Wedding Cakes, the most exquisite part of a wedding besides the dress. Big, delicious and outstandingly gorgeous. Wedding cakes are hard to make, transport and there are many difficulties when dealing with these beautiful masterpieces. But, Liz Blanchard,a brilliant and successful entrepreneur, tells us about how she first came into this wonderful and demanding occupation. Liz, first states about her difficulties when first starting her baking business. She states her big dreams of opening a bakery, it didn’t seem completely possible until she was approached by Betsy Teter (Director of the Hub City Writers Project) with the idea of opening a bakery alongside a bookstore and coffee shop. With the support of the other two businesses, she secured partial funding from the City of Spartanburg and began the process of building our plans. Liz already had a sizeable clientele and a solid reputation from making cakes out of her home, and selling sweets at community art events. Liz also had a nice collection of her own recipes, spanning from my 15+ years of baking in restaurants and at home. Through hard work, she pieced all of this together, reworking recipes and creating a menu from scratch, and was able to open the bakeshop seven months after the idea was born. Thus, she created an amazing and successful business, CakeHead Bakeshop. CakeHead’s Bakeshop, employee Wedding Cake Decorator, Connor Mathis, tells us about her experiences and gives advice to brides and grooms. Connor, also tells of some difficulties when baking and dealing with clients.
Connor Mathis describes her work environment as a small simple Southern bakery in Spartanburg. The mission statement ‘Made with love by baker Liz Blanchard and team, Cakehead Bakeshop is on a mission to serve Spartanburg delicious homemade sweets’. Blanchard’s baking philosophy incorporates the use of inherited rustic family recipes with the collected findings from her decades’ plus worth of restaurant and bakery experience. With a baking style that is fun and natural, Cakehead is the epitome of old school baking with a unique twist. However, just as it is the bride’s and groom’s important day, so it is also for the decorator. Connor Mathis describes designing cakes as “a creative outlet”. As she is an exceptional decorator, she has a passion for what she does. Connor believes herself to be an artist in many aspects but making cakes for other people makes her the most happy. She absolutely loves making others happy by creating a beautiful and tasty cake for them.
Although Connor is not the owner, she helps brides and grooms pick out the design and flavor of their cake. Connor describes some of the wonderful works of art she has created for many brides and grooms on their wedding days. When we think of wedding cakes we imagine grand designs, however, raditionally in Spartanburg most weddings are small and not as extravagant as it would be in cities. This does not stop these amazing decorators from creating their best artworks to please both the bride and the groom.
Although men and women are different, the issue of choosing the cakes and agreeing with both taste and colors come into play. Cake Decorator Connor Mathis states that ‘Typically the bride is more concerned about the design of the wedding cake, whereas the groom is more concerned about the flavor and taste of the actual cake’. Men are known to focus on the big picture but women focus on the trivial things. omen always tend to want everything to be beautiful for their special day. Although, taste is important it is not the main concern of the bride. Many people have the notion that looks says it all, if cake is beautiful there is no exception that the taste also will be magnificent. Taste is the make or break of cakes, though, no one cares for the taste as much as the beauty.
Whilst, brides’ minds vary and shifts from dresses and bridesmaid, there is also the concern of what to know when choosing the perfect cake. Some of the most important things to know when choosing a cake is the flavor of cake brides prefer and an idea on how they want their cake to look. Besides that the cake decorator and the bride discuss the details and figure out the logistics together. A bride should have an idea on how many servings they need and the transportation to the location of the venue/ceremony/reception. There are many factors behind making a cake, not only the taste and looks, but the amount. There needs to be enough for all the guests, and left overs for the bride and groom after the reception. Connor personally believes ‘If there are a few extra details, it is easier to give them a more accurate estimate. Less is always more. Simplistic and tasteful cakes make the best presentation’.
Simple cake designs are seen as more intricate and effortless. The simple and smaller the cake is the more presentable it is usually seen as. But, from the decorators point of view as stated by Connor, simpler is better.
At CakeHead Bakeshop, the price ranges for wedding cakes start at $3 per serving. The price can go up from there depending on flavor and design. The smallest wedding cake offered at CakeHead serves 100. Therefore, cakes generally start at $300. The bigger the wedding party, the more expensive the cake will be. Therefore, the simple cakes are usually sought after, as not to go over budget or to prevent other additional charges to the wedding. Although the prices varies based on size and type it is worth the price. The smile and happiness that enchants both the bride and the attendees is one of the most leasing for the decorators. Ecstatic is the feeling of most brides on their special day, but hunger also creep in after a hectic ceremony, and unveiling the cake is sure to brighten the mood of the bride.
