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Sweets by E – Virginia Wedding Cakes

As a wedding photographer I get to see the final product and how everything comes together on the day of your wedding.  But I’ve always wanted to know more about how the other vendors prep and put together their contribution to a wedding.  So I’ve decided to talk to some of my favorite vendors to learn what they do and find out their recommendations for any bride and groom.

For my very first vendor spotlight I chose Evan Sanderson and her lovely business Sweets by E.  She makes cakes and cupcakes (and some wonderful cookies and brownies too) and I sat down with her to see what she thinks about wedding cakes.

Since cakes are meant to be eaten I wanted to know what flavor is requested the most for her wedding cakes.  Surprisingly the answer was Vanilla even through Evan offers a ton of different varieties both in her cakes and her fillings and frostings.  Most people think that playing it safe with the cake means more people will eat it.  In reality, making the cake something out of the ordinary makes more people want to try it, and talk about how good it was it in years to come.  Evan’s favorite cake is a Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting.  I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong there.  I love cake and my favorite would be anything with a cream filling… or berries… or chocolate.  Yum.  Keep it interesting and make something you would love to eat!

I wondered how long it takes to make a wedding cake and Evan told me it normally takes her three days.  She starts by baking her cakes on Wednesdays.  She fills them on Thursdays (they need to settle overnight so they don’t fall apart later) and then decorates them Friday so they are all ready for your Saturday wedding.  As for the eternal buttercream vs fondant debate she says that both work, it just depends on the look you are going for.  Fondant makes things look smooth and perfect, while buttercream allows for all sorts of fun textures and it tastes good!

Buttercream and fresh flowers are always a great way to decorate a cake.  Flowers look good and easily tie into your wedding (just use the same flowers on the cake that you used in your bouquet or centerpieces.)  For great cake toppers Evan recommends shopping on Etsy.com.  You can find so many different kinds of cake toppers on Etsy, and even have one custom made so that it really represents you as a couple.  Remember that your cake is like a piece of art and it is the centerpiece of your reception.  It should make people think of you.  When you meet your baker, bring ideas and colors that you like, as opposed to a photo you want replicated exactly, that will give you both the chance to work together to create something that is uniquely you and your wedding

I also had to ask Evan what is one piece of advice she wished all Brides had.  She advised couples to think not just about the cake, but about the cake table.  Where is the table placed?  Often it gets put in a dark corner somewhere or next to the service exit.  Try to make sure the table gets placed somewhere that shows off your cake, somewhere with a good background and easy to get to for the cake cutting.  Also think about how you want to decorate the cake table.  Normally a venue will just cover the cake table with a white tablecloth and the cake goes on top.  You could easily buy a pretty piece of fabric that complements the cake (in your wedding colors, or some lace.)  You can put candles around the tabletop or flowers or something special that ties it all together.  Also think about the cake stand.  So much can change based on what you put your cake on.  You can even rent them online (just google cake stand rentals) or go somewhere like Home Goods to buy an affordable one (just make sure you check with your baker to see if it can hold the weight of your cake)  I always thought that the silver trays you normally see cakes on at weddings were used for a reason, like maybe they had ice in them to keep the cake cold, but they are just used because that is the cake tray the venue owns.  Nothing special!  If you were having a rustic chic wedding and your cake was textured buttercream with little owls on top imagine how much better your cake would look sitting on a lace covered table with a wooden cake stand and candles and pinecones sprinkled around, rather than the same cake on a white table cloth with a silver platter.  One shows so much more character and ties in with the cake for not that much money.  (Seriously, pinecones are free… or really cheap at a craft store)  Decorating the cake table is one thing that tends to get overlooked but can really make a difference.

In summary, make your cake unique to you.  Talk to your baker and think about what best shows you as a couple.  Find a cake topper that is completely you and your fiancee.  And have fun with it!

I took these photos of Evan at work while we talked about cakes.  If you go on her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sweetsbye) you can see a picture of the cake she is working on all finished.  It is the cute rocket birthday cake.



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