What Sarah Did… To Cake Or Not To Cake?

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Afternoon Bridelings! I have to warn you, if you haven’t eaten lunch yet and you have a sweet tooth… divert your attention! Prepare yourself to start thinking about cake, but more specifically, wedding cake.

As overwhelming (or underwhelming) wedding traditions may become when planning a wedding, the thing I have found most inspiring is the ability to take them and make them into your very own creative visions. So many people have their opinions on what should be THE ‘white’ dress, THE flowers, THE old, THE new, THE borrowed, THE blue… do they matter? Brides these days have paper flowers, red dresses and not a hint of blue in-sight. Isn’t individualism what makes a wedding so fantastic? The bride and groom get to have their day, their way picking and choosing the traditions that resonate with them. No matter how absurd some of the brides choices might seem to you, no-one cares because all they want is for the couple to be happy.

Now then, what about that wedding cake? This is one tradition we are deliberating over keeping or not. Whether or not you think these tasty formations are a lot of huff about nothing, let’s face it, when done right they can be a work of art. These days, there are even dedicated television series’ such as ‘Amazing Wedding Cakes’. But do you or your guests really look forward to eating THE cake? I don’t think I am going to wake up on my W-Day and think ‘eeeeeeeeee bring on that cake cutting baby!’ Does anyone really want to eat a slice of cake after a three (or more!) course meal and usually a skin full of champagne? Or does it just end up mushed in ones handbag? Speaking from experience here! Is a wedding cake just another tick in the box? “The cake’s cut! Next!”

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Traditionally wedding cakes were thought to bring luck to all the guests and the happy couple. They were simply formed as a rich fruitcake, where fruit mix had been soaking in a variety of ‘juices’ for months prior to the wedding, then covered in a layer of marzipan and thick white icing. After the cutting of the cake, the top tier was then wrapped up nicely and stored until the christening of the couple’s first child. Mmm… lush! Well apparently it really is lush, I know my mum and dad’s first tier was eaten at my christening and they lived to tell the tale! I don’t actually know the last time I went to a wedding that had fruitcake. These days it’s a yummy lemon or chocolate cake, which I fear would end up penicillin rich breeding ground if kept for nine months or more! Anything goes for flavour and the décor of the cake can really have the WOW factor with all shapes and sizes on offer. Two tier? Three tier? How about you destination brides taking on the local tradition?

What about bucking the trend that little bit further too, some couples choose fruit platters instead, or you can cake pop it, cupcake it, push-pop cake it, croquembouche it, macaron it, cookie it, doughnut it, cronut it … aggghhhhh a girl could go crazy with so much choice… and that I did….

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Edible Glitter & Gold You Say?

I love cake, all cakes! So most of our guests are likely expecting something spectacular. You may remember my colour scheme is black, gold and pinks, so the thought of having a gold cake really got my creative juices flowing and isn’t it just FABULOUS you can get edible glitter! Now that’s something special for us glitterati queens.

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So you guessed it, I was hammering that poor ‘Big Black Wedding Scrap Book’ (www.rockmywedding.co.uk/what-sarah-did-branded-the-wiwis) of mine with cake ideas. I loved so many colours and styles and soon I had a vision of what I wanted in a cake, something bright and bold, not necessarily 100% akin with the colour scheme of the day but the cake would be totally edible and grand without any fruit mix in sight (Callum hates fruit cake). The more I researched the more I wanted all shapes and figures, with gold all over it and glitter sprinkled within the batter and tiers upon tiers of different flavours (don’t forget the sprinkles of gold). Before I knew it this baby had scaled out of control till it started to look like Tinker Bell and Barbie had teamed up for a champagne party and subsequently thrown up over the Empire State Building…

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Popping The Cake Bubble

I guess you could say I went a little ‘cake-crazy’. I finally had my design, which I wasn’t fully in love with, but it was time to take it to the baker. As we are planning from NZ I had to work with her via email which I think made the process of describing my Tinker-Barbie plan all the more difficult. This is when (thankfully) my cake fantasy/obsession came to an abrupt halt; she really wasn’t a fan of making this cake:

“Sarah, whilst I love your designs, I don’t think we can work with these colours as they don’t fully match your theme”
“It’s ok” I said, “that doesn’t bother me too much, I like things a little different”
“Well, it’s rather un-traditional and usually brides like everything to match”
“No, its ok, we really don’t mind that it doesn’t match our theme,”
“Mmm, but besides that Sarah, we can’t even think about the cake colours till we know what your dress is like”

C’mon… really? I mean with all due respect I’m not going to wear the ruddy cake.

