Although it's all about weddings this year - I was thrilled to take part in Sugar Show Productions display at the Cake International exhibitions at Birmingham NEC and London's Alexandra Palace - the theme was Cake Carnival and I contributed a cake model of a circus horse. I love animals and a childhood of drawing horses finally came in useful for something, infact so engrained in my head I was able to work on the cake without referring to anything :D I would love to have another go at doing a different type of horse.
There were fantastic cakes in the exhibition - from the weird and wonderful to serene and beautiful, and I was able to meet (sadly via social media rather than real life so far :/) some excellent cake designers who I really admire, it really was a pleasure to be involved.
Other news has been wedding related - quite a few cakes have been out to lovely weddings so far this spring - from city centre venues to country estates. And I've been really happy to take part in a couple of photoshoots with super talented Scottish suppliers - some gorgeous photos to follow.
It’s been so lovely to get to know the wedding market over the past couple of years – while it is a huge market, it has been a privilege to find about and get to know other like minded businesses, small and independent and working really hard at keeping Scottish weddings as creative and stylish as possible. I love being a part of The Wedding Collective
(formerly the Glasgow Wedding Collective), it feels like a great fit for the cakes and I have so much respect and admiration for the other suppliers listed on the directory – check it out! They are fab!
It was so much fun taking part on a super stylish collaboration with some fellow Wedding Collectives, put together by Rosie from Brolly Bucket
– more to come on that and some really gorgeous photos!
The best part of the job is getting to know brides and grooms, hearing their stories and style and seeing it through til after the big day. There have been so many interesting couples over the past couple of years, and I’m looking forward to meeting many more this year. I really hope that my wee business is starting to attract couples who are looking for something a little less conventional – nothing makes me happier than knowing people have a cake design at their wedding that is truly just for them J
There is some availability left on some dates in 2016, and many dates in 2017 are also full – please get in touch as soon as you can as I don’t take on more than 2 weddings per week to make sure that customers get my unadultered working hours! It’s always worth making a wee enquiry.
Here’s to more fab Scottish weddings in 2016!
2015 wedding season is well and truly underway, and it's been a privilege to meet interesting brides and grooms and visit beautiful venues. Scotland really does do venues very well! A small selection of some crackers that I've visited recently include the magnificent splendour of Mount Stuart
and Kinross House
, stunning grounds and exclusive use at Rowallan Castle
, Boturich Castle
and Carberry Tower
and city chic at One Devonshire Gardens
and 29, Glasgow
- there are loads more too, so I will write more on some fab Scottish venue options soon.
The cakes are fully booked through til October and there are some real beauties coming up that I can't wait to get started on, and some lovely winter weddings and hopefully some design time coming up later in the year. With quite alot of dates full for next year it really is good for brides and grooms to get in touch as soon as possible, to keep the business truly bespoke and my time dedicated to each couple, I aim to keep the weddings to no more than 2 per week. This ensures that the brides and grooms get plenty of bang for their buck with my time, but it does mean that the places can fill up quickly.
A couple of weeks ago was the truly inspiring and special Glasgow Wedding Collective
bridal market, it's such a pleasure to meet so many awesome and likeminded suppliers, really worth checking out the site and getting along to a market if you can.
Lots of preps have helped to make the wedding season manageable, all the flowers on this site are made of sugar so it's brilliant to be able to get ahead with some of them, and I really love making natural and wild looking sugar flowers, so plenty have been underway :) Next week has a couple of interesting orders so I'm looking forward to showing something different too!
Also on the sidelines it is very exciting to be involved in a cake collaboration coming up in November - with a Rocky Horror Show
theme :D which will take place at the Cake International show at Birmingham NEC, and also Facebook has been key for meeting up with other Scottish cakers, really loads of talent and support out there which has been lovely to discover.
So, on with the weddings! Hello sunshine :)
PS another beautiful photo taken by my super talented photographer friend Gillian
After a handful of weddings in 2013, 2014 had consistent weddings all the way through and was the first year that Happyhills Cakes properly became a part of the wedding suppliers community in Scotland. It was alot of work but so varied and exciting, really brilliant to meet brides and grooms and find a style that was just right for them. It has been fascinating to learn more about this world and there are so many excellent suppliers and venues in Scotland, it really is a special place to get married.
I am most comfortable with wedding cakes that are really individual to the couple, I love that there is ideas and inspirations to be had from elsewhere but really hope that each cake would be different. I love other suppliers who work in a creative and bespoke and Glasgow Wedding Collective
is a great place to start to think outside the box with wedding planning.
Scotland is such a beautiful and photogenic country - from wild seascapes to cool city centres, it really has such variety. Awesome options from Mount Stuart
to Woodside Warehouse
and so much inbetween, I can think of so many fab venues that I've been privileged to visit over the past year.
