessary use of filling tissue. Boxes are wrapped in cotton ribbon with a sprig of festiveness and placed in an outer recyclable paper postage bag.

Price includes postage by An Post for delivery within Ireland.

How Long Do They Keep?

Storage

It is recommended that the chocolate biscuit cake and fudge are stored in the fridge. The Christmas cake and cookies are perfect at room temperature.

Shelf Life

All of the Christmas treats keep for up to 10 days from receipt (if they last that long!).

How to Order

Boxes are available for pre-order now in the online shop . Delivery is on selected dates from late November. There is limited availability so order your Christmas Postal Gift Box today to spread festive wishes!

Suzanne, x

Online shop macaron cake Cove Cake Design

Online Shop

online shop cakes

Our New Online Shop

I am thrilled to launch the Cove Cake Design online cake shop! This is something that I have wanted to do for some time but the postponement of many of this years wedding orders finally gave me time to focus on setting this up and developing products.

With more products in the pipeline, take a look at what is currently on offer in the online cake shop:

Tasting Boxes

I have dispatched tasting boxes to my wedding clients for some time now and they have always been received with rapture. Any time I have posted photos of them on social media there has always been much interest, with people asking if they could pretend to get engaged to receive a box! Well I have finally met the demand with my Luxury Seasonal Tasting Gift Boxes which are now available to purchase in the online shop. With 4 seasonal flavours, these boxes are a taste experience for the recipient. Summer boxes included Champagne Elderflower Strawberry and Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Rosemary, while Vanilla Pear Macadamia and Orange Rhubarb Rose featured in the Autumn edition. These boxes are the perfect gift, or indeed treat for yourself! Christmas range coming soon!

online cake tasting gift box

Cake of the Month

I think we all need a little treat from time to time and my Cake of the Month was designed for people who want something refined and delicious for small family celebrations or even a weekend treat. Allowing me to indulge in my love of experimenting with flavours and ingredients, flavours change with seasonal availability. Autumn saw one of my favourites featured, Chocolate Blackberry Bay…delicious! Cakes are decorated with available ingredients such as macarons, gold leaf, seasonal edible fruits and dried florals.

online celebration cake

Coming Soon! Recipes and tutorials

I can’t wait to release my most exciting product to date…my first erecipe book! Almost completed, Layer Cakes-The Essential Collection is my go-to guide for creating delicious layer cakes with confidence. Featuring 9 basic recipes with 3 variations for each (by my calculations that is 27 cake flavours!), plus all my baking tips and tricks, this book will offer a wealth of information to new and more experienced bakers alike. Indivudal recipes and cake decorating tutorials are also in development, stay tuned!

cake recipe ebook cover

I hope you enjoy browsing the online cake shop, and don’t forget to sign up to the mailing list at the top of the page to be the first to be notified of new product lines!

Suzanne, x

Luxury Wedding Cakes Cove Cake Design Dublin

Cove Cake Design Brand Refresh

Cove Cake Design Brand Refresh

The Cove Cake Design Brand

It has been almost 6 years since I launched Cove Cake Design, named after the beautiful seaside suburb of Sandycove which myself and my family call home. Both the logo and website in their classical design have stood the test of time, but as my style and business have evolved, I decided it was both timely and exciting to have a brand refresh to more aptly convey the ethos of Cove Cake Design and my cakes.

A Brand Refresh

Recruiting a Branding Team

Over the winter I enlisted the services of Irish graphic designer, Natalie of Keady Row, whose sophisticated and modern designs for wedding stationary had caught my eye; as well as photographer Claire Brown, whose light and dreamy photography is nothing short of beautiful.