This lady did everything she could to get out of it and she succeeded! After our emails I sat there staring at the worst piece of art I had done since year 7 and began to question myself, do we even really need a cake?

But It’s Tradition!

When I mentioned my ponderings to Callum, being a cruise-y kinda fella, he wasn’t that bothered if we caked it or not either. Sorted! So the next time I was asked ‘have you decided on a cake yet?’ I had my answer. Or so I thought… you should see how horrified people are when I announce, “We have decided not to have a wedding cake actually”, after all, it’s only a cake. You would think I have just told them I stabbed a baby bird. Then that sneaky word crops up again “But it’s tradition! You can’t get married without ‘cutting a cake’!”

Well, why can’t we not have a cake? I’m pretty sure the reverend wouldn’t annul our marriage just because we didn’t cut a wedding cake. The more we thought about it and after discussion with some of our married friends, the decision started to become cemented. No cake. I still don’t think many guests ever eat it and then you are faced with leftovers and the daunting fact that your nutritional intake for the next two weeks is simply fat and sugar. What about the fact you’ll be left with ‘cake-baby-belly’ on your honeymoon, as you felt the overwhelming compulsion to eat every last crumb because this little beauty cost you upwards of £300!

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But then there are our parents and not having a cake is quite a big deal for them; “Please have a cake, guests can take it home! You can’t not have a cake”…Ugh. Where do you draw the line? For us, if it is something that will keep the parental’s happy it is a decision we may have to rethink. But oh Lord, that means the trawling of designs starts again, which to be honest fills me with ‘cake quivers’. I may have to revisit some of my favourite places to check out cakes again: The Cake Blog, Miss Martha, Brooklyn Bride always has something a bit modern, The Knot and of course Pinterest. If you live in Wales, give my friend Kay Augustus a call at Augustus Gloop Cakes, her decorating techniques are ‘MAZIN. But right now, for us, the pondering continues…

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An Unconventional Idea

After a wine or two (ok maybe more) a friend and I started to talk about my wedding cake conundrums and we began to joke about possible alternative cake ideas. We decided if we were to wed (we were up to ‘a few bottles’ by this point) we would have a massive doughnut instead of a cake. None of the guests would be allowed to lick their lips till they had finished their very own slice; just like in school days! It would be a sugary cushion large enough to feed 80, filled with that yummy, sticky, raspberry jam (and of course edible glitter) that would explode everywhere when cut and no-one would care because we are all so happy to be covered in sparkly doughnut love (yeah right). ‘No wait’ I carried on, we can top that, ‘lets fill it with mini doughnuts, but hang on… better still, lets fill it with butterflies and glitter, it could turn into the opening act for the evening’s entertainment!’ ‘No wait!’ said my friend (who needs to remain nameless), ‘What about filling the doughnut with doves! Think of the mess!’ mmm, we may have gone too far, that’s not even funny…

Alas, it may have entertained me, but that conversation didn’t fix my quandary. It’s a cake minefield out there people! And we haven’t even started on the topper yet… Which side of the fence do you sit on, to cake or not to cake? What are you rocking out with on your W-day?

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Happy Thursday Doughnut Love From Me! XX

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

32 thoughts on “What Sarah Did… To Cake Or Not To Cake?

  1. We had a tower of Krispy Kremes but my Mother-in-law to be wanted us to have a cake. I told her that if she bought it and it was blue she could get anything she wanted! She bought a blue heart shaped fruit cake. She did also buy a cake topper I hated but in the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter and it made her very happy indeed! 🙂

  2. I was dead set that we were not having a cake. I personally could not stand the thought of the cake cutting moment, fake posing with a knife, cheesy grins on our face. We were faced with the same reaction as you. Luckily for my more traditional guests, our venue includes the cake in the cost, so we have got one. I was still hoping to avoid the cutting moment, but I don’t think my mother would allow it!