There are so many really gorgeous and exciting sketches drawn up for this year's weddings (yes I'm v geeky to find these sketches exciting :D) - lots to look forward to :)
It doesn’t come naturally to talk the big talk about what customers have said about their cakes for the big days, but it occurred to me when I was looking at other websites for anything I’m looking to buy that it’s actually really helpful to know what other people have said about products and services. Even if I have my own thoughts on a matter it is good to know what other people have thought too. The relationship with brides and grooms who come to talk about their day, taste samples, find the perfect individual design for them, can be really quite special and personal so it somehow doesn’t seem like the time use their experiences as a selling point – but then I realised that is a bit silly as it’s cool that they had good suppliers on their special and happy days, it makes all the difference to them and to me :)
So here are some comments from the past few wedding cakes and they mean so much as each wedding was so unique and the couples were all so interesting and different to each other. It really is a lovely process from the first enquiry through to the final outcome and it’s so important for it to be just right, looks and taste! Slightly embarrassed :/ ...but here's a few..
Your cake was quite the talking point of the day - it was beautiful, delicious, and just better than we could have imagined. Johanne & Maurits, July 14
We are flying off on honeymoon tomorrow but before we went we wanted to say WOW - the cake was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!!!! It exceeded our expectations and really nicer than we could have ever imagined. Stacey & Robert, June ‘14
Really want to say a special thanks for everything, from our first meeting at the wedding fayre right through to the lead up to the big day. I had researched a lot of suppliers and I think your cakes not only look and taste amazing but you also offer excellent value for money. I have recommended you to a lot of our guests who commented on our cake. Elise, May 14
The cake that you produced for us was simply amazing. Family and friends all commented on how the cake was a replica of Iram's dress. The colour scheme was simply perfect. It fitted in with everything really well. Then on top of that, it tasted great. You certainly helped make our special day more memorable. Imran, April ‘14
Just wanted to say thank you very much for the beautiful cake you made for us. It was lovely to have our spoiled dog there! The cake tasted amazing, everyone commented on the lovely flavours. Fiona, May ‘14
The cake was amazing, completely surpassed all our expectations, the detail was so fine and overall the cake was so beautiful! I’m totally in awe of your vision and talent, we both trained as architects so we’re pretty particular I am such a control freak when it comes to details but I felt completely at ease leaving the cake to you which really says something! Elaine, May ‘14
Thank you so very much for the cake! We absolutely loved it, as did all our guests. It was the talk of the wedding. Claire, May ‘14
Just wanted to send a message to say thank you so much for our beautiful cake. It was absolutely stunning a masterpiece. Or as my dad said.. "A Work of Art" we really didn't want to cut it. Chantal & Andrew, June 14
The cake looked and tasted absolutely beautiful! Everyone was commenting on it all day. Julie, June 14
I would just like to thank you for the wonderful cake you made. It tasted delicious and the presentation was exceptional. It was exactly how I wanted it to look. I would certainly recommend your work and your company to others. Ashley, May ‘14
We have lots of tastings coming up with brides and grooms to be to coming to meet us, try some different flavours and talk design for their big day. We love that a cake can be surprisingly delicious when it seems like all the effort has gone into it’s looks, the inside is at least as important!
We often make gluten free cakes, dairy free and sometimes egg free too, and at the moment we are putting a lot of effort into getting our vegan recipes up to scratch so that these can be another strand to our wedding cake offerings. Vegan and dairy free cakes throw up the issue of not being able to use our usual ganache to build the smooth and strong structure underneath the final layer of icing, and without the option of marzipan too, temperature becomes a little more pressing than usual, not getting too warm will be important (not usually a problem in Scotland!). We are keen that the vegan cakes don’t look any different on the outside as any other wedding cake and are really delicious inside too.
We’ll get some pics in progress of some vegan cake building! And above is a dairy free sophistication in gold :D
We can’t wait to meet up with brides and grooms to hear about their plans for their weddings, January is a busy month for planning! Many many congratulations to couples who have started off 2014 with a new engagement, much excitement ahead!
It's unavoidable - Christmas is coming! We're looking forward to it! A time for tradition, though not so much with the cake we find. There aren't too many traditional fruit cakes ordered from us, perhaps folks still enjoy making them at home, but the Happyhills contribution tends to be the chocolate version. It lasts really well over the festive season and is a nice but still indulgent change from rich fruit. (it also makes a great pudding if slightly warmed with cream or ice cream :)). But there are other flavours too that are well suited to the winter - black forest, white chocolate & cranberry, black bottom, sticky toffee, maple & peacan ... mmmm! Another viewpoint could be that this is a perfect time to have something very light and fresh, perhaps lemon based, to contrast with all the rich Christmas food? To summarise..Christmas needs cake whatever way you look at it!! :D
We are really lucky to have a fab Yuletide night
in West Kilbride - the whole town comes out for Santa's parade, fairground rides and late night shopping in the local shops and craft studios
- it may be a little weather dependant but it really is a Christmassy occasion. We are really pleased to be able to borrow some space in Happyhills Studios to have some of our Christmas cakes and little cakes to sell and will be sharing some space (and party atmosphere!) with Chookiebirdie
. And how nice to have the word Happyhills in the location! - if you are from the town it's a familiar street name and Emily lived there when she started the business, otherwise it may just sound like a happy wee name :D
It was quite lucky with the timing of a cake we had made recently that it could be entered into a competition for Black & White cakes online. Going through this process opened our eyes to a whole online community that we hadn’t previously fully appreciated – such diverse and talented professionals from all over the world that we can follow, talk to and be inspired by. It’s hard to imagine how we could be exposed to such work if it weren’t for the wonders of the internet. We have always been especially keen on contemporary design and while we can get loads of non-cake design inspiration from all around, it is sometimes the case that the cakers from other parts of the world have the edge when it comes to modern trends for wedding cakes. Having access to visuals of what’s happening across the globe is really exciting for us, it’s a privilege to see some of the work of the big hitters in the world of cake design on a daily basis, and it’s equally interesting to see the work of smaller businesses and individuals who like us wouldn’t be in a geographically obvious location!
