What constitutes bespoke wedding cakes?

When you see a cake maker promoting themselves as a creator of bespoke wedding cakes what does that mean? What should it mean?

Wikipedia describes bespoke as an adjective for anything commissioned to a particular specification. It may be altered or tailored to the customs, tastes, or usage of an individual purchaser.

Therefore in my eyes, when talking about wedding cakes, a bespoke wedding cake is a unique product, designed and created specifically for the client.

Victoire from the 2016 Wedding Cake Collection

The cake industry is a creative one, and imagination is key. Most cake makers follow lots of other cake makers on social media and will often see images and designs they like. I often screen shot images of designs I like as inspiration; perhaps I like the piping detail, the use of ruffles, maybe the colour palette. However, the key word here is inspiration; in the same way as clothing retailers take inspiration from the catwalk of leading designers, following colour trends and styles and creating their own versions for their stores.

The story of cake makers replicating other peoples cakes is a tale as old as time and having been in the industry for 10 years I have heard many many versions of this fable and even had my own cakes replicated, but what I witnessed recently shocked me.

I was exhibiting at a wedding show and I was saddened when I saw another cake makers stand. I could tell you the name of the original designers of almost every cake on their stand. All virtual carbon copies; same colours, same designs. Not one iota of anything bespoke or unique – but a closer look at their promotion and they use the wording bespoke wedding cakes. I have to ask – what is bespoke about an exhibition stand featuring replicas of other people’s designs?

When I returned home and decided to catch up on my social media where an interesting post cropped up on my news feed. Somebody had shared a post which said ‘Pop down and check out (insert name here) new cake design’, and when you click through to the post the wording proudly states ‘Our new wedding cake design’ – but its not a new design. It’s a replica of someone else’s creation.

In the world of cake making you will often come across clients who will bring you a picture of someone else’s cake design and say this is what they want. There are always reasons why they haven’t used the original cake maker (distance, cost, availability etc.) and with the explosion of sites like Pinterest this does happen frequently.  As cake makers we’ve all seen that one cake that we wished we’d made first and look forward to the day that a client asks for it but when that day comes we make it our own. As a bespoke cake maker I will always encourage the clients to put their own spin on their cake and give it their own personal stamp – after all what bride wants a carbon copy of someone else cake on their wedding cake. When images of the finished creation are shared on social media most cake makers will give a nod to the original creator and tag them in posts.

What I personally find dishonourable is when people replicate other people’s designs for their displays at wedding shows. This is the opportunity to show YOUR style as a cake maker. Show your potential clients YOUR skill and imagination. Clients want to know what YOU can do. Surely promoting yourself as a bespoke cake maker with copies of other peoples work is false advertising. The clients themselves will probably never know that the cake they are admiring is a replica of someone else’s work but surely as a creative you would want to take pride in showing off your own bespoke wedding cakes.

Remember – A dummy cake is a blank canvas – it’s the opportunity to take your ideas and run with them. Turn your ideas into a reality.

Happy Caking x

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