    On another note, the lady you spoke to sounds awful! I have dealt with people in my planning process who have the same ‘everything must match and be traditional and proper’ mentalaity. With two weeks to go (eek) we have done it all our way (except the cake!) and are so happy we stuck to our guns. So I guess what I am trying to say is, have a massive doughnut that explodes into glitter/ butterflies/ doves. It is totally NOT excessive.

  3. We’re having a cheese cake. No, not that kind of cheesecake, a cake made of ACTUAL cheese! Our wedding is being held on a farm and we’re holding the ‘do’ in Norwegian tipis so it really goes with the theme but quite apart from that, neither of us are particularly big cake fans but we love cheese. Sorted! And as an added bonus, cheese wedding cakes are much cheaper than normal cakes; ours is costing £150 for approx 70 guests 🙂

  4. Whooopwhoop sarah, another awesome post and one which has left me starving ha ha. You are so organised, i love the idea of cake as i love it but know half of the guests wont care either way a humongous doughnut sound like heaven, ha ha i want pictures of you black book xx

  5. This has had me giggling the whole way through! Sarah, this is brilliant!! If you have a giant doughnut I WILL be gatecrashing your wedding!!! xxxxx

  6. “With all due respect I’m not going to be wearing the ruddy cake” Quite.

    I had the most rubbish cake ever – I basically didn’t care about having one at all and then succumbed at the last minute. When we picked it up it was NOTHING like I designed and my sister and I proceeded to cry ourselves laughing the whole journey with it on her lap. She then promptly knocked some of the iced detail off the figurines whilst getting out of the car. Queue further laughter and an even more tragic looking cake.

    I personally like naked ones, or very plain white one layer with just some pretty floral detail on top. Or a peach. I saw a plain butter icing one layer cake with just a peach shoved on the top and it was genius!!!

    Charlotte xxx

  7. Hilarious post, Sarah! Your cake deliberations sound very detailed indeed.

    For our engagement party in December we will be cutting a homemade cake made by myself because I love baking (and eating cake). If all goes well I may consider baking our w-day cake too!

    Could you consider a homemade cake? That way you get exactly what you want and at a snip of the price. It might be a fun way to spend an afternoon with your best ladies xx

  8. I’m so glad someone else feels this way! I don’t like wedding cake, actually not very keen on cake at all. I definitely don’t want a traditional cake, and if it wasn’t to spare the parents feeling I probably wouldn’t have one at all. I’m all for tradition but its a bit silly to spend a couple of hundred pounds on confectionary for one photo opportunity!!

  9. I’m not hugely bothered by the cake for my wedding next year, however I am one of those guests that WILL eat the cake at the end of the meal regardless of how many courses I’ve eaten, I bloody love cake! The cake is often better than the dessert (I’m quite fussy with desserts) so I promise there will be at least a couple of guests who would appreciate the cake!

    The cake for my wedding is going to be quite a personal affair – my mum is making it (well she’s on the fence about the idea but she’s making it whether she wants to or not!), I’ve loved her cakes from a young age and many memories of us together were in the kitchen making cakes and me and my sister licking the bowl. She’s also giving us the cake knife that her and dad used to cut their cake back in 1984, so I think its quite sweet how personal its going to be and how much it means to my mum.

    I agree on the cost of the damn things though – ours is going to be well under £100 because its homemade, if we were spending £300+ I probably wouldnt bother! Have you thought about buying the sponges and decorating it yourself? You and the family + maids could get together and decorate it, all tiers could be different depending on who is decorating? The decorating is the most expensive bit so you’ll save a fortune DIY’ing it. Or how about a wedding bake off? Get guests who enjoy baking to bring a cake each and then serve it instead of dessert?

  10. Omg I love this post! Also because I love cakes and will find any and every excuse to have it!
    In fact I just ordered lunch and had to talk myself out of it after a week of cake most of last week!
    If I can have it my way, my hubby to be will be baking as he bakes the yummiest cakes and friends have made up birthdays so he can bake.
    But we decided it’s not an additional stress we need and we will be having not one but two cakes made for us.
    One is a small 3 tiered naked but elegant Victoria sponge with different flavours in each tier
    and the other is a cake of layers of cheeses!
    As for advice, at the end of the day, I know it’s hard, even if everyone says you should just do what you want.
    But really, that should be the only reason for it – ie you want it!
    Not having cake doesn’t mean you are breaking all tradition! Just include tradition in other ways! 🙂

  11. Great post!

    The attitude of that baker was astounding – imagine your guest’s horror at an un-matching cake!

