Celebrity cake maker Peggy Porschen, 32, is one of Britain’s most sought-after confectionery artists renowned for her highly individual style and exquisite detailing. A highly-skilled professional and self-confessed romantic, Peggy uses her expertise to design and create the most beautiful bespoke wedding and couture cakes.
She launched Peggy Porschen Cakes in 2003 and over the last five years has established an impressive reputation within the wedding industry.
Her range includes Wedding cakes, seasonal cakes, favours and cookies, all of which are regularly featured on the pages of the UK’s most prestigious wedding magazines, lifestyle and food publications and in the national and broadcast press.
The success of Peggy’s business has seen a childhood dream realised as it was her fascination with baking and cake decorating that saw her move to London from her native Germany to study a Cordon Bleu course in French patisserie in 1998. She later worked as a pastry chef at London’s Lanesborough Hotel and at Rhubarb Food Design, where she met head chef and future husband Bryn Morrow, before honing her cake decorating skills at Konditor & Cook.
Heading a highly-trained team of five sugarcraft experts and pastry chefs, she sources only the highest quality ingredients from organic suppliers and all the hand-decorating is undertaken on site by Peggy and her team.
For many of her celebrity clients, no party or event would be complete without a Peggy Porschen cake and commissions have included Stella McCartney’s wedding cake, chocolate Faberge eggs for Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball and party cakes for Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. A recent collaboration with Fortnum & Mason, London’s premier purveyor of fine foods, has acted as the latest showcase for her wedding collection and her corporate work includes cakes for top brands such as Burberry, Puma and L’Oreal. Now Peggy sits down with The Wedding Girl to share her advice…
The wedding cake plays a significant role at any wedding. Being the focal point at your reception and the shining star in the all-important ‘cake cutting’ photo opportunity, it needs to look and taste amazing and should reflect your personality and style.
Choosing the perfect cake should be a fun, exciting and, most importantly, very delicious experience. There are so many things to consider, such as which designs would work best in your venue, will it match the flowers or does it go with the colour scheme of your bridesmaids dresses? Maybe most importantly, does it taste as good as it looks and could it be served as dessert? I hope with the following tips I can guide you with your wedding cake dilemmas.
Peggy’s Expert Tips:
How many tiers?
For the average wedding of 100 to 150 guests, a 3 tier cake is a good size. However, many couples go for impact, especially if they are getting married in a large reception room with tall ceilings so they opt for a 4 or 5 tier by adding fake tiers amongst the real tiers to leave enough cake portions for guests. Fake tiers are iced and decorated just the same as the real cakes your guests will never know the difference but the impact can then be made without having far too much cake! A wedding cake portion is usually finger size, if you would like to use your cake as dessert it should be 2-fingers size.
Tiered cake, cup cakes or miniature cakes?
I have noticed a real come-back for tiered wedding cakes. After all, this is the one and only time in your life when you can treat yourself to a pristine white wedding extravagance. A tiered cake is perfect for a classic and traditional wedding whereas individually iced miniature cakes are more contemporary yet still elegant and sophisticated and a popular choice for second marriages. Cup cakes are ideal for a more fun and less formal wedding, for example if you have a cocktail reception rather than a sit-down dinner.
Choosing a flavour
Sponge cakes are the most popular choice and most cake makers offer the choice to have different flavours for different tiers. The top tier is often a fruit cake that is traditionally kept as a christening cake for the first baby. A reputable cake maker will provide tasting samples for you to choose from and advise you in terms of shelf-life, stability for stacking and which flavours are ideal for dessert.
When choosing your cake flavours think about the time of the year – for example serve a refreshing lemon cake in summer or a rich chocolate cake in winter. When it comes to how many different flavours you should have, less is often more as too many choices could confuse your guests and make it more difficult to serve.
Styles & themes, current trends
This year we’ve seen two strong trends in the wedding cakes that we have designed for our clients. The romantic country wedding seems to be very popular with lots of intricate sugar flowers, blossoms and cascading petals creating very natural effects on our cakes. We have also seen a continuance of the very elegant and vintage chic wedding cake. The most popular elements of this look have been luxurious sugar lace work teamed with vintage brooches and lots of glamorous ecru, pearl, champagne and dusky colours to match in with antique rose displays.
Another great way to theme your wedding is to personalise your favours and match them to your cake or wedding dress. Out bride’s dress and groom’s jacket cookies can be iced to match your outfits perfectly – an amazing keepsake for your guests to take home from your wedding.
Home cake decorating seems to be another big and upcoming trend. We’ve seen a huge rise in the sale of cake decorating equipment and our cake classes are more popular than ever.
It’s always worth doing as much research as you can when budgeting for your wedding cake. Have a look around and become familiar with what the various price brackets are for certain styles such as intricate piped work and sugar flowers versus an elegantly iced cake with a satin bow. You will get a good idea of what kind of cakes you like and what you can afford from this research and will be able to set a realistic budget.
Remember that cakes are usually priced according to how long it takes to make the decoration and so to save money choose fresh flowers over sugar flower displays and use brooches and ribbons to accessorise a simply iced cake.
How to find a cake maker
The best way to find a good cake maker is to go by reputation and recommendation. If you hear of a good cake maker the first thing to do is check out their website. You will be able to tell a lot about the quality of their work and the ethos of their business from this but the most important thing to do is book a consultation to go and see where they work and discuss a design for your wedding. All good cake decorators will have display cakes so that you can see the cakes in real life and they should also have an extensive portfolio and press clippings folder showing previous work and, of course, tasting samples should always be provided! A few hints to spot a professional cake maker will be things such as them offering a nation-wide delivery service, having a high health & hygiene rating from their local authority and holding liability insurance – all cake makers should be happy to answer questions about any of these aspects of ordering your cake.
I hope these pieces of information have been useful and will help you find and design your dream wedding cake to tie in perfectly with your wedding – the most important thing to remember is that choosing your wedding cake should be a fun and, above all, tasty experience!
Learn more about Peggy and her cakes by visiting her website www.peggyporschen.com or why not learn how to make your own wedding favours at one of her masterclasses. Just call 020 7738 1339 or visit the website for more details.
Peggy is also the author of three highly-acclaimed books, Pretty Party Cakes – named Best Entertaining Cookbook in the World by Gourmand World Cook Book Awards 2005 – and Romantic Cakes. Cake Chic, Peggy’s’ third book, is being released this summer. All books are published by Quadrille and feature stunning photography by Georgia Glynn Smith.