(and ooh-and-ahh over) CAKE

Photo from The Wedding Cake Shoppe

© Melissa Nowakowski 2008

Cake seems to be the staple of a huge assortment of celebrations from weddings, anniversaries and bar mitzvahs to birthdays and, well, births. After all, what party is complete without cake? That said, choosing the ‘perfect’ cake for your celebration can be almost as challenging as deciding on the design of the event itself. Especially if you are opting for ‘unique’.

Many brides-to-be, birthday-girls/guys and party hosts have fretted over their celebratory cake. Because when it comes to cake, the more unique the cake the larger the price tag can be. Considering that many cake designers base their prices on the amount of labour required to create a custom cake, a simple (yet intricate and “unique”) three-tier cake can cost anywhere from $400 and up. Even “fake cakes” (aka Styrofoam cakes), which at one time were the cheaper option for display cakes, now cost almost the same as an edible cake because of the labour involved.

So how do you get that show-stopper of a cake for your special celebration without draining the budget? In two ways: Focus on the details and keep the following points in mind:


1. When it comes to large functions such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, etc. or celebrations that serve a variety of sweets at the same time, remember that only 75 – 80% of your guests will actually eat the cake. So plan the size of and number of slices to your cake accordingly – don’t ensure that every single guest will be entitled to a slice or you’ll wind up with quite the leftover.

2. Height doesn’t necessarily mean impact. Picture this: you walk into a room that houses two cakes. One cake is seven tiers high, two-toned and decorated with flowers. The other is a large slab cake that is comprised of bold colours and ornate accents. Which cake would you ooh and ahh over? The slab cake of course. Remember that the more tiers you have equates to more cake, which equates to more labour, which results in more ker-ching. You can serve up just as much impact with less tiers (or heck, even one) and be happy with the price tag.

3. That “totally one-of-a-kind" cake that you saw in a magazine/book/advertisement/TV show/ party you went to is not necessarily one-of-a-kind anymore. Consider this: if you saw that three tier, bubblegum pink, cherry blossom designed cake in a wedding magazine…so did over 100,000 other brides-to-be…and possibly three months before you picked up the magazine. So what do you think the chances are that at least ten of those 100,000 brides will rip that page out and take it to their local cake designer wanting that same design. So what do you do? Go ahead and rip out that page but use it as inspiration ONLY. Remember that you chose your cake artisan for a reason so let them take the inspiration and run with it. You may find yourself in awe of the one-of-a-kind cake that THEY create. Also keep in mind that what you see in that magazine/book/advertisement/TV show/ party you went to might look absolutely scrumptious but the price tag is missing. You could be in for the shock of your life.

4. Decide what about this particular cake is important to you. Is it having something visually striking that’s important to you or is making your guests swoon more important? Once you decide what it is that you are trying to accomplish you will know what components of your cake require that special touch, if at all. For example, if providing your guests with the most decedent dessert at your 50th birthday party is what is important to you; focus on the cake itself and not the decorations. If you want a display piece that your guests will remember for years to come, consider a “fake cake” that your guests can admire all night and serve your more typical slice of cake from a slab in the kitchen.


Taking the unique route with your cake doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to concentrate all the focus on icing. Sure, a mile high cake with intricate gum paste flowers and fancy accessories will garner attention. But like any other element to your celebration, focusing your creativity on the smaller details can pack a much stronger punch. The big wows are expected. It’s the unique “little things” that are unexpected and leave a lasting impression.

Here are just a few “little things” to focus on thus adding an innovative flair to your special cake without adding a huge leap in price:

FLAVOURS: So much emphasis is put on the outside of the cake that often the inside gets the plain Jane treatment. Why not shock the tastebuds of your guests with unusual flavour combinations? From Bailey’s, lemon and coconut and mango or pineapple filling to toffee and caramel or chocolate mint, celebration cakes that burst with unique flavour combos will not only have your guests gushing about the taste but it will remain in their memory for celebrations to come.

TOPPERS: Limiting the style and decorations to your cake and placing all the pizzazz in the cake topper is another way to 'top' things off with a big “wow”. By keeping the cake itself simple, the cake topper will draw all the attention. Now when we say “cake topper” we don’t mean a simple numbered-candle, the 'typical' bride and groom statue or the usual clown or teddy bear. Cake toppers can be pretty much anything that fits your theme or personality whether it be a pair of golf shoes, a diamond tiara, feathers, a teapot, a bobble head, etc. Just be sure that whatever cake topper you choose is not too heavy for the cake. Discuss your cake topper with your cake designer ahead of time so that they can make suggestions and arrangements.

Photos (L-R) MyDreamWedding.ca, Cake Therapy, Paris Tiaras

Sometimes something as simple as a colour combination can really make a statement. Of course, you’ll want to stay within your event’s colour scheme, but you can play up that scheme and make your cake stand out by choosing a much brighter version of your chosen colours. If you’re not regimented to a specific colour regimen, choose unique colour combinations that will catch attention or bold palettes that will draw your guests like moths to a flame.

Photos (L-R) The Wedding Cake Shoppe

Gone are the days where having a celebration cake meant it had to be round. These days cake artisans can create cakes in almost any shape including that of physical objects. But of course, bear in mind that the more ornate the shape the more expensive the cake can get.