    We are having cake, not because of tradition but because I won’t turn my nose up at cake! I like to make and eat cakes so it’s a given that we’d have one, I say one we’re going for a small cutting cake (which people can eat on the day if they can force it in after 4 courses) and then we’re having individually iced mini-cakes which also double up as favours, 2 birds, 1 stone and all that.

    If you decide to cake it up for your parents naked cakes with copious amounts of edible glitter all over it would be awesome.

  12. It’s so interesting reading all of these comments and I might be going against the grain of the majority of this afternoon’s commenters when I say that I loved our cake and that it was super important to us. We were lucky enough to have our cake bought for us as a present by the boy’s brother and his fiancee so it didn’t really have an impact on our wedding budget. In fact one of my favourite natural images of the boy and I is when we were cutting the cake (you can see it here – https://www.rockmywedding.co.uk/lover-of-the-light/). We chose an all-white creation topped off with beautiful flowers and I still love it so now nearly a year on.

    But I do understand those of you who have decided not to have one on your big day and as per @Christine’s comment above, you should only have one if you want it not because someone else says that you should.

  13. Well, as a cake decorator, i am obviously, most definitely, 100%, on the HAVE A CAKE side of the fence!!! But then again, i am biased…

    Sarah it sounds like you’ve had THE worst cake decorator look at your designs, i love the sound of a full on glitter cake covered in bright coloured flowers.. and to be honest, lets face it, its nothing to do with her what you want, she should just be there to please the bride!! I would definitely recommend you take them somewhere else and have a rethink! At my sister in laws wedding, all of the 4 tiered (varied flavour) chocolate cake vanished! She had it put out on tables and the bar etc whilst the evening guests were arriving and it went down a storm… literally not a crumb left in the place.

    With all your sweet ideas, I think a small dessert table sounds perfect for you! You could have a small cake on a stand to please the traditionalists, and then cake stands, plates, tea cups etc all full of DONUTS and macaroons and buns and profiteroles and… (you get the gist!) and then just take to it with the gold glitter, and bright colours to make them all match!!

    Hope you happily settle on a decision soon 🙂 xxx

    Ps.. you can NEVER have enough gold glitter in your life!

  14. I love cake too! And at the last few weddings I have been at the cake has gone so fast I never got a bit! That will NOT be happening on my day. In fact I may reserve a whole tier just for me. 😉

    However I am with you on the cost and the bother. I just want cake. So I am thinking I will bake it myself or convince a friend to. And it better be filled with my body weight in butter icing…

  15. I am most definitely caking it. I’m well known amongst our friends for my baking addiction, so not having a cake was out of the question for us. The day after we got engaged I marched by beloved to Choccywoccydoodah and said “All of this please darling”. I have been mildly obsessed by them since I first saw an advert about 7 years ago and I knew that if I got married, I WOULD be getting a cake from there. Luckily H2B loved the idea as much as I did and we’ve just had our first consultation and drawn up our cake. It is costing an absolute fortune, but it will taste amazing and look spectacular, which is what we wanted. I compromised on my dress to get the cake of my dreams but that was my decision and I’m happy with it. My sister got married in June and had home made cupcakes, just plainly iced with white buttercream and served them as desert, my friend had a tower of cheese for his wedding last year and it looked incredible. I think that it is an individual decision, and I personally will never say no to a slice of cake. I love the idea of a cake/mini dessert table for your wedding with everything in various colours (and glitter), or a ‘naked’ cake, a stunning several tiered sponge filled with jam and buttercream, a dusting of icing sugar on the top and mixed berries to decorate. Perhaps with a little sprinkle of gold glitter to finish it off…..

  16. Firstly, sorry for the late response… bloomin’ timezone! Secondly, I would totally hire you all as wedding cake planners – what fab ideas! I am really pleased to see there are plenty of people that feel the same, but also, people that are steadfast in holding on to the tradition.

