Wedding Cake Wednesday: Sugar Swans, a Boat on the Thames, and a Surprise

Hello, you gorgeous lot! Welcome to another Wedding Cake Wednesday. I am thrilled to have some fabulous cakes coming up for you over the coming weeks, in which I will show you the process from design to delivery on some of my favourite cakes.

As regular readers will know, I’ve been a bit crazy busy over the last few weeks. Over that mad time, I did create some new favourites! This particular cake is the first from seven days in which my diary contained four weddings and a food festival… you can read all about that week by clicking on this sentence.

My first consultation with Vanessa and Chris was a joyous glass of wine on a cold January evening. Strangely enough, it turned out that we knew a lot of the same people through Chris’ work on the Thames as one of the Queen’s Swan Uppers.

(AP Photo/Sang Tan, Pool)

(AP Photo/Sang Tan, Pool)

Traditionally, all the swans in the kingdom belong to the Monarch. This has been updated and refined to the Queen’s ownership of all mute swans on a small stretch of the Thames and the process of Swan Upping, become more ceremonial and custodial. During this annual event, swans are counted, cygnets tagged, all swans are released back onto the water and no swans are harmed – I know a couple of Swan Uppers now and can confirm that they are not selected off-hand and take their role very seriously.

Swan Upping on the River thames

Dressed in red for the Monarch, the Swan Uppers provide a ceremonial link to our heritage but also carry out the vital function of monitoring swan numbers and health. This year’s Swan Upping reported a decline in cygnet numbers, sadly. This is believed to be result of a reported dog attack on a nest and the theft of some eggs from nests.

So the swans were obviously going to feature on this cake, right?

Funnily enough, the design I created initially featured a lighthouse design. The couple were planning to marry at a Church on the Thames and then celebrate their reception on a boat on the Thames. There was a definite nautical theme and lighthouse centrepieces had been chosen. However, the couple decided that we needed swans on the cake so I re-sketched my design and came up with this.


The idea was for the swans to be the focus and the cake to be quite delicate and light. Using a white edible Cake Lace for the feathers and lace around the middle tier, placing these over white icing, creates intricate detail.

This was the finished cake…

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

I loved making the sugar swans, using white sugar flower paste. First, I rolled their long necks, heads and beaks with a larger section on one end to bend into their bodies (not forgetting to pinch their bottoms to create a tail!). I rolled out flat sections and cut their wings separately, sticking these to their bodies with a little royal icing. The necks needed to have a wire in them to secure them safely to the cake.

Remember, this cake is on a boat, which is moving constantly!

Even more exciting than making this design was the added surprise that I was asked to bake. Vanessa emailed me a few weeks ago saying that she was expecting their first child! What wonderful news – I’ve since been convinced even more at the potent power of my cakes, with a lot of gorgeous Restoration Cake babies, this was my first conceived by sample box of cakes!

Vanessa arranged for her sonographer (a word that I learned during this process) to send the sex of her baby bump to me – which made me the second of only two people to have this information – so that I could bake them a ‘gender reveal’ tier in the cake.

For the uninitiated, a gender reveal cake is a plain white iced cake containing a coloured sponge. This is coloured pink for a girl and blue for a boy…

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

Oh, the responsibility! I kept that secret beautifully and was thrilled to see the reaction shots. Vanessa and Chris are expecting a baby boy. Could this post be any happier on a Wednesday morning?

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

Fiona Kelly Wedding Photography

All that remains for me now is to say that if you are planning a 2017 wedding and would like a Bespoke Wedding Cake and a Cake Designer who cheers you on all the way, get in touch now and let’s get together for cake and a cuppa (yeah, a cup-a-wine!) over the cold months ahead. Visit my Bespoke Wedding Cake page for full details of the service that I offer or click on any cake pictures in this post.

Special thanks to Fiona Kelly for all of the beautiful shots (click here to go to Fiona’s website) in this post and to Vanessa and Chris for allowing me into your extra special day.

Stay gorgeous!