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Amazing Wedding Cakes Without Breaking The Bank! with Jenni Whitby from Nightingale Cakes

Who doesn’t love an amazing Wedding Cake? Is it possible to have exactly what you want and stay within cake budget? We asked Jenni Whitby this very question!

Listen to Jenni on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Jenni Whitby, Nightingale Cakes


Rachel [00:00:20] Hi Jenni, it’s Rachel here from Wedding Espresso. Welcome. 

Jenni [00:00:24] Morning. 

Rachel [00:00:25] You are Jenni Whitby from Nightingale Cakes and I absolutely love the look of your cakes. Oh my gosh. 

Jenni [00:00:34] Thank you very much. 

Rachel [00:00:34] I could eat one just now, I really could.

So today we are going to talk about Amazing Wedding Cakes Without Breaking the Bank.

Now there are a few ways of doing this. And we have seen them before, and they’re not always the best way to do it. So, the first instance I’d like to talk about is my sister in law’s wedding cake. She had a basic but huge cake, four tiers and it was just a white royal icing because she was absolutely adamant that she was going to do all the decoration herself. She had it delivered probably about four days before the wedding and then spent those four days up to the wedding stressing about decorating this cake with little tea cups and flowers and things. It looked good in the end but I don’t think it was worth the stress to be honest. 

Jenni [00:01:41] I know, which kind of takes away from some of the enjoyment coming up to your big day. 

Rachel [00:01:46] Yeah. When you book a professional, it’s not just about the cake, it’s about booking someone who’s a professional who knows what they are doing. 

Jenni [00:01:58]

It’s really not just about a cake, it’s about someone who’s going to come in and set it up at the venue. It’s about someone who’s going to spend all those hours doing a cake…

rather than thinking that they need to sort any last minute decisions out, or you want to go out for a nice drink with your bridesmaids and have a bit of fun. You’re paying someone else to do the hard work and getting your cake there in one piece. 

Rachel [00:02:23] No one actually wanted to do that movement of the cake from the house to the venue. Everyone was like “I’m not doing it”. 

Jenni [00:02:30] That I think is one of the most stressful parts, especially for someone if you don’t do cakes all the time. That’s a really stressful bit. So actually getting your wedding cake maker to do it is far easier and far less stressful. Yeah definitely. 

Rachel [00:02:50] Yeah. there were tears before bedtime, even the cake was in tiers. Bum Bum Tish. 

Jenni [00:02:54] And as you said about making loads and loads of different little decorations and things, that’s something your cake makers, or that I would be doing as part of the quote. So that’s not an extra on top. It comes with the cost of the wedding cake. I know quite often people say “oh no well I’ll do it myself”.

It really depends what style you want as well. Because if it is something with loads of decoration, then actually it’s far easier and far less stressful to get a cake maker to do it. 

You’d be surprised at certain things…. there are certain ways to make a cake look really impressive and stick within a budget as well. Sometimes people automatically assume that it’s going to be far more expensive to go to a cake maker than actually make it yourself, that you’re going to be better off. You have to think about all the equipment. All the extra bits that you suddenly need to buy like a rolling pin and you need to buy loads of extra things. You’re spending money on all of that to be able to make it yourself. 

Rachel [00:04:06] I know! I made my own cakes. 

Jenni [00:04:10] Well done. 

Rachel [00:04:11] Again I regret it because I had trials beforehand, so it’s like “this is the fruit cake, it’s a light one, this is the other the fruit cake, it’s a dark one”. So people had like weeks, weeks and weeks of cake. 

Jenni [00:04:24] Yeah. 

Rachel [00:04:26] We got the cake up there, I did really simple icing on the top. So it didn’t look good, it tasted OK. But when we got there, no one told me that on one of the tiers the icing had come off, so it has a hole in it, and some of my Aunties…..we got married in Inverness. So some of my aunties had to secretly go into Inverness, which was quite a drive, to get some icing so they could secretly fix it. Oh my gosh. The cost of that to fix because I decided to make my own cake was ridiculous. And good job I wasn’t making coffee and walnut because, oh my gosh, my coffee and walnut is absolutely disgusting. 

