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Choosing The Cake

By: Kelly-Rose Bradford - Updated: 22 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cake Weddings Birthdays Baby-showers

Weddings and birthdays usually spring to mind when you think of a reason to order in a specially crafted cake but nowadays, from retirements to baby-showers, graduations to leaving dos, a cake is an integral part of every type of party. And with seemingly limitless design options easily available on the high street, your guests will undoubtedly expect something a little more imaginative than a straightforward Victoria sponge!

Photo Cakes

Nearly all the big supermarkets offer a photo cake service - you simply supply the image you want to appear on the top of the cake and they do the rest. This is a fab idea for milestone birthdays such as forty or fifty, particularly if you have some embarrassing old pics of the birthday boy or girl as a baby or toddler! Photo cakes are also a lovely gesture for a landmark wedding anniversary - you could even make a tiered cake from several pictures, for instance, an engagement photo, wedding photo and then a contemporary image.

Novelty Cakes

Novelty cakes, such as beer bottles, pirate ships, cartoon characters and football shirts are easy to come by in all the supermarkets, and most bakeries offer a bespoke service for these sorts of designs. But don’t limit yourself to the usual creations - if a cake making service is too costly, or you prefer the personal touch, buy a ready iced square or round cake and customise it yourself - cake decorations (both edible and purely decorative) are widely available online and from specialist confectioners and bakers. A flick through a cake design book will yield lots of unusual ideas, from fairy castles with upturned ice cream cone turrets, to chocolate hedgehogs complete with chocolate biscuit spikes!

The only real limit is your imagination. And don’t be put off by apparently impossible shapes and proportions - sponge cakes can be easily cut to size and shape and covered with ready-to-roll-icing to create the bases for more challenging structures, and everything from chocolate buttons to appropriately shaped biscuits can be used with great effect to form scenes and characters.

Fairy Cakes

Fairy cakes are probably the most versatile little cakes you could ever serve up, be it for a wedding, christening or birthday party. Individually iced they can be laid out to spell any greeting from Happy Birthday to Merry Christmas, and can be decorated to suit every occasion.

Different flavoured batches will guarantee something for everyone - chocolate, fruit, orange, lemon, carrot and coffee all work well and are easy to add into the basic sponge cake recipe.

For little girls, consider butterfly style fairy cakes with edible glitter and pink icing; go for spiders’ webs and long jelly slugs atop boldly coloured cakes (add food colouring to the cake mix) for little boys.

For weddings, christenings or other more formal parties, you can hire specially designed multi tiered stands to display the cakes, creating a stunning and unusual centrepiece for a party table.

Off the Wall Cakes!

Don’t let anyone tell you a birthday cake has to be all jam and butter-cream, or a wedding cake must be full of fruit - the only ‘must’ is to go for something the intended recipient will like, and if that means an Angel Delight cake with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top, then so be it!


Once you have your cake sorted, make sure you have all the right equipment to display it at its best and serve it properly, for example, a sturdy cake board, cake knife, cutlery and dessert forks, and mini cake boxes to send guests home with left over slices!

And before it’s cut, don’t forget to take a photograph of it so it can be admired for years to come!

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