Tip of the Day #64: Expert Wedding Cake Advice from The Hudson Cakery

Tip of the Day #64: Expert Wedding Cake Advice from The Hudson Cakery

I have always been a dessert girl and I am comfortable admitting that cake is truly a passion of mine.  I don’t take dessert lightly so I knew that our feature on a wedding cake expert had to be good – really good.  Today’s WedInsider feature highlights amazing cakes and stellar advice from the lovely and talented Jennifer Bunce of The Hudson Cakery based out of Weehawken, New Jersey.

Jennifer-The-Hudson-Cakery1-300x268

Tell us about your journey into becoming the Head Chef and Owner of The Hudson Cakery!
After five years in the boring corporate event & PR world, I knew I needed a change, a more creative outlet. So I decided to combine my passion for art and baking into a career! After researching the cake industry in 2007, I decided to sign up for pastry school and the rest is history. I graduated with honors, interned with famed NYC cake designers and started working in the West Village as a pastry chef. I quickly realized restaurants were indeed not for me and started The Hudson Cakery in 2009. I created a website, attended bridal events and heavily networked. I started out of my house, then onto catering kitchens and finally in 2011 I opened a great space in Weehawken.

Cupcakes, macarons, cake-in-a-jar, cake pops and mini pies were “hot” dessert trends in 2012.  What do you predict as the new dessert and cake trend(s) this year?
The mini sweet trend is still hot right now – everything is just cuter when it’s “mini!” Cupcakes I think are no longer a trend but now a staple. However, cupcakes for upscale events are no longer as popular. I think donuts are next!

Where do you find cake design inspiration?
I really like textures and patterns in cake so everything from a funky textile pattern to an invitation can inspire an idea. Inspiration is everywhere! You just need to pay attention : )

When hiring a cake designer for a wedding, what are the important questions every couple should ask?
I think they should ask if they bake from scratch or not. I cannot tell you how many people come in for a tasting and are shocked that our cake is not dry. Wedding cake gets a bad wrap since there are a lot of cheap dry cake out there! You will pay for the difference but I think taste is everything…you only get married once! (Well…hopefully!)

Buttercream vs. Fondant – what are the differences and benefits/drawbacks of each?
We use buttercream on all of our cakes – you just have the choice between adding fondant icing on top of it or not. It’s a misconception that it’s just one or the other. Fondant gives you that night polished look and you can definitely design intricate details with it. It also has a bad wrap for tasting bad but we layer it on rather thin and each slice should only have a little fondant per serving. Buttercream-Only cakes are still pretty but you are very limited on what designs you can do. We do offer texture options for buttercream cakes….fluffy, dotted, ruffled, vertical lines, etc.

Many people today suffer from food allergies or request gluten and nut free desserts.  How do you accommodate food allergies with your cakes and desserts at The Hudson Cakery?
We do gluten-free cakes and cupcakes as well as egg-free. However, we always tell clients we are not a nut free facility. We do keep peanut butter away from everything in the pantry as a precaution. We are getting a lot of dairy-free requests too…so stay tuned!

What is a typical pricing structure for a wedding cake?  How far in advance should a couple hire a cake designer for their wedding?
We book wedding cakes anywhere from 3 to 9 months in advance. Our busiest season is May – September so those are the months that book up fastest. Cakes are usually priced per slice for cakes that feed over 50. Our are on average $8 – $14 a slice.

What is the most popular cake flavor at Hudson Cakery?  What are some unexpected cake flavor combinations that clients simply can’t get enough of? 
Our most popular cake is definitely our chocolate cake. It’s fudgey – like a brownie – and people love our Cookies n Cream buttercream filling with it. Also, Salted Caramel Buttercream is really popular with any cake flavor. For spring/summer events, we have a Strawberry-Lemonade Buttercream that is to die for.

Many brides don’t get behind-the-scenes access into the perils of delivering a wedding cake.  What are some of the obstacles cake designers face with delivery of wedding cakes?
Delivering cakes can be extremely stressful  – you only get one shot! But we’ve been lucky thus far. If you build it correctly, you will be fine. You just have to go slow over those Jersey potholes and take a deep breath.

On average, how many hours are spent designing and creating a wedding cake?  What is the most ambitious cake design you have taken on to date?
You can spend an hour designing a cake on paper to make sure everything fits together before you start prepping. The actual cake decoration, after baking, can take anywhere from 2 to 20 hours depending on detail. It really is edible art so the labor – and price – and can be surprisingly high!

I loved a Yoda grooms cake we did this past summer. It was a lot of detail so I was really happy with it – but more importantly, the bride and the groom absolutely loved it! {Check out an image of Yoda below!}

Do you like when couples bring in a photo of their desired cake design or do you prefer to have full creative license on the overall design?
I like when couples want something specific because it feels more personalized.  If they bring in some ideas, as most do, I can just help them put together their ideas so it will all coordinate. But I do like taking the wheel artistically too bc I can try new and different things.

Can you share a memorable story from one of your bridal clients?
I had the pleasure of working with the sweetest  New York City couple. They were getting married at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and wanted a cake to fit the farm-to-table theme of the venue. We created their pets – including their beloved recently deceased dog- in sugar form along with other farm animals. The bride emailed me that evening {her own wedding night!} just to thank me for the great job. “It made my mom cry to see our pets on the cake!” It was really nice to get that email!

Enjoy a few AMAZING shots from The Hudson Cakery’s body of work.  

anchor nautical

carnival cake

fabi and ricky couple wedding cake

south asian baby cake topper

woo wedding - image 3

yoda grooms cake copy

The Hudson Cakery is hosting a party this coming Saturday, January 19 to celebrate a successful year of business!  If you are interested in attending or have additional questions about The Hudson Cakery, please call 201.319.0363 or email info@hudsoncakery.com. 

HC-Party

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One thought on “Tip of the Day #64: Expert Wedding Cake Advice from The Hudson Cakery

  1. Pingback: WedInsider Blog {Press} | The Hudson Cakery

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