Jenni [00:05:17] Yeah. There are certain recipes that I think have to be fine tuned, shall I put it that way? 

Rachel [00:05:26] I put too much coffee in it and it tasted like fish. It was absolutely gross. 

Jenni [00:05:30] Maybe rein back on the coffee a little bit. Yeah.

That’s one of the things that you get with a professional wedding cake maker is recipes that have been done hundreds of times to get them spot on. And so you know you’re going to get a lovely cake at the end of it all.

Which is great. Which is the main game. You know you want a nice cake. You want it to look good and you want it to taste good. You know there’s no point having something that just looks pretty. You want to be able to eat it, or at least I do, because I love cake. 

Rachel [00:06:03] It’s food waste as well. I hate food waste. That just drives me insane.

Jenni [00:06:13] Definitely, definitely. And that’s something quite often people think they’re going to need a huge massive cake and actually some of the time you need to take off a chunk of your guests that possibly don’t like cake. 

Rachel [00:06:30] Yeah. 

Jenni [00:06:31] Just putting it out there. Or have a dietary restriction so aren’t eating cake at the time. 

Rachel [00:06:41] Like people with allergies and things like that. 

Jenni [00:06:43] So there are lots of things that actually take off a portion of your guests, which means you can have a slightly smaller cake. 

Rachel [00:06:52] Yeah. So that’s a really good tip Jenni, because that is “An Amazing Cake Without Breaking the Bank”. Thinking about how many guests will actually eat the cake. Not necessarily all of your guests. Some people add on don’t they? Like you say “I’ve got 80 guests so lets do 100”.

Jenni [00:07:12] People do…

the temptation is always to add more but sometimes there are just people who don’t want a slice of cake. So you’re better off underestimating a little bit to get a more realistic amount of cake so that you don’t end up with loads.

And as I said, it is a way of making sure that you stay within budget. 

Rachel [00:07:31] Do you find people still keep a tier? You know like when in olden times… not olden times, but you would keep a tier of the cake for any potential children that came along the way. Do you ever get asked to do that anymore?

Jenni [00:07:47] I do actually!  It seems to come around in cycles and it had gone out of fashion a little bit and then it seems to have come back in the last couple of years. People are keeping the top tier again. It has been more popular to have sponge cakes rather than fruit cakes. So I quite often get asked “well is that going to be okay?”. And actually they freeze really well.

So if you want to keep a top tier for a child or quite often people are doing it for their first wedding anniversary now as well which I think is really quite sweet.

You can take the top tier and pop it in the freezer and I will provide my bride and groom with a box to do that. It just goes straight in the freezer and it’s done. And you can take it out and enjoy it for a special celebration later on which I think is really really nice. I’m quite pleased that tradition is coming back. 

Rachel [00:08:45] Yes. So how long would it last in the freezer then?

Jenni [00:08:50] Quite a while. It’s a baked good so really as long as it’s not tucked right up against the side of the freezer and gets freezer burn, it will keep for ages. So definitely at least until the first wedding anniversary, if you can resist cake being in your freezer for that long.

Rachel [00:09:08] I mean cake never goes in our freezer. Well, the minute it comes into our house it’s done for. 

Jenni [00:09:15] Yes it doesn’t very often reach mine either. 

Rachel [00:09:19]

Do you get many people asking about cupcakes nowadays? Because that had a bit of a day didn’t it? 

Jenni [00:09:26] It was very popular, it had a huge boom of cupcakes. I think sometimes it’s popular, and again cost wise, sometimes it can feel like it would be cheaper or more cost effective. But I think they’ve started to go a little bit out of fashion now. People are going back to highly decorated cakes or even doing a kind of buttercream rustic look is still very popular. 

Rachel [00:09:57] Is that called a Naked Cake? 

Jenni [00:09:58] Naked cakes or semi naked cakes now where they’ve got a little bit more icing on but you can still see a little bit of the cake through, with lots of fresh fruit and things that are really popular and lovely to eat. 

Rachel [00:10:17] I’m going to have to go get some cake after this. 

Jenni [00:10:20] Making you hungry first thing in the morning. 

