Wedding Cake Expert Toba Garrett
This month book shelves and kitchens will welcome the arrival of Toba Garrett's, A
Professional Approach Wedding Cake Art & Design.
Wedding Cake Art & Design offers an excellent, detailed, expert guide to every
element of the art and business of wedding cake design. Covering the process from
client consultations to cake creations, transportation to techniques and texturing.
To spotlight this book as it truly deserves, we put a few questions to Toba, to get
the author-expert's thoughts and theories...
G.C. What is the greatest lesson you want the reader to learn from Wedding Cake Art & Design?
T.G. A wedding cake can be simplistically done, yet beautiful. It should draw you in to look at the details, but make you wonder why the cake artist took this approach and it should make you imagine what could possibly be inside. The flavor components of what’s inside should excite the palate and compliment the overall ambiance of the cake.
G.C What separates your book from others in the same field?
T.G. Wedding Cake Art & Design contains several components that aren’t in books on wedding cakes. First, the book focuses on the consumer bride and groom, looking for their special wedding cake. The cake artist provides the bride and groom with drawings, based on their budget and let them select what they can afford. Second, the book contains designs of varying levels, from simplistic to difficult and it provides the reader the tools for executing those designs. Third, the books gives the future cake artist the tools for success in creating their own cake design business – from ordering equipment to all of the legal aspect of licensing. And last, it provides the reader/or cake artist with a plethora of recipes that can match and compliment any cake design.
G.C. What makes a perfect wedding cake?
T.G. A wedding cake is perfect when it is exactly what the bride and groom wants; it tastes exactly the way they imagined it would and last it has a big impact on the couple when they first see it and the same when all of their guests see it. A wedding cake can also be perfect when it is beyond the expectation of the couple!
G.C. What is your advice to a pastry chef that wants to take their wedding cakes from good to great?
T.G. By trying and adding additional techniques to their established designs. These techniques can be as simple as more “piping”, less “cartoonish” and more “classical” designs; a softer palate of colors and designs that provoke interest and curiosity.
G.C. I love the fact that you dedicated a portion of your book to the client and business side of cake making. What do you do if you have a couple that can’t agree on style and flavor cake they want?
T.G. If cost isn’t a factor, then the couple can have a bridal cake and a groom’s cake. That way, each get exactly what they want. If cost is a factor, then the tiers can be split. Thus, if this is a 4-tier cake, the bottom two can be the bride or groom’s cake and the first two tiers can be the other. The designs can be coordinated, yet be different to honor each wishes, and of course the taste of the cake can be entirely different. The bottom two tiers can be one flavor and the top two tiers can be another.
G.C. What is the key principal to remember when setting your own business?
T.G. Can you afford to sustain a loss for the first two to three years of operation? If you can, then you might have the wits to make it in this competitive business.
G.C. In the book you discuss transportation. Have you ever had any disasters when delivering a cake?
T.G. I have been fortunate enough not to have disasters, but I have had breakage. When delivering a cake to a reception hall, I always take a “repair” kit to make any repairs that can happen.
G.C. Do you have any strategies for sourcing design inspiration?
T.G. I find inspiration in almost everything I see – from the shape of a vase and the painting or gilding on it; the 90 degree angles of buildings, arched shapes, and relief work to a beautiful floral garden. Even people and fashion.
G.C. On a final note, can you offer a piece of advice for the wedding cake designer of tomorrow?
T.G. Don’t take short cuts to your training. Many cake artists might have advanced skills, but some can lack basic skills. The trend in wedding cakes is to have a cake iced in rolled icing, but what if your prospective bride and groom wishes to have a buttercream iced cake? Those skills need to be well nurtured and kept current as well as the high-level skills.