Piece of mind

Dessert bars, five-tiered towers and sugar flowers, oh my! Shauna Austin of City Girl Cakes tells you how to have your cake art and eat it too.

What's popular lately?

This year we're seeing quite a few more intimate gatherings (30 to 60 guests) with two- to three-tiered cakes. Styles like vintage/lace, soft ruffles, metallics, rustic (buttercream finish) and ombre continue to trend. Simple white cakes with a floral statement and soft colours are popular. Couples are choosing two or more cake flavours to give their guests options---a popular choice this year is Red Velvet with Oreo buttercream!

What's more important, how it looks or how it tastes?

Both! I've found that it truly is a personal preference. I've had brides who have said "I'm not overly concerned about flavour, but the design has to be outstanding" and I've had brides who have said that the most important part for them is that it has to taste great. It is possible to have both if you choose the right cake designer.

What are some favourite cakes you've made?

I don't consider myself a ruffle-y type of girl, but I do absolutely love a ruffle wedding cake. So soft and delicate---they make me happy-sigh. I had a consult with a bride who said she really wasn't a fan of ruffles and then by the end of our meeting, we'd designed a beautiful white ruffle cake with pink/white/grey sugar flowers and accents. I love making sugar flowers, so any cake with them seems to become a favourite. I will always love the classic black and white design. I can honestly say that I have met very, very few who have said, "I just want a cake, don't really care what it looks like," and I'm grateful because the process is so much more enjoyable when we're all excited!

How big should the cake be?

As the artist, I feel the wedding cake is just as much an artistic piece of wedding decor as it is a sweet treat to share with your guests. I always encourage couples to focus on the design aspect first then make decisions on the number of servings. If the budget allows for their dream cake in a five-tier format---great! For couples who have a tighter budget, the same design could be replicated in a smaller version and then serving cake can make up any gaps. Never compromise on your dream wedding cake.

We're just starting to plan, where does the cake fit into the process?

A wedding cake can be a fantastic statement piece! Work with your designer to ensure it fits with your vision for the day. There are endless pictures online---save those where the design has caught your eye and share them with your designer. Establish a budget. Most specialty cake designers only take a few cakes each weekend with the busiest months being July to October. Couples should start contacting designers at least four to six months before their wedding date for a consultation. When you decide "that's the one," book as soon as possible. Be prepared to pay a deposit and try not to price shop--- you're not buying a generic item. Every designer offers a unique skill set and style. Work with a designer who can work within your budget, is skilled and fun to work with! Your cake should be a fun (not a stressful) part of your wedding planning!

Shauna Austin
Shauna Austin

City Girl Cakes cake designer Shauna Austin creates specialty and couture cakes for weddings and all occasions. Crafted with skill and love and created with incredible attention to detail, each cake is designed specifically to suit the personality and style of the individual. And they taste great, too! 
citygirlcakes.com, 456-4657

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