We want to introduce you to someone who we really admire for her creativity and classic style that she is not afraid to stick to – making her truly authentic in her own way.
It is not about following trends or even creating new trends for others to follow.
In this series we wanted to speak to people who are really passionate about what they do. Our Experts Guide series is designed give you some tips and advice to help you to create a wedding that is truly unique to you.
Fiona Cairns is best known for baking the wedding cake for the royal wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton in 2011. Her stunning work is stocked in iconically British stores such as Fortnum & Mason, Harrods & Selfridges. Her brand now makes over one million cakes every year and Fiona’s clients range from rock stars to royalty!
Wedding Cake Design has really taken off recently. With so many designs to choose from, which are your favourite styles?
Interest in wedding cake design has really taken off in the past few years. Gone are the days of the narrow choice of a white royal iced tiered cake as more or less the only option. These days anything goes.
I do think this is an exciting time and there is so much talent around. Personally, I do love the naked cake idea and it lends itself to seasonality so well – both in flavours and decoration. I still like the traditional sugar paste classic wedding cake. More gimmicky cakes, although I can admire, are not so much of interest to me personally.
What advice would you give to a bride when selecting a wedding cake?
With so much choice I would say, firstly and very obviously of course, consider what might be appropriate for your own wedding and purse! Consider the time of year (e.g. for a winter wedding I wouldn’t necessarily choose spring flowers to decorate) and most importantly, where the cake is to be displayed at the reception – lighting etc. This last point is often overlooked!
What elements should a bride look out for when tasting wedding cakes?
When tasting cakes, remember who will be eating the cake – it is good to bear this in mind. For example, not all guests like fruit cake, nor do children as a rule. We often, either make a tiered cake in a variety of flavours or offer a cutting cake (i.e. an undecorated extra cake to slice and serve).
Do you think that a bride’s choice of cake should be reflective of the season of her wedding?
As already touched on, it is essential both in flavour and design, to reflect (or at least be sensitive to) the season of the wedding.
What is your recommendation for the amount of cake you would need at your wedding, for example how many layers would be suitable?
We work to a grid depending on the cake, as most cake makers do. It is important to get the balance right between the amount of cake you need to feed your guests and the overall look/size of finished cake you want to achieve.
When designing a wedding cake, where do you take your inspirations from and what has inspired you recently?
I personally do not design all our wedding cakes. We have a great creative team at Fiona Cairns Ltd and discuss ideas for hours and days! As with all creative processes, our inspiration is from all around – a flower in the garden, a piece of lace, something seen in a magazine, trends etc.
It must have been such an honour when you designed Katherine and William’s wedding cake. What was your favourite memory of this experience?
So many memories, it would take a few pages! Anyway, I would say when we received the message that the cake was “beyond our expectations” on Kate and William’s wedding day. We were completely thrilled! All of the stress and sleepless nights for our team that worked on the Royal Wedding Cake was worth it. The commission for the cake was the greatest honour for us – not ever likely to be surpassed.
We absolutely love the creative and intricate style of your cakes, and also the way that you display them. Do you have any creative tips?
Passion, patience in buckets and do not try to be too ambitious; know your limitations and don’t be wary of hard work and long hours!
Which cakes have you found are the most popular to suit all tastes?
Chocolate, vanilla, lemon and fruit – quite traditional.
Do you have a personal favourite cake? If so what do you like about this particular cake?
Not really – I do love light floral sponges in the summer months and dark, rich, chocolates or luxury fruit cakes in the winter.
Visit Fiona Cairns Ltd for more inspiration.