She is based in the west end of Glasgow and caters to weddings, occasions, corporate & private events, tastings and classes.
You used to work in health and now have your own deluxe cake and pâtisserie making business. How did that come about?
“My background is in health and nutrition, but I wanted to do something visually creative.”
“I’ve always been very passionate about food and particularly loved baking, so I retrained in pâtisserie a few years ago.”
“I confess I’m a real perfectionist which is why I chose to study at Le Cordon Bleu London.”
“From there, I worked as a pâtissière in places like Sketch (in Mayfair, London) and Glasgow’s Blythswood Hotel.”
“I also studied chocolate making with William Curley – he’s an amazing chocolatier, winning Britain’s Best Chocolatier four times in a row.”
“Earlier this year I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to study under one of the world’s best cake designers and sugar flower artists, Maggie Austin, in the USA.”
“It’s funny because I never actually planned to get into wedding cakes. They seemed to find me.”
“While I was working at Sketch, three friends asked me to make theirs. Since I had no training or experience in tiered iced cakes, the idea scared the living daylights out of me!”
“But they’d given me plenty notice so I said yes and got to work learning and practicing.”
“I discovered I love the creative design process; creating something of beauty.”
“I suppose you could say a wedding cake is an edible work of art, for one of the most special days in people’s lives.”
“It can be very stressful at times, but the pleasure I get in seeing people enjoying eating my cakes more than makes up for that.”
“I also like a challenge in life and one of the best things about this line of work is that there’s always more to learn.”
“There’s always new creative challenges to scale.”
How would you say your approach to cake making is different from other cake makers?
“I have five guiding principles, my “bible” or list of essentials for every Hautecake..”
1) It must look beautiful, 2) it must taste beautiful, 3) it should be handmade fresh to order, 4) using only the best quality ingredients, 5) with the emphasis on seasonal, local, natural and wild produce.
“I am totally unstinting and uncompromising when it comes to the quality of ingredients that I use.”
“For example, I always work with Valrhona chocolate, one of the best chocolates in the world.”
“Everything is natural, and handmade fresh to order. I’m also really into working with seasonal and local produce.”
“I’ve recently taken that one step further working with locally foraged ingredients.”
“For example, a “wild” spruce cake for the Gin & Pâtisserie tastings that I do.”
“A delicate spruce-flavoured sponge, filled with spruce ganache and finished with edible silver leaf. It tastes amazing and is always a real talking point!”
“Working with wild produce is definitely something I want to do more of.”
Your cakes look lovely, but how do they taste?
“I have two cake menus, the Seasonal Collection and the Chocolate Collection, so there’s considerable variety across the full range.”
“What I’m looking for in all of them though is balance of flavour and texture.”
“I try to combine ingredients that blend together really well but will also give a real burst of flavour.”
“For example, Rose and raspberry; Lemon, vodka and pistachio; or Chocolate, bramble and apple, which are all from the Seasonal Collection.”
“Like the name suggests, the Chocolate Collection is for real chocolate lovers. It’s based on chocolate sponge filled with a choice of chocolate ganaches, e.g. orange blossom, mandarin, jasmine, rose lavender, tonka, cherry.”
“As you can see, I love to work with fruits and florals! Also herbs, nuts and spices.”
“I’ve developed my own techniques for making the ganache, one of my most closely guarded trade secrets.”
“It’s all about silky softness of texture – you want it to be as light as possible and melt quickly in the mouth.”
“It always generates a chorus of “Oohs” and “Ahs” in my tasting sessions.”
Do you have any personal favourites?
“Oh yes, lots! But my absolute number one favourite would have to be my Rose and Raspberry Gâteau.”
“It’s this cake which won me “Outright Winner” at last year’s Scottish Baking Awards. It never fails to bowl people over.”
“On the pâtisserie side I really love my Chocolate Financiers (I do a range of flavours), Basil Macarons, and Jasmine Tea Cakes.”
Would you say you have a ‘signature style’?
“Yes, I think I do. I would describe my style as varied, but always elegant, sophisticated and stylish with great attention to detail.”
“When it comes to my iced cakes, I like to work in soft, muted colours for the covering icing.”
“Think Farrow and Ball off-whites and the palest pastels such as dove gray, duck egg blue, light sage greens, lilacs.”
“Which colour obviously depends on the couple’s wedding theme, but keeping the background really pale is a great way to show off the decoration.”