The Brand Refresh Brief

My brief for Natalie was a new logo and stationery package that would capture the essence of my business: a small Irish cake design business offering a bespoke personal service and delicious cake with a natural, sophisticated and botanical style. I also wanted Natalie to refine my packaging, such that there would be a reduced requirement for use and improved recyclability, reflecting my belief that all businesses should work towards a more sustainable future. I compiled a branding moodboard for Natalie to illustrate the look and feel that I felt reflected Cove Cake Design…..brand refresh moodboard

A New Brand Logo

Natalie immediately captured my brief, coming back with a simple and elegant logo, with a subtle botanical feel. A natural colour palette in shades of green to ivory and luxurious gold aptly conveyed a luxury bepoke Irish brand. Natalie provided a wealth of files and logo variations to utilise across a variety of uses and platforms. Cove Cake Design brand refresh logo

Branded Refresh Packaging Solutions

As most of my wedding cakes are delivered to site, my packaging requirements are quite minimal and confined mainly to my tasting box service. I worked with Natalie over the course of a few months to design new branded packaging, choosing from samples to select a stationery and sample box package that was refined, elegant, practical and importantly sustainable. I chose natural sturdy recyclable boxes that could withstand postal delivery, obviating the need for an additional outer postal box and hence reducing waste. I also chose beautiful branded tissue paper from No Issue, an environmentally conscious packaging company. Gold foil stickers added a luxurious feel. Business and compliment cards were the final personal touch.

I have also started providing menu and flavour cards to clients to enable them to convey their cake flavour choices to guests…with such exciting flavour options this has become essential! Natalie designed templates for me to use and I now provide customised menu and flavour cards in gold frames and holders for clients.

Brand Refresh Photo Shoot

Phase two was a branding photo shoot with talented photographer Claire Brown. I had worked with Claire previously on a wedding editorial shoot and loved her light and ethereal style. We styled the shoot together, with me giving Claire an image list and working on props and styling needed for the shoot. I loved this part of it..(maybe I should develop a little sideline in styling!). Claire came to my home for the shoot, photographing my gorgeous new stationary and sample boxes in a flatlay which is on of my favourites of the day! Cove Cake Design brand refresh pacakaging

She also captured me behind the scenes in my kitchen, working on admin and layering cakes…letting my clients get a little insight into me and my workplace!

Suzanne Brady of Cove Cake Design

Suzanne Brady Cove Cake DesignA styled cake table which epitomises everything about my brand: delicious modern cakes, exquisite and luxurious detail, and signature sugar flowers; was the finale of the day. Cove Cake Design wedding cakes

The Brand Refresh Finishing Touches

These photographs and many more were substituted into my website along with some content updates with a little help from my web designer, Mick from Smudge Design. The ease with which the website can be updated is testament to its original good design.

I hope you like my new style and that it more aptly conveys the ethos of my brand! Please enjoy browsing more of my brand in my about, menu and portfolio pages!

Suzanne x

Suzanne Brady wedding cakes

Sugar Flower Collaboration Cove Cake Design

Sugar Flower Collaboration

A Creative Sugar Flower Collaboration

Most of my work is well planned in advance, weddings are booked up to 18 months before the date and classes are always scheduled several months ahead. Sometimes though something fun and creative gets thrown your way at short notice and no matter how busy you are you have to fit it in! Such an opportunity happened for me last month when O’Reillys Auctioneers of fine jewellery asked me to collaborate in creating a sugar flower bouquet for their March catalogue cover.

The Sugar Flower Collaboration Details

O’Reillys Auction Rooms

O’Reillys Auction Rooms is based in Francis Street in Dublin’s ‘Antique Quarter’. They hold monthly auctions of fine jewellery, watches and silver and their monthly auction catalogues are remarkable for their vibrant and artistic imagery which showcases the stunning jewels.

Auction room brochureauction room brochure

The Sugar Flower Brief

For the March cover Natasha Bernon of O’Reillys approached me with the idea of using some of my sugar flowers to create a bouquet that could be held by a model wearing some of the gorgeous jewellery available at the auction.  The brief was to herald the arrival of Spring, with pretty flowers reminiscent of Mother’s Day to be held against a vibrant spring backdrop. I made a bouquet using a mix of chrysanthemum, roses, sweet pea, hydrangea buds and foliage in pastel colours… all in sugar! sugar flower bouquet Cove Cake Design

The Sugar Flowers in the Brochure

For the cover the bouquet was set against a striking yellow backdrop, with glistening jewels on the model’s hands. Sugar flower collaboration Cove Cake Design

The back cover featured a single sugar rose alongside a stunning emerald ring. sugar flower brochure back cover

There was also an nice little biography of my business towards the end of the catalogue! brochure credit Cove Cake Design

A Thank You!

