A rather delicious Supplier Spotlight for you today as we catch up with Allison Ratcliffe, Cakemaker…
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Allison Ratcliffe and I make bespoke cakes for Weddings, birthdays, Corporate, Christenings, in fact any occasion where a cake is wanted. I work from home in the Isle of Man, just me, as www.manxcakemaker.com
How long have you been in the wedding industry?
I started to take cake making seriously around 11 years ago, but had been making and decorating cakes for friends and family for many years before that.
Who or what are your influences?
The biggest influence will always be the clients, who have a picture in their mind of how the wedding will look and how their cake will fit into that picture.
If I was choosing a wedding cake for myself, I love the work of May Clee-Cadman at www.maisiefantaisie.co.uk she does very pretty and original contemporary cakes. Also Mitch Turner at Little Venice Cake Company, whose “flower block” and precise designs revolutionised people’s expectations of a wedding cake.
What is the best thing about your job?
I think this sounds a little strange but (other than design process which I love) I love taking the cakes to reception venue on the morning of the wedding and being part of the transformation into a wedding reception. There are often people tying bows on chairs, or ironing, the flowers come, the DJ plays their favourite music or the band starts practicing, everyone is happy and each get to see how their bit contributes to the whole look. Sometimes a guest or 2 will pop in and say nice things. Finally, I can stand back and see how my cake actually fits into the whole picture, that I have only had a small glimpse into.
What is your favourite product/design/area of your business?
My favourite product is my trusty rolling pin, which I have had for years. I don’t have a favourite design as, unlike Birthday cakes which are complete in themselves, wedding cakes only come to life when they are in the room that they were designed to be part of.
Have any weddings stood out for you? if so, what made them special?
They are all special really, but it’s quite fun when you actually meet some of the wedding party on the day. Grooms nervously practicing speeches, Dad’s checking everything is in order. Last year a bride came along too, she was so relaxed and chatted away to the florist and me just glancing around delighted at how her idea’s had been brought together. Then she left and we looked around the finished room at the Villa Marina and everything suited her personality so well, so perfect but so unforced.
The second was the ‘Viva Las Vegas Cake’ wedding simply because the cake came out exactly as I’d imagined it would. I like novelty wedding cakes, but the theme has to be completely understood by the all guests to make it memorable and I think this cake was instantly understandable. There was a lot of detail on it which I hope would have given people something to talk about and look out for and speculate about how it had been made, but still looked like a wedding cake.
And the 3rd was a wedding where the cake (and everything else) was all organised via emails to and from New Zealand. I met the bride the day before the wedding when she came to see the cake, and she said it was exactly as she’d imagined it would be (which was a relief).
What is the best piece of advice you could give to a couple when choosing a supplier for their wedding?
Look for suppliers who don’t try to tell you what you should have, but tell you how you can achieve what you want within your budget. For cakes make notes of the websites and links so you can find them again and most importantly don’t look in magazines or on the web expecting to find the perfect cake. Instead look for small details and elements from several designs then work with your cakemaker to piece together something unique to you.
Where can people find out more about you? (website, Facebook etc)
Facebook is Allison Ratcliffe – manxcakemaker.com
Web is www.manxcakemaker.com
Email is email@example.com
Tel is 07624 456123
Some more examples of Allison’s stunning cakes are below, and I would seriously recommend visiting her website where there are loads more to look at!