Besides making the cakes for our beautiful couples, one of the things I love as a wedding vendor is the relationships that I made with other vendors: photographers, coordinators, florists and more.
Bernadette Madden is one of the them. She is the owner of Bramble and Vine Photography, a wedding photographer in Boise area. In her own words, “I’m a believer in love and marriage. Not only is it a beautiful thing to capture, but it’s my passion to craft images that represent your story into a permanent memory for you and your future generations to enjoy.”
I had the pleasure of being invited by Bernadette to answer some interview questions. Check out the interview on her blog, and check out her work!
All the pictures in this article are by Bramble and Vine Photography.
How did you get started in baking cakes and when did you start your business?
Shortly after I moved to United States, I had to decide if I want to continue with my master’s degree in Economics from Romania, or to do something else. At that time, I was writing a food blog for a couple of years, and I loved cooking and baking. My blog had over 200 recipes, and I can say about half of it were desserts. So, instead of going to school again and work in an office, I decided that I want to learn how to make beautiful cakes. It’s been almost 12 years now, and I think I took the right decision. When I started, I made many birthday cakes. After I moved to Idaho in 2018, I focused on wedding cakes. Now, about 80% of the cakes I make are weddings.
Say a bride contacts you about you doing her wedding cake. What’s the process she needs to go through?
The best way to get in touch is thru the inquiry form on my website. Usually, the next step is a initial phone call to go over details. Most of the couples want to schedule a cake tasting, and that’s when flavors are decided and the design is made or finalized.
Do brides come with you for the design of their cake or do you guide them on design?
I don’t like to copy other designs, however I encourage brides to save 2-3 pictures with cakes they like. This will give me a good starting point to get an idea of the style they want. Based on that, I give my recommendations for a design that is unique for each bride.
Do you like baking or decorating more?
I like it both: from the baking part of the cake, the way the ingredients come together and the smooth textures of the batter, all the way to adding the last details and flowers.
Besides cake, what else do you make?
I offer a variety of desserts, like cupcakes, macarons, cake pops, cake shooters and mini fruit tarts.
What inspires you? Do you have any pastry chef idols that you get your inspiration from? Or do you get inspiration elsewhere?
Inspiration comes from many places. I do look at many cakes online and I take note at different ideas as far as flower placement, textures, new techniques, sizes and proportions. My favorite to get inspiration from are dresses/ fabric and flowers. That’s one of the reasons I love styled photoshoots. They give me freehand and coming up with new cake designs.
What is your favorite cake flavor or dessert?
All the cake flavors that I offer have to be approved by me first, so I like all of them. As a personal preference, I lean more towards coffee and chocolate combinations. I also like other desserts, like Tiramisu and a Romanian cake Amandine.
Do you have any other hobbies outside of work?
I do! I love flowers and gardening. Together with my husband, we plant a large vegetable garden, and my flower garden is growing every year. I grow roses, peonies, dahlias, chrysanthemums and other flowers.
What are some challenges you face as a baker these days?
I think that one of the challenges that a baker faces is the misunderstanding between a mass produced large grocery store cake and a smaller baker cake. A cake from a large chain is a cake that has been made in large batches, frozen, filled with buttercream that is not made with real butter. It is not the same as a cake made by a smaller baker. It is an artisan product, made by order with whole ingredients, by a baker/cake artist that mastered a skill to provide an exceptional product.
What are some tips you can give to Brides when they are starting to plan their wedding and are starting to contact bakers for cakes and desserts?
Start with setting up a budget, the number that you cannot go over. Then, save 3-4 pictures of cakes you like as inspiration. Search few bakers in your area (online or referrals) and see their work and their online presence, and get some quotes. Lastly, schedule a cake tasting with those 1 or 2 that appealed the most to you and fit your budget.