FAQs and expert advice about cakes

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your North West Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yournorthwest.wedding


Festive delights

Festive delights

Q. What flavours would you suggest for a winter-themed wedding cake?

A. Lindsey Alexandra says: Most cake makers will provide you with a sample box which is the perfect opportunity to try some flavour combinations that you may not have previously considered.

Winter weddings are the perfect time to indulge in rich, decadent flavours such as chocolate with cappuccino buttercream, sticky toffee drizzled with salted caramel and chocolate cake paired with a mint-infused dark chocolate ganache. Coffee and walnut with layers of expresso buttercream, and chocolate and orange marble cake with orange-infused chocolate ganache are also great options.

Offering perfectly paired flavour combinations will ensure your guests have the best of both worlds. Some great options include lemon cake layered with tangy lemon curd and white chocolate ganache, indulgent white chocolate and raspberry with a white chocolate ganache, creamy coconut layered with tangy lime curd and coconut buttercream, and almond and cherry sponge drizzled with almond sugar syrup and a velvety smooth cherry buttercream.

My advice would be to choose at least two flavours to give your guests a choice. Many couples now opt for a different flavour for each tier. Remember your cake should reflects you, so go with an unusual flavour combination if that's what makes you happy.

Lindsey Alexandra, Lindsey Alexandra Cake Design


An explosion of flavours

An explosion of flavours

Q. We love strong flavours and want something unusual for our cake. What do you suggest?

A. Beverley Wright says: My most popular flavour is chocolate orange. The orange can be subtle or quite intense if you prefer. The flavour runs through both the sponge and the buttercream filling.

Another popular and fairly strong flavour is red velvet cake filled with a cream cheese frosting. An option probably not thought of as strong, although I personally think it is when using the freshest fruits, is luscious lemon.

Coffee is obviously strong and a personal favourite of mine.

I provide my couples with a taster box which can include up to six flavours to try at their leisure, so they'll know exactly how it tastes before committing.

Beverley Wright, Bev’s Bakes


Delectable delights

Delectable delights

Q. Many of our guests have dietary requirements, so we wanted something a bit different for our wedding cake. Do you have any suggestions?

A. The team at Lake District Country Hotels says: When it comes to the cake, you might struggle to find something that is a little bit out of the ordinary while satisfying your guests at the same time. Here are five wedding cake alternatives:

Cheese wheels – Who's to say that the cake has to be sweet? For some, a savoury treat might be more up their street. In this case, a cheesecake is a perfect alternative. For your tiers, use different types of cheese wheels. Think brie, gouda, and swiss: combine all of your favourites and stack them up to create the ultimate cheesecake. Don't forget to add some extra touches – decorate tiers with bunches of grapes, olives, and of course, some walnuts.

Macaroon tower– Not keeping with tradition doesn't mean that your wedding has to be anything short of elegant. A macaroon tower still includes the sugary goodness and sophistication of a wedding cake if you want to satisfy your sugar cravings. Consider your wedding theme and colours to make the most of your macaroon tower. Perhaps each tier will be a different pastel hue to maintain a minimalistic look or if your style is more bold, vivid and bright colours like fuchsia and violet are certain to capture your character.

Crêpe stack – This French delicacy is bound to be something your guests have never seen before at a wedding, so you can be confident that your day will go down in history. Your crêpe stack can still follow the style of a wedding cake by using small, medium, and large sizes to create tiers. Instead of cutting the cake, you can pour the golden syrup over the stack together as a couple.

Croquembouche – This fabulous dessert of choux puff pastry filled with cream and coated in caramel is too delightful to ignore, and it looks simply stunning as the coating glistens in the light.

Biscuit stand – Incorporate some of the classics, like shortbread, chocolate fingers, and chocolate digestives, which takes the crown for the most popular biscuit in the UK. Alternatively, you could add some personalised touches by opting for biscuits topped with illustrations of the happy couple.

The team at Lake District Country Hotels, Lake District Country Hotels


Fly away with me

Fly away with me

Q. I want to incorporate our love of travelling into our wedding cake. Do you have any ideas of how we can do this?

A. Katey Melici says: It can be very evocative incorporating memories from a special trip into your wedding cake. This can come from certain flavours, aromas, textures or colours that have appealed to you on your travels. For instance, one of my brides was proposed to in Sicily, so we put Sicilian lemons into the cake.

A destination may remind you of a specific flavour or taste, so there is a lot you can do using flavours. It's also possible to include small trinkets on the bake, such as little airline tickets, or memorable photographs.

Why not make the wedding cake shaped like a stack of suitcases? You could also put a little globe on top with bride and groom figurines holding their passports. The use of toppers is a great way to incorporate little aeroplanes or special messages.

If you were going with a gold theme, you could use gold leaf to paint a map onto the side of the cake, this could also be done with wafer paper shaped like certain landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or London Bridge. These could also be cut out of black icing and templated on a white base for a striking effect.

Katey Melici, Cakes by Katey


Just one slice

Just one slice

Q. We're not big fans of cake and would love to have a cheese version instead. What flavours and designs would you suggest for a spring wedding?

A. Sarah Atkinson says: When it comes to cheese wedding cakes, the flavours aren't something you need to consider like you would with a usual wedding cake. Depending on the number of tiers, you can include a range of different flavours to suit everyone's preferences. There are so many variations on the market, so whatever you like, chances are many of your guests will like it also. You could have two cheddars which taste nice, one with a shiny view of the outside like a processed cheese or a nice farmhouse style, which is encrusted in a salty thicker outer layer that gives it the appearance you want for your cake.

Just because it's cheese doesn't mean it can't be decorated with flowers or lace. For an autumnal wedding, you could place it on a nice wooden board with black grapes, figs and other darker coloured fruit, but for spring, perhaps on a frosted glass plate, with lace and flowers to tie in with your theme. To add a splash of colour, go with coloured fruits like strawberries, figs and greenery. Stay away from coloured cheeses and go with blues, brie, white hard options to keep the colours light and fresh.

Sarah Atkinson, Appleby Creamery