    @Phillipa – REALLY?! Thats insane, but really admire your dedication!

    @ Laura K and Suzi – LOVE the ideas and inspiration here… I can totally see a massive table of treats with me donning a fairy dress and sprinkling the whole table in glitter – noms! SUZI that is some serious love for cake, you go girl! Its good to know what you want!! Can we come? This cake sounds like it is going to be amazing!!

    @Katherine, I really loved reading your little story, it is things like that which make the tradition resonate. Maybe we could just have ice slices when I think along the same lines as you… that was a fav of mine as a kid and also happens to be Callums…!!

    @Mel and Christine – I am hearting the cheese cakes too. With some delicious breads and meats – lush! Not a sugar rush though? Maybe for mid dance off? Although, cheese after dessert is always a goer!!

    Thanks for all the advice and comments, reading this it made me feel even more strong about not having a cake. I’m not overly excited about cutting one either @Anna but then seeing @Lolly’s photos – heart!

    Watch this space! Thanks girls xxxx

  17. Sarah I just love this! Thank you very much for the shout out and when you say ‘You would think I have just told them I stabbed a baby bird’, in my opinion you did stab that bird!
    I think that weather it be a mountain of profiteroles, a tower of doughnuts or a chocolate fountain, anything can class as keeping it in tradition. Obviously I should be sitting here saying, GO FOR IT, HAVE CAKE! But the choice is always down to you, remember its YOUR special day and its your choice!
    Good Luck! x

    P.S, if you fancy a chocolate fountain instead of cake, I can recommend a great one! 😉 x

  18. Loved reading this Sarah.
    I think it is important to have a cake. My cake was made by my mother (her carrot cake kicks arse) so I had a two-tiered carrot cake with copious amounts of cream cheese icing all over it. It was textured, not smooth, and served on an old mirror with this bunting as a “topper” https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/74899261/monogramed-baker-banner-wedding-cake?ref=shop_home_active&ga_search_query=cake
    and 3 lisianthus’ resting beside the cake. Most of what didn’t get eaten was served at the BBQ the next day and the rest went home with my farming family – they LOVE cake and have baked goods for morning tea everyday when they come in from milking.
    Whatever you decide on having will be fabulous, I can be sure of that!

    1. @my friend Hannah aka Barnsey! Your cake looked awesome in the pics! 🙂 I like it got ate the next day too. Why do you think it’s important to have cake? Serious Q, I am interested in knowing your feelings toward its importance 🙂

  19. Being an event manager, I cut up many MANY wedding cakes and see the aftermath of eaten/non eaten or even ignored/forgotten and in our staff room at the end of the night (jammy so and sos!) I’ve seen cakes which have cost up to £1000 from the most famous bakeries being horrific underneath – dry, heavy and tasteless even burnt! At pretty much every wedding I have to remind the bride and groom to cut their cake, they’re so swept up in the day and busy busy enjoying their guests that cutting the cake is absolutely the lowest of priorities. In fact several have scrapped the cake cutting on the night! The most enjoyed by the guests on the night are the cheese wedding cakes and a cake table for sure. Pretty cake-iness makes everyone happy and 10pm sugar cravings are a very real thing but considering the above I would say don’t let it be a stressful or expensive part of your wedding planning, and make sure you get a damn tasty cake for your money! We’ve got a bonfire at our wedding so we’re giving everyone a marshmallow on a skewer and having a ceremonial mallow toasting at 9pm!

  20. We had a chocolate cake because I love it and a cheese tower because that’s the boy’s favourite and we didn’t cut either of them because when the time came we didn’t want to interrupt the lovely relaxed and fun atmosphere by demanding people come and watch. We also didn’t do a first dance because it just wasn’t our sort of thing. Do what feels right. Everyone else will get over it! 🙂

  21. In all the wedding planning – the cost of cakes was the biggest shock of all for me! If I wasn’t a complete disaster in the kitchen, I’d certainly have attempted one myself. We’ve gone for Victoria sponge and lemon tiers, enough for finger slices in the hope it’ll all get eaten, otherwise I have warned the h2b to expect to find me eating cake in bed, in my dress, on our wedding night. Waste not, want not etc….!! We’re having a cake mainly because I’m incredibly excited about cutting it with a sword (military wedding) – it’s as simple/daft as that! I also found a cake maker who works from home, so her prices are far more reasonable, and cakes still beautifully made. I couldn’t have parted with £700 for one, we’d have gone for cheese in that instance I suspect. However, as all the other girls say, it’s your day and the only thing that matters is it reflects you two! However, I doubt anyone wouldn’t want to eat something covered in gold glitter!!