As with many professions it seems a good idea to bring an element of competition to the workplace from time to time. It’s really important to us to keep looking forward and finding ways to get better and better at what we do. It was fortunate to be able to enter the Black and White Beaded cake to an online international competition as it had been such a labour of love (which at times felt like madness) and it was such a relief for it to be so well received. Another form of competition is at the big cake shows across the world, the UK has a few – Cake International
is coming up shortly in Birmingham and we were so disappointed that a Glasgow version of the show was cancelled earlier this year. We are so keen to see the competition entries at shows like this and would really love to enter ourselves – such a great opportunity for entrants to show work at the top of their game and come up with ideas that are more elaborate than regular orders allow. Funds wont allow us to go this time round, but we can’t wait til we can!
Some points of interest we have found online Cakesdecor.com, Cake Central, Cake Masters
, Cake Geek
, Royal Bakery
, Cakes by Raewyn
, Callicious Cakes
– to name a very very few..
We have had a particularly busy stretch recently which culminated in meeting lots of fantastic brides and grooms at the Scottish Wedding Show at the SECC in Glasgow at the beginning of this month. The week running up to the event was a day and night, 7 day effort as we worked on three local weddings and display and info for our stand at the show.
While it felt like a herculean task for us, there were other people involved without whom the whole project would just not have got off the ground. This support and team effort was so important to us and we are so grateful to have such talented friends and family! First of all my (Emily) Dad hand made a state of the cake art display cabinet with it’s very own wiring and lighting system – it is just fab and he spent so much time and effort to make the perfect structure for the specific measurements of our pretty tiny stand at the SECC. This posed the issue of transporting this item to the event and more fantastic generosity came from the (slightly unlikely) source of Coastworks
based in Fairlie, North Ayrshire who leant us their van for the weekend, invaluable to us and another piece of the puzzle solved.
While the cakes were underway we were able to call upon good friend and super talented photographer Gillian
– we always take ongoing snaps of the cakes but it makes such a difference to have a professional take them how we see them, especially for use in print. We don’t underestimate what an important part of our output this is.
And finally on the weekend we had another good friend Cara come along and demonstrate to us how meeting different brides and grooms should be done! Her energy and warmth was another invaluable asset to our efforts and we were thrilled to have her on board. As a writer and former Happyhills bride she even wrote a gorgeous wee poem about different cake flavours which we put on our handout leaflet - her enthusiasm and care for what we do seemed to say something extra about the overall cake experience! All in all a team effort - and we really appreciated it!
There were some other great suppliers there too, many of which we didn’t have a chance to visit but of those we did we loved meeting Opus Couture
, Portavadie Marina
(gorgeous venue) and it was fun to meet Cheese Wedding Cakes Scotland
We are super busy in the cake kitchen this week, cakes for some brides & grooms at a couple of local venues are underway and there's loads of preparation to be done for the Scottish Wedding Show
at Glasgow's SECC. This is a big event with over 200 suppliers and 8000 attendees over the course of the weekend. We try to take a few new display cakes along to show some contemporary ideas and are a little bit different, hopefully they will spark some lateral thinking so that brides and grooms can imagine a cake unique to them.
Another slant on cakes at weddings is the traditional concept of grooms cakes
. While historically this was an idea big in the UK, more recently it is trending far more in the US, we'd love to see a few grooms cakes make a return to wedding celebrations here. The idea is that a bride arranges for a fab bespoke cake to be delivered to her groom on the day of the wedding. This is a unique and super personal surprise - hopefully the bride can capture a hobby, pet, place or love of the groom represented in cake form that makes for a fun and delicious talking point on the big day. We often find that the men we meet are far more interested in yummy cake than they let on! They can often excel at the tasting part of our wedding cake consultations :D, and a groom's cake is a welcome addition to a day of celebration and indulgence!
As a contrast from a tiered wedding cake, we love the idea of a sculpted cake depicting a special interest and a focus on the man of the moment. To launch this idea we are offering 20% off grooms cakes up until the end of this year, so brides please get in touch to discuss any ideas!
We're looking forward to seeing lots of different suppliers at the weekend, and especially meeting lots of brides & grooms and their families and friends. In the meantime there are several cakes to be made..back to the kitchen and the midnight oil!