Rachel [00:10:23] Yeah, I’ve just had my breakfast but….Fabulous, so have you got any more top tips for “Amazing Wedding Cakes Without Breaking the Bank” for our listeners? 

Jenni [00:10:39]

The other thing to think about is your actual budget and not being afraid of sharing that with your cake maker.

You might come to me with an amazing design, you know, you’ve spent hours scouring Pinterest. You’ve got a whole load of different things. If you come to me and give me free reign, then one of my first questions is going to be “do you have a budget?” Because I’d hate to make you…. design you a lovely cake and you know an amazing eleven tier, huge cascade of flowers, everything, loads of hand piped details, for you to then not be able to have that cake. Because I don’t think that’s very fair, you want to be excited about your cake. So if you come to me with that and say “I have a budget. This is what it is. XYZ” I’m going to suggest things that we can do within that budget to make you an amazing cake. I’m not necessarily going to say okay we need to spend all of your budget, because I also don’t think that’s fair because you might have a bigger budget than someone else, but still be buying the same cake. I’m going to charge you the same. You’re not going to suddenly go to your maximum figure just because it’s the maximum figure. 

Rachel [00:12:00] Like “I’ve got £1000 to spend. Yep, that’ll do! 

Jenni [00:12:02] Yeah. Okay you can have a three tier cake for £1000, I don’t think that’s fair, actually I want to make you a cake that’s amazing within that budget. Things to think about in that as well are swapping things out sometimes. So if you want loads of flowers. If you love having flowers everywhere. Sugar flowers are going to be more expensive than having some fresh flowers. 

Rachel [00:12:30] Right. Okay. 

Jenni [00:12:31]

I would always suggest having organic, pesticide free flowers because they are going on something that’s going to be eaten, which are slightly more expensive, but they’re still probably a more budget friendly option than having hundreds of sugar flowers.

Purely because of the amount of time that they take to make. So thinking about things that you maybe don’t mind swapping a little bit. And that’s where I come in and say we can solve these things, especially if you give me a budget, so it kind of links back through. It’s far easier to have those conversations and swap things around rather than worrying about it when you get a figure that’s maybe not what you are expecting. I’d much rather have that conversation and say look, this is what we can do, and I have fun creating cakes for people. That’s part of my job. That’s part of what I do. 

Rachel [00:13:28] Yeah, it’s a passion, isn’t it?

Jenni [00:13:28] Yeah it really is, it really is. And sometimes people will come and they, as I said people spend hours on Pinterest and they see amazing cakes. You’ve got no idea what budget they’re in because it’s on Pinterest. People will come and have a consultation, we’ll go through things and actually we end up with maybe a different design, but still a showstopper wedding cake because it’s been completely personalised to you, it’s not something that someone else has got off Pinterest. 

So you are getting a really personalised special cake for whatever budget that you have, rather than just being an off the shelf as it were.

Rachel [00:14:22] Well that is some great advice there. Jenni, thank you so much for sharing that.  Unfortunately that’s all I have time for right now. But how do people get in contact with you. Do you have Facebook? Website? 

Jenni [00:14:42] I am on Facebook as Nightingale Cakes and I also have a Website and there’s a contact form on there which is the best way to get hold of me, it goes straight to my inbox. 

Rachel [00:14:52] Are you on Twitter, Instagram?

Jenni [00:14:55] Yes Twitter, Instagram. Instagram is good. I share lots of different inspiration photos on there as well, and you get to see a little bit of the behind the scenes every now and again as well. 

Rachel [00:15:11] Yeah. Instagram’s great for that kind of stuff isn’t it?

Jenni [00:15:14] It’s all very visual. I love it. I think…you just see everything. I’m very much a visual person so it ticks all my boxes and I like sharing cake pictures, it’s all good.

Rachel [00:15:27] Oh fabulous. Well like I said I’m going to go off and find some cake. 

Jenni [00:15:34] Enjoy. 

Rachel [00:15:34] Yeah. So I will speak to you soon. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Jenni. Bye.

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  • Reply
    July 18, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks Rachel, was great chatting with you!

    • Reply
      James Pearson
      July 19, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Super great to have you chatting with us Jenni, we really enjoyed talking cake with you 🙂 Let’s do it again soon! x

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