An interview with… The Pretty Cake Company
You might not know much about wedding cakes (apart from the fact they are delicious) or where to start when looking for a cake maker for your big day. There are a lot of companies out there and finding the right one for you can be a tricky task. Although, it’s got to be one of the tastier tasks of planning a wedding for sure. As a wedding planner, we work with a team of amazing suppliers, cake makers included. One of our favs is The Pretty Cake Company, so we sat down over a ‘virtual’ cuppa and chatted all things cake.
Tell us a bit about you
Hello I am Samantha Tempest and I am the owner of The Pretty Cake Company.
My love for home baking started as a child and now looking back, I can see how I had a flair for creative baking even then. Over the years my hobby progressed, I started experimenting and learning new skills. I left behind my career in clinical research when I had my first daughter, but I realised that I had the potential to combine a passion for baking with also the challenges of being the mum of two small girls. So, in 2008 I launched The Pretty Cake Company. I have seen it start as a celebration cake business, doing a bit of everything and it’s now developed into a luxury bespoke wedding cake business, specialising in creating beautiful edible works of art.
I work closely with many high calibre venues and wedding suppliers in Oxfordshire, The Home Counties and the Cotswolds and I’m delighted to have my work featured in many bridal and wedding cake magazines and blogs.
I run my business from my home-based cake studio in Minster Lovell, West Oxfordshire, this is where I meet with couples for consultations and where inevitably, ‘all the magic happens’! I love working with couples to produce their dream wedding cake, making sure that it fits perfectly with their theme and the expectations of the day.
What made you want to be part of the wedding industry?
Initially, I started making birthday and celebration cakes but eventually I was asked to make my first wedding cake, I felt so much pressure! I agonised over every step of the process. But the thrill that I got, when I saw that cake set up in all its glory, is a thrill I continually get with each and every wedding cake, even to this day. When I see my creations sat in the wedding environment, surrounded by the flowers and all the finishing touches, I feel so honoured and proud that I get to play a part of someone’s special day. It’s something I never take for granted, I never lose sight of the responsibility I have and so each wedding is personal and important to me.
Ignore what you’re doing now – if you could do any job in the world, what would it be and why?
I have always been interested in Interior Design and despite not having nearly enough time to dedicate to my own home, I could have seen myself enjoying a career in this area. I think I do have a naturally creative side and I like to implement it into areas other than just cake design. Having an eye for colour and texture and the ability to picture things is a skill that I require in my current job, but I do think I could have expanded this to a career in other creative areas too, such as Interior Design. I think I just love visualising a project, working hard to bring my ideas to life and getting the satisfaction of seeing the finished article!
What do you predict will be the biggest trends this year for wedding cakes?
I think we will continue to see a trend for semi naked and buttercream cakes dressed with fresh flowers. I work at a lot of country and rural venues and these cakes do go particularly well with a relaxed rustic environment. I love providing the blank canvas and then being creative with flowers and foliage that are given to me by the florist once it’s all assembled at the venue.
Iced cakes will always be popular but adding texture is becoming a big trend. There are great ways of adding texture and design to iced cakes, be it with the use of texture mats, stencilling or wafer paper.
I’m also experimenting a lot with cocoa butter based edible paints, I think that there will be an increase in hand-painted floral designs which can accompany the ever-popular sugar flower designs or be a feature just by themselves.
Tell us about the most unusual cake request to date?
I was approached by a bride who wanted a cake that was based on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges wedding cake. It was important to me, and the couple, that the cake was not a replica of the original royal wedding cake so we made changes to the original design which meant that the cake was individual to my clients. The finished cake was 8 tiers tall, and 3 feet wide. It took over 160 hours to make over 4 months and had in excess of 1500 sugar flowers, buds and leaves. It took 2 days to install at the venue and when assembled was the same height as the 6′ 7” groom! It remains the biggest achievement of my career and I would relish the opportunity to make something again that is equally as grand! Photos below by Kristian Leven Photography
Personally, I love a lemon drizzle. What’s the most popular cake flavour or combination of flavours right now, and what’s your favourite?
I offer a wide range of flavours. I would say that 95% of my wedding cakes always have a lemon tier. I think this flavour is so popular because it’s so palette cleansing and refreshing. It can have a traditional lemon curd buttercream filling but I also offer an elderflower buttercream or passionfruit buttercream filling which compliment It particularly well.
Chocolate is also another equally popular flavour and because chocolate has an affinity with so many other flavour combinations, you can have a bit of fun with the fillings such as salted caramel buttercream, chocolate orange buttercream or vanilla and black cherry jam.
New flavours that I have also started to offer are, rhubarb and custard cake (made with the finest Yorkshire rhubarb!), sticky toffee cake, white chocolate mud cake and Cherry Bakewell. My personal flavour is the carrot cake, it’s the one I always struggle to not nibble on with the offcuts!
What’s the one piece of advice you would give a wedding couple starting to think about their wedding cake?
I always advise my couples to book their wedding cake as soon as they have set their date and highlighted the suppliers that they want to work with. So often people leave booking too late and because I have limited capacity of 2 weddings per week, I invariably do have to tell lots of couples I am already fully booked. I also advise couples to think of their cake as a means of tying in all the areas of their wedding and take inspiration from things like flowers, bridesmaid dress colours, the bridal gown itself and stationery.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching ‘Escape to the Country’ in the afternoon with my eldest daughter! We love noseying around posh country houses!
How can people find out more about what you do?
Photos by Neil Hanson photography