The Frosted Petal
“I was always interested in decorating cakes,” Debbie Peak says. Growing up, she watched her grandmother bake and frost cakes for church cake walks. As a teenager, she dabbled in decorating and grew to love the artistry of crafting with sugar. Her only formal cake training came from shifts at the local Dairy Queen, which taught her how to work accurately but quickly. “They were ice cream cakes,” she explains with a laugh.ready working out of her home creating custom silk flower arrangements, she added custom cakes to her home business in Cadott, Wisconsin, three years ago. She creates her cakes in a separate kitchen that is licensed and inspected by the state. For Peak, meeting with clients in her home office is an opportunity to show them her personal side and let them know they will be treated like family. She describes her meeting place as “casual and relaxing for everyone.”
About half of The Frosted Petal’s clients opt for some type of floral decoration of the cakes they order from the aptly named business. These flowers can be real, silk, or edible. Using her flower arranging expertise, Peak can create custom silk floral decorations for the top of tiered cakes. She recommends this over real flowers, which are often treated with pesticides or non-FDA-approved dyes. Edible flowers are the safest option yet. She makes them from gum paste, which she describes as a hard-drying fondant. She says the flowers take days to make and dry. “Although they are called edible flowers, adults won’t want to eat them. But no doubt you’ll have a child running around the reception gnawing on one of these.”
Not all clients come to The Frosted Petal for the petals. Peak’s most memorable cake design to date was a five-tiered wedding cake. Next to it was a smaller groom’s cake designed to look like a tire, spitting mud on the side of the larger cake! Such designs inspire her creative side, but Peak’s personal favorite cake decorations are “girly, with edible lace or ruffles.”
While flowers and other elaborate decorations are popular, other clients opt for simple cake designs or just a cake topper. A popular non-cake option for weddings is a dessert buffet, which allows guests to sample from cookies, gourmet bars, and brownies. Peak says the freedom to choose their own dessert is a crowd pleaser at weddings. “You get bite-sized pieces, so guests can nibble on different things.” For those who are vegan or gluten free, The Frosted Petal will accommodate dietary restriction requests on a case by case basis.
In addition to dietary and design preferences, Peak says couples should be prepared to discuss their location, budget, wedding date, and number of guests when meeting with a cake decorator. For more pointers, check out more of her advice below.
Three Things to Know Before Hiring a Cake Decorator
Feel free to bring photo inspiration from cakes that you like, but know that even the best cake designer can’t replicate a cake exactly. “Cake design is an art,” Peak explains, and designers don’t want to copy another artist’s custom cake. “There is a difference between making something close and making it exactly the same.” Hiring a custom cake decorator is an opportunity to get a cake that is truly about you and your wedding.
Designing a custom cake is a process, and one that takes longer than you might think! If your heart is set on a custom cake instead of one from a grocery store bakery, it’s not something to put at the end of your to-do list. “Six months or more is ideal,” Peak says, “and quite a few book up to a year or more in advance.” Six to eight weeks is the minimum lead time needed for The Frosted Petal, but even that is subject to her availability for the wedding date. However, the design doesn’t need to be finalized until a month before the big day.
“Ask if your potential cake designer is licensed,” Peak says, to avoid unsafe food practices. “Ask for references and pictures,” she says. And don’t forget to do a quick web search on vendors before hiring one. “You can find a lot out online if a certain bakery is reputable.”