Mention the name Lily Vanilli to any foodies or in-the-know wedding planners and they’ll gush about her decadent, beautifully designed cakes…
The 29-year-old artisan baker owns a cake shop in east London and is the Queen of the show-shopping wedding cake. She’s made a name for herself decorating them with everything from colourful stained glass sugar shards to flamboyant edible flowers.
Lily has crafted gorgeous gateauxs for fashion royalty including Lulu Guinness, Alexandra McQueen, Elton John and Stella McCartney. The mistress of baking herself Nigella Lawson is also a fan.
Despite starting with a simple Sunday cupcake stall at the infamous Columbian Road Flower Market in London, Lily now has a very successful business spending her days creating wedding cakes. “I’m luckily enough to make wedding cakes all the time, a couple a week, it’s such a joyous job,” she explains. “I love chatting to the bride and groom, trying to figure out exactly what suits them and their theme. I really want to create something unique for each wedding, I never make the same cake twice. I’d never find something on the internet and re-create it, I want to go beyond that and create something personal.”
Lily is also a pioneer for new ideas and radical designs. “I’ve been making a lot of naked wedding cakes recently,” she continues. “This basically means they’re tiered in a traditional wedding cake style but I don’t ice them on the outside. It’s a bit like having a Victoria sponge layer cake – it’s stacked and tiered. I then decorate them with lots and lots of fruit and flowers and icing sugar. I always use natural things to decorate like thyme or fruit or chocolate, everything has to be edible and with no colourings.”
So what does Lily think 2014 will bring to the wedding cake industry? “Next year the trend will be cakes that are really exposed on the outside,” she muses. “They can look so stylish and beautiful. I always use real flowers and edible flowers, which has definitely become a lot more popular this year. Edible flowers are a healthier option; they’re really pretty and also really tasty.”
Finally Lily has some advice for all DIY brides out there who fancy getting creative in their own wedding kitchen. “I’d like to show you how to make a show-stopping wedding dessert, which looks like a visual masterpiece but is actually quite cheap and easy to make,” she says.
It’s based on the much-loved profiterole stack or a croque-en-bouche for the more cultured among us, as Lily explains: “It looks so impressive and tastes amazing, so it works on both levels. A traditional French croque-en-bouche is made by stacking profiteroles in a cone-shaped mould and setting them in place with caramel. The Crispello tower saves you having to faff around with hot caramel, which can burn your fingers. It’s very easy to make and looks fantastic.”
To make your own Cadbury Crispello Tower you’ll need the following ingredients…
- Bags of Cadbury Crispello – the taller you want your masterpiece the more bags you’ll need
- 250g of milk or dark chocolate (depending on your taste preferences)
- Eye catching decorations – real fruit like raspberries, blueberries, cherries, or edible flowers, glitter and gold leaves.
- Melt milk or dark chocolate in a glass or metal dish over a pan of boiling water (this will be your glue to stick the Crispello’s together as you stack them)
- Then simply dip the base of each Crispello into the melted chocolate and stick on top of another piece to form a pyramid.
- When you are happy with the height of your tower get experimental and creative adding lots of decorations.
- Dip the bottom of each decoration into the melted chocolate and stick to the pyramid.
For more hints and tips visit www.facebook.com/cadburyuk or check out our top tips for saving money on your wedding cake here!