As I was trawling through Instagram recently, my eye was drawn to the irresistibly exquisite sugar flowers adorning wedding cakes made by The Sugar Coated Bakery. Each flower is more ravishing than the last, whether delicate pink roses, ranunculus or meticulously furled dahlias in subtly graded colours radiating out from the centre of each bloom.
‘I just love to make flowers, sometimes hours pass without my realising how much time has gone by,’ says Louise Howling of The Sugar Coated Bakery. ‘It’s my time out.’
It is a painstaking process creating the flowers: the first step is to colour an ultra-fine flower modelling paste before rolling it out into ‘incredibly thin sheets.’ Next, using special cake tools, each leaf and petal is carefully cut out.
Veins are imprinted by hand on the leaves with a silicon mould. Louise adds floristry wire to the leaves and flowers enabling them to be bound together before they are then left to dry for at least a week. This is particularly effective if making a spray of flowers and leaves. The technique is akin to intricate floristry work.
To add definition and contrast Louise dabs ‘tiny, tiny amounts onto the tips, creating a subtle 3D effect.’
At last the flowers and leaves are stuck onto a cake using a sugar-solution edible glue with added gum. But that is not the end – the final stage is to shape the flowers on the cake. ‘I find it hard to stop, it can drive you crazy, and I am always twisting and adjusting.’
After taking Art and Design A levels at school, Louise lived in Canada for a few years, where she learnt the art of baking from her sister-in-law, who had her own cake business, Let Them Eat Cake. She moved to Faversham two years ago. ‘It is a great community, with so many individual businesses.’
Most of Louise’s work is wedding cakes, but she can turn her hand to any style from bespoke cupcakes to sweetie cakes. ‘Cakes are increasingly becoming more themed following American trends such as cakes for baby and bridal showers.’ You order it, Louise will make it. She has even created a cake in the shape of a tortoise. ‘I like a challenge.’
But if you want a wedding cake it is advisable to order at least six months if not nine months in advance. Louise offers a complimentary consultation (by appointment only) for couples.
There is a trend for what are strangely called ‘naked’ or ‘semi-naked’ cakes: layers of sponge cake with butter cream and jam, decorated with fresh flowers and fruit. ‘These are increasingly popular with younger people. They are more appropriate for the current vogue for more informal rustic wedding venues such as converted barns.’ The most popular flavours are vanilla bean, rich chocolate and zesty lemon curd.
Traditional wedding cakes from £345 and naked cakes from £245.
Telephone: 07950 464433
Text: Amicia. Photographs: The Sugar Coated Bakery and Lisa Valder.