FOR SWEET SAKE
A far cry from the traditional necessity it once represented, wedding cakes have become an expression of originality. René Hart speaks with bespoke cake artist Janelle Adams from Cakes by Dark Cherry about how inspiration can come from non-obvious sources to create a truly unique dessert.
Whether your wedding style is modern or traditional, feminine or streamlined, your wedding cake sets the tone and adds the finishing touch to your nuptials. It’s also an opportunity to showcase a confectionary delight that guests will admire and appreciate. After all, the cutting of the cake is one of the final formalities, and it’s also the last thing on the menu, so guests are sure to remember it.
There are many aspects that can inspire the theme of a wedding cake; some brides will bring the lace from their wedding dress to a baker to create a very elegant and extravagant cake, while some couples may fall in love with a countryside scene and will want their cake adorned with colourful blooms. Traditionally, your wedding cake would take a cue from your dress and be predominantly white, but thanks to some of Western Australia’s incredible cake artists and bakers, you can now draw inspiration from all walks of life to ensure your cake represent your style as a couple.
Despite helping her grandmother and mother make cakes, lamingtons and other Country Women’s Association-type treats as a child, cake artist Janelle Adams fell into making bespoke wedding cakes completely by accident. She worked for a law firm in London many years ago and took part in an in-house baking competition, which she won! “Everyone loved the flourless chocolate mud cupcakes I made for the event, and they then started asking me to make things for them!” says Adams. “I found I had a love for the creative side of the process. [I loved] playing with recipes and flavours and – of course – the decorating side of things is great fun.”
After much encouragement and support from friends and family, and many years of practice and experience, Adams turned her hobby into Cakes by Dark Cherry – a prestigious small business that is run from her registered home kitchen in Mount Lawley. “One of my favourite things about running my own wedding cake business is that I get to meet all sorts of lovely people who are planning their weddings and parties,” she says. “Being involved in such special occasions is very heart-warming, and I particularly love the thought of playing a small, [yet] delicious part in so many happy days. I also love getting to see that ‘cake face’ when people first take a bite of one of my yummy cakes at a private tasting or design consultation!”
Image credit: Cakes by Dark Cherry
PEERING INTO THE PROCESS
Adams offers a truly bespoke service that far exceeds what is traditionally expected of a cake artist. By working closely with couples, she’s able to draw inspiration from almost anything to create a truly unique confection. “I am drawn towards things that are a little bit different and unusual,” she says. “If you want a popular design that you’ve seen somewhere before, that is no problem at all. However, if you’ve got some wild ideas, colours or concepts that you’d like me to play with, then we are going to get along great!”
Adams’ first contact with couples is usually either via email. “I encourage my couples to send through lots of pictures to help me get a feel for the sort of thing they are after,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be pictures of cakes; it can be architecture, colours, moods, concept boards, fashion – absolutely anything! I like to then meet my couples face-to-face so we can discuss ideas and I can see their reactions to various things. I also tend to gesticulate a lot, which I find helps get ideas across, so these face-to-face consultations are very important to me!”
With so many fresh and inventive trending concepts to choose from, finding the perfect cake that’s unique and non-traditional might be easier that you think. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be unique! “I will always have a soft spot for beautiful semi-nude [cakes] with fresh flowers. They are just so romantic and very popular, and because there is little decorating required, they are also one of the less expensive options,” says Adams. “Marbling is still trending at the moment. Mixed with textured tiers and metallic, it is a very modern take on wedding cakes.”
LET NATURE NURTURE
With foliage, blooms and plenty of other produce to choose from, nature-inspired wedding cakes are the countryside confections of choice that have guests scrambling to score a slice. In lieu of traditional tiers and classic fondant, brides are opting for subtly stylish wedding cakes with an earthier aesthetic. “One of my favourite things to do is find different textures from stone, wood, marble, grass, leaves, dress fabrics and colours, and see how [they] can be worked into a cake design,” says Adams. “Whatever a couple is passionate about, we can try to find a way of incorporating some element of it into their cake.”
When it comes to finding inspiration for your wedding cake, take some time to think about how you can create a concept that describes your relationship with the one you’re about to marry. More importantly, enlist a professional baker who’ll be able to bring this concept to life. “I love it when I get to create something special for my couples – something really tailor-made just for them that captures their own personalities. I don’t just bring out a limited selection of pre-made samples from the freezer for them. This is their big day and I want to be sure they are getting exactly what they want,” says Adams. Let your wedding cake be a token of your personality and the highlight of your special day, and remember that inspiration can be found in even the smallest of places!