Thank you so much to O’Reillys Auction Rooms, Natasha Bernon (Creative Director) and Eithne O’Brien (Photography) for giving me such a fun opportunity, it was a pleasure to work with you! See more of my sugar flowers on my wedding cakes in my portfolio!

Suzanne, x

Autumn Flowers Cake Cove Cake Design

Autumn Cake Design

 

For many cake decorators Autumn and Winter mark the end of a busy wedding season and allow for time to be creative in designing new cakes and experimenting in new forms and techniques. With time for a new cake design over the last few weeks I wanted to experiment with different colour tones in my sugar flowers and also embrace a more natural approach to their composition on a cake.

I was in love with the autumn hues this year: copper, burnt orange and light browns filled trees and then carpeted the ground….these colours are a departure from my usual in sugar flowers and hence a perfect palette to experiment with. I have also recently been drawn to more natural and organic floral arrangements by floral artists such as The Blue Carrot and this bowl arrangement by American Florist Kelly Lenard.

My take on this palette and inspiration was a loose arrangement of a blush O’Hara rose, yellow garden roses, and sweet pea for softness. Completing the arrangement were sparse withering leaves in shades of copper, rust and light brown and I also added in my version of my latest obsession, lunaria! I set the flowers atop a tall modern square cake, not the easiest to ice but quite striking I think once done! The cake needed a little texture for which I took inspiration from botanical artist Rachel DeinRachel Dein is a London-based artist who creates intricate botanical art in plaster and concrete in the form of tiles and larger pieces. The detail and texture is incredible!My texture was certainly a more simplified version of Rachel’s beautiful detail but it is something I would love to explore more…if I have the opportunity!I hope you like the finished piece!

Suzanne x

 

 

Let’s Talk Waste

Much attention has been focused of late on the scourge of plastics in our oceans and environment, with dire consequences for future generations unless we take action. Living beside the sea, we see at first hand the waste that is routinely washed up on our little stretch of coast. Since last year my family has worked to take one small step at a time to reduce plastic use, and waste in general, in our home, each thing we eliminate is one less piece of plastic or waste in our environment.

It was inspiring to learn of the recent launch of a Green initiative in my local villages of Glasthule and Sandycove (the latter after which my own business is named!) aimed at tackling waste.  ‘Glasthule Sandycove Going Green’ sees businesses aiming to reduce waste, focusing on plastics first. Businesses signed up to the initiative are pledging to replace at least three of their single use plastic items with biodegradable alternatives in 2018. To coincide with this I have taken a look at my own business to see if I can further reduce waste.

Cove Cake Design is a small home based business who supplies clients directly. The direct delivery of the majority of my products, wedding cakes, to a venue means there is thankfully little to no packaging involved in these orders…I take back my transport box to use again. Cakes that are collected are packaged in cardboard boxes which can be recycled. In terms of my supplies, I try to shop for ingredients locally and seasonally (and in small quantities to avoid potential food waste), choosing products not in plastic where possible. Any food waste is composted (and I keep this to a minimum, carefully quantifying recipes so that there isn’t an excess) and anything that can be recycled is.

There is always room for improvement though and I have been taking further steps to reduce waste (even though some only small I think even saving one item from waste is an achievement!)

  • I am in the process of sourcing biodegradable cellophane for my cake samples in my sample boxes. This is one area of my business where I do us packaging and I hence need to minimise waste from this.
  • I have started using a washing up liquid that comes in a container which is made from 100% recycled plastic and can be recycled again itself.
  • I switched from antibacterial soap in a plastic pump bottle in my kitchen to an antibacterial soap bar that comes packaged in a box.
  • I have switched from purchasing plastic milk containers to tetra pak cartons which have a better water and carbon footprint than plastic.
  • I have discovered a farmer in my local market who takes my old egg box cartons to re-use to sell his eggs…even though I always recycled them before to have them re-used is a much better circular system!
  • I have reduced the amount of paperwork that I print, backing up certain files electronically that I used to print a hard copy of too.
  • I am determined to work with suppliers and make complaints where excess packaging is used in my orders, shopping elsewhere if necessary! (Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows how much this upsets me!)

I have been inspired by others and I hope this little post can inspire too. I also want my clients to have confidence in knowing that when they buy a cake from Cove Cake Design I am conscious of doing my best to minimise any waste produced in the process!

