There. I said it.
Bespoke cakes, especially those ones where it's cramming in all the interests, hobbies, careers, pets, hopes and dreams of the birthday person, are the silliest.
I've long ditched doing bespoke cakes because trying to translate someone's extremely personalised brief into cake-art took way too much time and brain power. And often that time and labour is lost when it's out of budget anyway. I've explained this bespoke-cake-blow here.
One of the most popular bespoke "interest" cake themes is the person's job. Eg. Doctor/Musician/Lawyer etc. Now, for me, personally and 100% candidly speaking...I can't think of anything worse than being reminded of WORK on my birthday. Obvs, I love my job, and it's great to take pride in one's work and career. But does that really define us? I freakin' hope not. When we die, are we thinking about our jobs?! So why should we think about them on our birthdays? I dunno...I hope my epitaph will NOT read "Reshmi Bennett. Made Really Good Cakes". Unless I really have nothing else going on in my life.
Another popular bespoke cake is cramming ALL the interests of the person. I can kind of get behind this idea. If you're gifting a cake, it may show the giftee that someone really put a lot of thought into getting a cake designed for them. But when I get an enquiry, typically for a "small cake, cuz of Covid it's only 2 people, and the birthday boy really loves his Lhasa Apso (please find attached a photo), is an accountant by day, DJ by night, loves Captain Morgan, holidays in Ibiza, and his vintage Royal Enfield (please find attached photo), Game of Thrones. He is also a big Chelsea FC fan, LOVES Greek food and was a Boy Scout." my head hurts and my heart breaks. My head hurts from all the information that I immediately start processing and thinking about how on earth is this all going to fit on a "small cake". And my heart hurts because I know there is no way a small cake would accommodate it all, and a bigger cake would most probably be extremely out-of-budget for small celebrations.
So when it comes to my own son's birthday, like an idiot I asked him what cake he wants.
"I love Rainbow cake!"
I actually hate rainbow cake. All that batter colouring, all that washing up. Taking up so much oven room capacity. Not to mention, it's not actually even a "flavour" as such. It's artificially coloured vanilla sponge. But anyway, it's one of our popular cakes, and my kid wants it...so okay, fine, I'll do it.
"And I want chocolate cake too! With sprinkles!"
Can't have both buddy.
Umm yeah, good point. Okay fine, you can have both.
"I also want a Paw Patrol cake!"
"Doughnuts! Please! Cake with doughnuts!""
Okay now stopppp. This was already triggering my migraine. This cake makes no sense. Nothing flows in the theme, it's too weird. It's going to be the silliest cake ever.
But I made it. I laboured over a two-tier completely customised, bespoke cake for my darling son. The bottom tier is rainbow sponge layers with rainbow stripe Swiss meringue buttercream. The top tier is a chocolate cake with sprinkles fault line.
I then added chocolate baked doughnuts, and a hand-modelled Paw Patrol inspired "Chase" figurine on top. And yup, nothing ties together, and it's all disjointed and just forced together. And weird.
Seeing his face absolutely light-up when he saw his cake was well worth every second of the migraine. I'm not even sure if he remembers everything he asked for. I mean, his face could've lit up because of seeing all his demands come to cake-life, or because of the fireworks coming out of it. Who knows?!
We had a lovely day celebrating our little boy’s 4th birthday. A bouncy castle, BBQ, and luckily, a spot of sunshine too. With lots of cake!
So just like our beloved UK government, I am also now doing a U-turn on my bespoke-cake-boundary. It won't be a blanket 'No', but if I feel like I can do something with the brief that'll get my creative juices flowing (and it's feasible budget-wise), I'll run with it. If not, then I'll do what I do best - our amazing and the BEST birthday cakes to order in London.
Lots of love,