“I’m always looking to achieve both delicacy and drama there – that could be use of intense colours, texture, a single bold-statement sugar flower, or a full-on sugar flower arrangement that might have taken a week to compose.”
“Extremely delicate, almost transparent sugar flowers have definitely become one of my things.”
“They’re often mistaken for real flowers. For added detail, I especially love to work with ruffles, keeping them really fine so they catch the light. I think it’s a really beautiful look.”
“For naked cakes, I like to use the same flowers that the couple have chosen.”
“Decorating the cake with them to give a natural, flowing look, preferably with as much height as possible as that looks wonderful.”
“For the pâtisserie selections, it’s all about a perfect finish, in an array of pretty colours, gorgeous decorations, beautiful display stands with time and attention given to the décor of the display area.”
Handmade, handpainted sugar flowers
Tell us a bit more about your wedding pâtisserie
“Not everyone wants a traditional wedding cake, but so far the alternative has been limited to cupcakes.”
“Wedding pâtisserie broadens couples’ choices.”
“It looks really dramatic, especially in large numbers on tall display stands. And of course it tastes beautiful.”
My pâtisserie menu is pretty extensive. Couples can choose from:
* chocolate financiers – rich, moist sponge, filled with a pool of the creamiest chocolate ganache
* macarons – the Parisian classic in the prettiest pastels
* layer cakes
* tea cakes, and more.
“Prices start from £1.75 per item, with a spend of £5 per head working well.”
“I usually recommend two items per person, from a total of three or four to give guests a nice selection and a high-impact display.”
“A “top tier” cutting cake can also be added into the display, for the best of both worlds, the traditional and contemporary.”
“Wedding pâtisserie can be served instead of dessert, instead of wedding cake, or instead of dessert and wedding cake.”
“As such, it’s a really flexible and extremely affordable option.”
What wedding favours do you do?
“So far, the favours range includes macarons, mini financiers, teacakes and mini fantasy bundts.”
“Little gourmet gifts, elegantly packaged to fit in with your wedding theme.”
I know lots of people that would be on board with your Gin & Pâtisserie tastings. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
“The Gin & Pâtisserie tastings are a really lovely thing to do for a hen party. Stag dos too.”
“Loads of fun as well as being delicious and indulgent!”
“The philosophy is all about feeding the senses, taking your taste buds on a tour.”
“Think afternoon tea but with several amazing gins replacing the sandwiches. I run them in conjunction with Gin Club Scotland.”
“They hand-picked a selection of four fab gins. One fruity, one floral, one sweet and one herbaceous.”
“I then paired each of those with a perfectly matched pâtisserie.”
“The selection features a gâteau, a macaron, a financier and a specially created “wild” cake made with locally-foraged ingredients.”
“Gin Club Scotland guide you through each gin with some nosing and tasting, then everyone has to guess the botanical in each. Much hilarity usually ensues.”
What can a couple expect at one of your cake tastings?
“The tasting and design consultation is a really fun part of the process! Couples can taste up to three cakes from the menu.”
“Once they’ve settled on the flavour they would like, we turn to the design.”
“To help me guide them in choosing the perfect design for their day, I’ll have done a good amount of research in advance: their numbers, colours, flowers, and the overall look and feel they’re going for.”
“Then, for the consultation itself, I ask them to bring along anything that might be useful – colour samples, a picture of the chosen flowers, a swatch of fabric from the wedding or bridesmaids’ dresses, or images that have inspired them.”
“By the end of the session, we’ll have worked up the entire design. Together. Then all I have to do is make it come to life!”
Thank you so much to Sonnda for sharing her wonderful story and exquisite creations.
From personal experience I can say that WOW, everything is just a taste sensation.
My personal favourite would have to be the rose and raspberry cakes, so lovely with the chocolate financiers coming a very very close second, a chocolate lovers dream.
I would also like to thank Sonnda for her support on coming on board s a Blog Sponsor.
“Sonnda is also delighted to have been asked to show her work on the Display Tables at the upcoming Cake & Bake Show, in Edinburgh at the end of this month.
This area is by invitation only, with a select number of Scotland’s most talented cake designers invited to showcase their best work.
Why not drop by and have a look at her cakes in person > The Cake & Bake Show, 30th Oct-1st Nov, RHC Edinburgh.”
Contact Hautecake by Sonnda
Phone: +44 7932 725784
Wedding Shoot Credits