The wedding cake, the sweetest part of your wedding day…
Love is sweet and so is your wedding cake, as we find out in today’s feature article with cake-maker extraordinaire, Joanne Maginn, where we chat about all things sugar, ice and all things nice.
I was born in New Zealand to English parents but was brought up in Wiltshire in the South West of England. I lived much of my adult life in London and am now based just outside of Estepona and have an area coverage from Mijas to Sotogrande.
The baking came about purely by accident. I was more of a cook and my mother the ace baker. She was amazing and made the best pastry in the world! I grew up with home made chocolate eclairs being something normal my mother would bake along with scones and sky high pillowy chocolate cake.
Whilst here in Spain I started baking desserts for the family every Sunday when we had our large Sunday roast lunch gatherings. I got interested in baking cookies and broadening the range of gateaux – I had always made a mean carrot cake and NY cheesecake but wanted to try others out on my captive diners.
Then one year I was then asked by my stepson to bake a cake and cupcakes for his sons’ dual birthday party. The eldest wanted a dinosaur. I had no idea! Nervously up for the challenge I got on YouTube and found a cake. I was totally enthusiastic all of a sudden and kitted myself out with everything I needed including a spray gun and edible paint for the finish. For the youngest boy I made 24 cupcakes with handmade animal faces.
It reignited my arty side…I had always been keen on painting, drawing, model making and craft. I found it cathartic to prepare these little pieces of art and I wanted to explore further. I spent time on my newly acquired hobby and started to explore and bake purely for myself.
Wedding cakes came from enquiries on FB and word of mouth. My first was incredibly nerve wracking. It appears I am not alone in being a bit of a perfectionist in cake making. We see the tiniest nick, crack or smudge that others wouldn’t and knowing that the cake is for such an important occasion adds to the pressure.
But for me the delight has always been in the face of the recipient. The taste of the cake is every bit as important as how it looks. To know that clients think that your cake tastes as good as it looks is exactly what I want.
It’s a great privilege to be asked to make a cake for such an important occasion, and I consider it an honour to be selected.
For the wedding cakes I have made, I have usually been sent a photo of what the bride has seen online. At this point my first thought would be if it is suitable for our climate. It gets hot in Spain, really hot, and humid. All I need to say is that butter melts at 27c, so a buttercream design for an outside venue in the middle of August is not the best choice. So we talk, and see what we can do. If the bridal couple want a themed cake, I would be more than happy to help.
I offer a choice of cake flavours and fillings, handmade or real flower decoration, and road test my cakes and creams on a team of friends whose reward, apart from free cake, is the chance to be brutally honest. If the bride is local then a tasting is certainly available.
I do offer options when it comes to food intolerances. I make quite a lot of vegan, gluten free and dairy and/or nut free options on birthday cakes on a regular basis. I have not been asked for this for a wedding cake, to date, but would be happy to offer this.
I get a lot of ideas from Pinterest and regularly check out new ideas and tutorials on YouTube for designs and effects. I am a great fan of Carlos Lischetti and attended a class with him in the UK and I follow many other bakers online. I am fascinated and intrigued by both sugar and chocolate in decoration and the amazing designs that can be achieved with isomalt. I would like to go to France to spend a week with a pâtissier and chocolatier purely for the experience.
My personal favourite cake flavour has to be lemon.
Personally I would like a minimum of six weeks for the order of a wedding cake, earlier if you want to ensure the date. This gives me time to order special items that are not readily available in Spain, and time to prepare handmade flowers and lacework if these are required.
Decide on the colour and theme for your wedding first, then choose the cake. If you want us to coordinate we need to see the colour and style you want. Choose the flavour that you as a couple want, if you have more than one tier, you can always have alternate flavours but choose the cake for you. Have a good idea of the guest numbers. Once decided, leave the cake to us and enjoy your day!
A huge thank you, Joanne, from the Sunshine Weddings Spain Team for your time in sharing a little about what you do, and the ins and outs of cake-baking. We look forward to working with you once again in future weddings.