  22. @ Sarah & @Lolly Yeah really! Wedding day on 1.5 hours sleep was a bit of a challenge! 🙁

    All part of the epic saga of disaster that was our wedding week. Still, the cake got ganached, cut and devoured and went down a storm by all accounts!

  23. I’m a massive fan of cake…any kind of cake – I’ll be having it thankyou! But I really don’t like traditional fruit based wedding cake…*gag*! We have gone for a 3 tier (I think) naked chocolate sponge with Madagascan vanilla buttercream…YUM! But we will not be ‘cutting the cake’ as it were, it will be cut but there won’t be any photos or big moment for it, and then everyone will get a bit and eat it straight away…cause it’s going to taste AMAZE-BALLS! And because we know the baker…its a total bargain @ £80 😀
    There is too much pressure placed on certain things which, in the big scheme of things, are relatively unimportant! We’re not having a cake because it’s ‘traditional’ we’re having a cake because…as Julia Child said “A party without cake is just a meeting!”.

  24. @Annie – liking your style!!

    @Emma – if I was cutting the cake with a sword, I most likely wouldn’t of written this post haha, because yes! Awesome!

  25. I made my own and I’m super glad I did but then I am part pro I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a super keen confident baker. My *husband* is my trained One Jolly Boy so he was able to help and my BM jane wipped up my secret buttercream in no time. Everyone did think I was mental though as they were arriving the afternoon before and I’m building layers n layers of naked fresh sponge cake covered in icing sugar! Good luck choosing xx

  26. Totally understand what you mean. I felt £300+ just so some old relatives could take a photo was a complete waste of money. I lost count of how many conversations I had which resulted in people saying ‘I HAD to have a cake’ and like you I was pretty sure not having a cake didnt void our marriage! In the end we did have a cake – two in fact! After i refused to pay for a silly tradition my mum ended up making us two personal cakes for hubby and I . The main cake was my favourite cake growing up – a marble cake and she created a raspberry ripple tier made out of chambord liqueur. For hubby he got a chocolate fruit buffet cake decorated in his football teams crest and a mini footballer topper! In the end I loved the cakes so much as they were so personal and were made with love, but I’ll be truthful I still hate the cake cutting photo!

  27. When I was reading through this, my only thought was “ombre glitter cake!” Three tiers, the top tier covered in gold sparkly glitter, and slowly fading into no glitter at all on the bottom tier. It’s classy, it’s modern, and it won’t be over-the-top and will still look edible, so your wedding guests will want to eat it!

    If you don’t want the cutting the cake moment, why not serve it for dessert? Have the waiters whip it off to the back just before the first course. A friend of mine did this at her wedding, and I thought it was marvellous! It ensured everyone ate their expensive cake, and, being lemon cake, it was much nicer and lighter than a traditional wedding dessert.

  28. So agree with the cake conundrum! Looking around the prices were astronomical. I mean I LOVE cake, but having one on our wedding day didn’t seem too important. Like @Jen, we didn’t do some of the ‘traditional’ things like a first dance, & the ‘cutting the cake’ moment didn’t massively appeal to me! Yet there was still something about having a colossal cake that just wouldn’t go away… I debated making my own, but feared the stress would be too much before W day – fair play @Phillipa for all that immense effort!!!
    In the end I got one from trusty M&S – 3 tier white chocolate ganache which we decorated up with flowers. It looked lovely and was a nice centrepiece for the afternoon tea, but when it came to it we didn’t even cut it as everyone had had so much food (we had an evening bbq too), that noone really wanted the cake and were too busy dancing!
    We now have 2 tiers in our freezer, hastily whacked in there before Hmoon!…

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