Suzanne x

 

And the award for Best Dessert Blog goes to…!

I was beyond thrilled to have won a Golden Tier Awards in New York last month. Bowled over actually is more like it! The Golden Tier Awards is the first American-hosted, international awards show of its kind, recognising the contribution of pastry chefs, cake and sugar-artists, dessert professionals, authors and writers, chocolatiers, instructors, and retailers and celebrating the very best the industry has to offer. The Awards were hosted by Lisa Mansour of the renowned cake supply shop and school, New York Cake,  along with American Cake Decorating Magazine.

A total of 14,000 nominations (yes!) from around the world were received, spread across 13 different awards categories…Cove Cake Design was in the Best Dessert Blog category. I was asked to submit photos of my work and links to my website and blog for the judging panel to review.

An esteemed panel of 15 cake artists and pastry chefs (that read like a whose who in the cake world) then whittled the nominations down to 3 finalists in each category and we were chosen in the Best Dessert Blog category alongside Olivia Bogacki and Veena Azmanov. I was deeply humbled to be amongst the 39 finalists, many of whom I have known and admired hugely for years.

With only 3 weeks until the awards ceremony, a business and 3 children meant that it was no mean feat to go to New York for the awards show. I am hugely grateful to one of my lovely clients who allowed me to deliver her wedding cake the night before her wedding day, and her florist (Melanie of Fussy Peacock) who so kindly agreed to arrange the flowers on her cake for me so I could catch a flight to New York in time! And of course I have to thank the grandparents for jumping in to babysit!

The Black Tie awards show took place in the iPic Theater in Lower Manhattan, with a glitzy cocktail party preceding the main event. The Best Dessert Blog category was up first and I had my incredulous Oscars moment (!) when my name was called out by Ron Ben Israel who presented my award. It was a fantastic night and I have to say the hugest of thanks to Lisa Mansour and all the staff of American Cake Decorating who organised such an amazing night, as well as all the judges who gave their time. And of course congratulations to all of the winners and finalists for whom I have the utmost professional admiration and respect!

On returning home the messages of congratulations were overwhelming. I can’t thank everyone enough for their continuous and generous support of my business. But most of all was the elation of my children, who had crafted congratulations cards for my arrival…they couldn’t wait to see the award! (although a subsequent win of a football trophy by my 7 year old was soon deemed to far surpass Mum’s trophy!).

People have since asked me what it means to me to have won this and one word comes to mind..validation. I gave up my science career 9 years ago, spent the intervening years rearing children and running a house, somewhat then falling into cake decorating, a business and a blog. I work part-time from home covering all aspects of the business myself. Sometimes it is hard to find the time to be as creative as I would like to be, or to advance things as much as I would like to.  Probably like all those in creative industries I have had moments of wondering how I ended up here, whether I am good enough for it, and whether the juggle is justified. But to anyone starting a business, pursuing a passion, being creative and having moments of self-doubt I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes which springs to mind when wondering if the path chosen is the right one……

 

 

Jenny Packham Inspired Wedding Cake-Design Inspiration and Process

My style is naturally minimalist but I have always adored the exquisite beading of Jenny Packham bridal gowns which are simultaneously decorative and yet elegantly understated.

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(Images courtesy of lwdbridal, elizabethannedesigns, thefashionmedley)

 

For some time I have wanted to translate this into a cake design and with one of my cake resolutions of 2015 being to embrace more decorative elements a recent week off gave me the perfect opportunity.  My design inspiration was the ‘Eden’ gown, a delicately beaded ‘flapper’ style dress in art deco style.

 12.EDEN69aa1e2312bcdb6645e193fdac3b12fa

(Images courtesy of and Style Me Pretty and Jenny Packham)

 

I decided on a tall tier structure reflecting the elegant streamlined nature of the gown.  Using the pattern of the dress as my inspiration I drew my own on baking parchment and then transferred it to my cake tiers using a scribing tool to mark the design onto the cake by needling through the baking parchment. It was then a case of a few quiet hours piping delicate dots and finishing off with some choicely positioned silver dragees.

Jenny post 1Jenny post 2

 

The end result…

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My minimalism stopped me from making it as decorative as the gorgeous gown but I do love this one and look forward to perhaps more intricate cake designs in the future!