Wedding cakes can be expensive to add in the budget, it is always worth it to get the best from the best. To get the best, usually the booking of the wedding cake has to be placed six months to a year in advance. The time may seem like a lot but it is what is needed to have a worthwhile and exceptional cake. There is a lot of planning that goes into making the perfect cake, not only is their stress placed on the brides and grooms but also the cake decorators. So planning ahead is very important. Specifically if you decide to go with Cakehead you would have to plan 6 months ahead, other bakeries may differ depending on their availability. Also, CakeHead needs to be able to make the proper arrangements for the cake and get the cake booked before someone else books that day. The more information and planning ahead that takes place, the more it will be beneficial to the bride’s and the decorators making it easier on them.
In everything there are always problems, when it comes to weddings, one of the hardest problems or issues concerns the weather. Connors explains “The weather is always the biggest potential problem, especially if the wedding is outdoors. It is essential to have the cake at the appropriate temperature depending on the weather and time of reception. Because Cakehead Bakeshop makes everything from scratch and has a small group of employees, it can be challenging to balance work time for actual baking, paper work/doing bookkeeping, etc. Another potential problem is the outcome that the couple may not be happy with the final product. It is important to communicate with the couple in making sure they are getting exactly what they have asked for. It is always important to have instructions on delivering the cake, not just getting the location. There may be important details on how to get to the reception and it is critical that we get this instruction before the day of the wedding”. Communication errors are inevitable, either between the bride and the groom or simply the bride and the decorator. It is essential to make sure that these problems do not occur. The final result is always important, and all issues must be looked at before the cake is delivered or even made. Communication is key. Many brides fail to look at the weather, transportation, or other issues but it is must be evident that all possible problems are considered. The big day cannot be ruined by simple rain, or car troubles; it must be all taken into account and dealt in order to have a magnificent day.
Comes every great responsibility, there is that tiny fear that envelopes us. Many decorators, or anyone who is faced with such a big task would naturally be afraid of the outcome. There is always stress related to this occupation, that strong desire to please every customer and make the best product possible. One has to do their very best and be confident with what is created. The questions start to stir, What if it’s not good enough? What if we needed more? All this fear comes with the territory. Connor states the hardest part of her job “is dealing with the overall stress beginning with baking the cake and ending when the cake is dropped off and set up completely”. There is always a fear that she may dropped a cake tier, or the whole cake itself. A fear that she may make a mistake that cannot be fixed. Mistakes are natural but we should learn not to succumb to them, that is exactly what professional decorators such as Connor thinks about while she designs cakes. Fear will always creep in whether we want it to or not but overcoming that fear and producing a great overall product is astonishing. As Connor puts a smile on not only the brides faces but also the guests, producing a happy bride and a happy wedding. At the end of the baking day, the only way to have peace fear is to just simple ‘make it extra yummy and hope the customer loves it’.
Tips for dealing with monster brides or zombie husband, always put clients above everything. It is important to make the clients’ feel special. They want attention, as one would pay attention to a small baby. Listen to every complaint and pay keen attention to them. Undivided attention is essential. Never put the bride and the groom into compromising situation that will cause problems, rather focus on solving problems and communicating with clients. In every business interacting with clients is as important as pleasing them. Clients are typically pleased just by capturing attention and getting input/advice/ideas about their dream wedding cake. Communication is an aspect that is significant in developing a good relationship between client and server.
Typically, a day at the store for Connor varies. As she is in school full time. Sometimes she works at 5:30 AM, 7 AM, or 8AM. Connor describes her life as such “If I come in at 5:30 AM, this means I am responsible for making breakfast for the Coffee Bar and our wholesale breakfast for Wofford College. I then scoop and bake several cupcakes and cookies for the case to sell when we open. I then decorate cupcakes and get the case set up. I put out all other baked goods with help from other employees. The day then transitions to prepping for the next day and completing orders that will be picked up that day”. Wedding cakes are beautiful, but can be hectic to make. From stress with decorators to weather and many other circumstances have to be dealt with. But in choosing the right decorator everything will go smoothly and both bride and groom will be ecstatic with the end results.
So, eat and enjoy the delicious final results of the cake. And, to the brides and grooms – plan ahead, take everything into account and communicate with your decorators. The final result will be worth it in the end!
Special thanks to CAKEHEAD BAKESHOP!
I am currently a senior at High Point Academy where I am a member of the Beta Club. I am an all A's student. I am a certified member of CERT. I participated on the varsity volleyball team. In the future I would like to become a pediatric nurse or work in the medical field.