Meet cake decorator Toni Scott – owner of Toni’s Freshly Baked (Cape Town, South Africa). Discovering her passion for both baking and business at a young age, Toni was baking banana muffins and selling them to neighbors at the age of five. Fast forward 20 years later, and today she owns and runs a thriving home business making specialty cakes for birthdays and weddings.
Like most cake decorators, her vocation to cake art wasn’t a straight path. Started as a hobby – baking for friends and family – while her newborn baby slept, she went on to make one to two small buttercream cakes a week charging a pittance for her cakes. But with a growing party planning and wedding industry and the help of social media, her home business grew to what it is today.
From wedding cake trends to advice for brides-to-be, Toni gives us insight into her world as a cake decorator.
What is the perfect cake and topping for a wedding cake?
I’m not sure that the perfect cake and topping exists as wedding cakes are very personal. I have however noticed that younger couples tend to lean towards flavors like red velvet and chocolate, whereas more mature couples prefer flavor like carrot or lemon. I will admit to having a preference for carrot cake for weddings as it is a more sturdy, moist cake that holds well especially in tiered cakes.
What is your favorite wedding cake trend?
At the moment my favorite wedding cake trend is modern cakes with fresh flowers and touches of metallics. Semi-naked cakes, which have been around for a couple of years, still seem to be holding strong. I do like the semi-naked cake as it is not too heavily laden with frosting making it very light to eat. Classic fondant tiered wedding cakes do still have my heart though – they will stand the test of time and be seen at weddings for decades to come.
What has been your favorite wedding cake you’ve done?
My favorite cakes are small, simple cakes that had clean lines, sharp edges and a whole lot of romance.
What are the two tips you have for a bride-to-be when it comes to their wedding cake?
My best advice to any bridal couple when booking your wedding cake is to start with proper planning and do your research from the ground up. Other than that here are my tips specifically for wedding cakes:
- Have a good idea of what you want for your wedding cake – design, size, flavor, and color. Design, size, and flavor are essential for a cake quote.
- Start following local cake decorators on social media and find the best of the best. Look for cake decorators who consistently post great looking work but also who have great reviews. Setup a wedding consultation, if they don’t offer one-on-one consults then order a small box of cupcakes so that you know what to expect regarding flavor and texture. The last thing you want on your big day is for your guests to have a slice of tasteless cake.
Additionally, know your budget for your wedding cake, and be realistic about what you can and can’t afford. An experienced cake decorator – home-based or not – will have costed their product appropriately. If your dream is to have a five-tier beautiful fondant cake, be prepared to pay for it. Smaller tiered cakes can also make a statement, so bigger isn’t always better especially if your set menu includes dessert.
My last bit of advice is never to forget to cut the cake! Once the cake has been cut, the groom will feed his bride, and then the bride will go second. This ritual symbolizes their commitment to provide for each other and contains the meaning of good luck and fortune.