Ah, wedding cakes, who doesn’t love them? As famous baker Julia Child once said: ‘a party without cake is just a meeting’ – cake can play an important role at weddings; from being a themed focal point, to bringing people together to watch the cutting of the cake, and then creating a unison of ‘ooh’ as everyone tucks into a tasty slice… yum!
Today we’re shining the Wedding Supplier Spotlight on Kass Fraser-Clay of Kasserina Cakes, who creates stunning bespoke wedding cakes for weddings throughout Sussex (and beyond!). Over to Kass to hear more about creating dreamy wedding cakes, enjoying the ‘zen-ness’ of making and, of course, find out what biscuits she would love to find in her biscuit tin….
Hi Kass! How did you get into weddings?
I had made a couple of wedding cakes before for other shops but when I went into business on my own, about 7 years ago, I spent some time networking locally and met a great bunch of wedding suppliers. Over time we all started working together more and more and most of my work these days is wedding related now. It’s great to have a trusted group of suppliers around as we all support each other and we can share that knowledge with our clients to help them find trusted hands when they are wedding planning too.
What had you done before? Does this experience help at all?
I had been in film and TV (camera department) for years before taking a break to look after the kids when they were tiny. When it was time to go back to work full time though, my plans were scuppered as the technology had moved on so fast I would have had to retrain and effectively start again.
Although I loved working with cameras, and missed my work friends lots, I decided that having to take such a big step backwards was just too depressing so decided to utilise another skill I’d developed and look into working in sugarcraft. A family friend was looking for a decorator for her cake shop so I started off working for her, later setting up my own business as Kasserina Cakes.
I’d definitely say working with cameras, and with a big team in film and TV has helped me in my business. I’m super-organised (I LOVE a list), I’m good at working collaboratively (years of working with other departments and managing my team), but I’m also very self-reliant. I’m aesthetically oriented, I love to translate a vision into reality but am also very, very practical and really good at problem solving which with anything craft related (as with cameras and lighting) is always good as there’s often a glitch that needs a little invisible attention.
I’m also used to very long hours, which with cakes happens often.
How would you describe what you do?
I make difficult things seem easy. I take a vision and make it tangible. I am a tamer of buttercream and a smoother of fondant. I create edible art to display at the centre of your day.
My main USP is that I use quality, natural ingredients and have a wide range of flavours available. I avoid using synthetic flavourings in favour of using fresh ingredients wherever possible. This means real lemons, great quality chocolate, slow roasted strawberries, lashings of real booze, homemade compotes…and I can even create recipes for you. I believe strongly that your cake should taste as good as it looks!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the design process, I enjoy the zen-ness of making sugarpaste flowers, there’s a certain pleasure in smoothing buttercream and a pride that comes with looking at perfect fondant, but, there’s a point after you’ve delivered a cake, when you get to sit down with a drink on the sofa and look at the photographs. When all the stress has passed and you can feel thoroughly proud of what you’ve produced. That’s a fantastic feeling… made even better when you get a lovely message from your clients afterward!
What’s been your highlight so far?
I should say it was my stepson’s wedding, but really that was just too stressful as I was just so pushed for time being both a guest and a supplier… or my first wedding cake, which was my brother’s, 11 years ago, but again it was hard to relax… really the highlight is still an Alice In Wonderland cake from a few of years back. I would change some things now but it was a really challenging cake for me at the time and when I stepped back I just couldn’t stop smiling. That’s what I’m reaching for every time.
What would be your top tip for choosing a wedding cake?
Choose an experienced cake maker whose work appeals to you, be honest about your budget and trust them to lead you through the process. There are lots of different styles of cakes, so having a look for styles you like in advance and sending over a couple of photographs can really help with speeding up the design process.
‘5 second questions’
The song I love to dance to most is…
Tightrope by Janelle Monae.
What biscuits would you like to see most in the biscuit tin, and why?
Macarons! Especially fruit ones!! Just love them! In fact I don’t make them because I’d never stop eating them. I have a great lady I buy them in from who makes delicious bespoke ones for me.
What bit of advice would you give to your younger self?
Buy a house early! Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything as I might not have my lovely husband and kids.
Who is your secret celebrity crush?
Jason Isaacs has always made me melt.
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party what four guests would you invite and why?
I know I should say some famous people, or figures from history, or scientists, or great thinkers… but really, to me, the ultimate dinner party is us, my two best friends and their spouses. We rarely get to all meet up and they would always be my favourite guests as they make me belly laugh so much and I absolutely love them!
Cats or dogs?
I really like dogs, but it’d be cats every time, especially our quirky and demanding rescue cat who is just a sweetheart.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee makes me happy, and keeps me going in the early hours. It’s like a hug in a mug.
Thanks so much for chatting to us Kass! To see more from Kasserina Cakes visit www.kasserina.com.
Many thanks to the lovely Shelley Welti for the help in putting this feature together for me.