One way to garner a creative edge without breaking the bank is to not limit yourself to one specific shape. If you’re cake is tiered, feel free to play with shapes – mix round and square tiers to create dimension. Also, don’t restrict your tiers to being stacked on top of one another. By separating your tiers you can do some funky shapes and styles and give your cake the illusion of being larger without the added expense of an additional tier. Playing with patterns like mixing circles with stripes can also add luster through simplicity just as mixing materials such as flowers with feathers or pearls with twigs can create the drama that your cake desires without relying on complicated icing designs.

Photos (L-R): Cakeoholics, Sweet N' Unique Cakes, Cakeoholics, The Wedding Cake Shoppe, CreARTive Cakes

You don’t have to rely on how your cake looks in order for it to make a statement. The placement of your cake can make all the difference in how much impact it has at your function. If you want your cake to be the focal point, place it in an open area that’s not cluttered with tables and chairs so that it stands out (ie) On a small table in the middle of the dance floor, to be moved over later in the celebration. Avoid over-decorating the cake table with tulle, draping and lights and trim the cake accessories such as champagne flutes, candles, etc – by keeping the table simple you ensure that the cake stands out and doesn’t get lost in the décor. If you want your cake to be the very first thing your guests notice or the last thing they remember, simply place it close to the entrance! Even the simplest of cakes will get noticed if strategically placed.

Only you can decide what your role will play at your celebration – will it simply be dessert or will it be a masterpiece that reflects your personality and exquisite taste? Whatever you choose let its role lay the path for how much emphasis you place on the cake and what aspects deserve that distinctive touch.

Photo from The Wedding Cake Shoppe



© Melissa Nowakowski 2008

We have some über exciting news!

Et Lofte Events is honoured to have been asked to be a contributor for Weddings of Diversity magazine – a brand spankin’ new bridal magazine that’s set to hit newsstands in April of 2009!

Weddings of Diversity combines unique content, exceptional style and gorgeous full-colour photography to provide ideas and inspiration to newly engaged couples in Ontario (and soon to all of Canada!). Focusing on weddings with a “diverse” perspective and showcasing articles written by top professionals within the industry (from event designers to cake artisans to…ahem…wedding planners and more), this magazine promises to be a one-of-a-kind resource for wedding details that are exquisite, creative and, you guessed it, diverse.

Given Et Lofte Events’ reputation for out-of-the-box thinking and dedication to creating innovative events, this magazine seemed a natural fit and so we’ve happily jumped on board!

Just as our blog provides readers with exceptional ideas for events, our 2-page spread in Weddings of Diversity magazine – complete with brilliant full-colour photos -- will focus on some of the most unique products and services available to Brides and Grooms all over Canada!

So keep your eyes peeled for Et Lofte Events and our distinctive finds in Weddings of Diversity magazine – hitting Brides and Grooms everywhere April 2009!



© Melissa Nowakowski 2008

When it comes to weddings, one of the newest trends is wearing a wedding gown that stands out far from tradition. Within the last year we’ve seen more brides shy away from the conventional uniform white or ivory ballgown and embrace traces of colour, stylistic shapes and throwbacks to the classic eras.

Yet even more recently unique fabrics, distinctive embellishments and gowns basked entirely in bold colour are popping up on the runways and down the aisles. Brides are becoming more daring and creative with their gown choices, focusing less on the “princess-for-a-day” mentality and concentrating more on having their gowns be an extension of their personalities and passions.

So what has recently caught the eye of Et Lofte Events? Gowns that look to Mother Nature as their muse. By incorporating gorgeous nature-inspired themes, colours and trimmings this wedding gown style is a true testament to the beauty of mother earth.

From scenic colours and delicate floral and fauna to the very best (and FAUX-renditions) of earth’s creatures, designers are really getting creative and some truly stunning and unique gowns are beginning to bloom.

Can’t find gowns with as much detail or in brilliant colours such as the ones featured below in your local Bridal Salon? Try boutiques that carry prom gowns (many prom gowns can double as wedding gowns!) and regular shops that carry evening gowns. And of course you can always have your gown made. Some of our fave designers in the Toronto area are Ruzz Couture and Lisa Van Hattem.

Here are just a few of our faves:











© Melissa Nowakowski 2008

Everyone knows that champagne has long been associated with class and elegance – whether it is passed to gala dwellers, offered to dinner party patrons or served to wedding guests with which to toast a bride and groom . Yet despite its so-called sophistication, no one is exactly wow’d by a glass of bubbly.

Until now that is.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers have been on the market for a little while now but are only starting to get the big ‘horrah’ they deserve. West-coast based Designer Cocktail Company has created this extraordinary garnish that originated from Australia to compliment a glass of champagne – and compliment it does!

The concept is simple: just add the fully edible flower (they taste similar to raspberries!) to a glass of champagne and watch the petals gently unfold into a blossom of sweet sophistication. For an extra touch of glamour, add a dab of the hibiscus flower syrup for colour.

Selling for $12 to $16 for a 250 g jar (holds approx. 11 flowers) at many local retailers across Canada (including Pusateri’s, and Fresh & Wild Market here in Toronto), Wild Hibiscus Flowers are a deliciously exotic addition to our favourite sparkling infusion.