When you think of weddings you think of the dress, the party and of course, the cake. Yeah, there’s the love between the couple, but the cake makes everything seem a lot better! Well, when you’re a hardcore geek, you can’t have a run of the mill generic white wedding cake. You have to showcase you’re a horror fan, a gamer, a Cumberbitch, a cosplay maven, or whatever else you might be. Luckily there are people like Tracey Rothwell of Little Cherry/Black Cherry Cakes who are masters of their dessert baking craft and can help make your special day even more delicious. And nerdy!
Rothwell is just a girl from the UK who’s in love with Freddy Krueger and married a man who has a liking for all things Disney. If you’re wondering, their cake was a mixture of both of their loves, and that cake, along with many others from Rothwell's Little Cherry/Black Cherry Cakes showcase a wide variety of fandoms from Nintendo to Zombies and everything in between. Rothwell separated her business between the lighter, kid-friendly side of geeky baked goods (Little Cherry) and the darker, more horrifically sweet stuff (Black Cherry).
I had the chance to speak with Rothwell about why she split up the company, her favorite themes, working on top secret plans for one of the greatest men in cinema history, and got some tips on for all the geeks out there who are currently planning their big day.
MTV Geek: Has there always been a light and dark side to your cake business, or did you head towards the dark side after some time?
Tracey Rothwell: Black Cherry didn't take too long to follow the Little Cherry business. I only realized the error of my ways when my website designer pointed out I couldn't add my horror cakes to my Little Cherry site (can anyone say zombie guts?!) The name conjures up thoughts of cute pretty cakes - what happens if little 7 year old Johnny comes along to look at "Ben 10" but is faced with Ash covered in blood from "Evil Dead"?
I needed a separate site where I could unleash all my twisted geeky side, the part I love the most into the world without giving kids nightmares in cake form! It's worked out really well as I still get to make all the bright coloured kids cakes through Little Cherry, but I can also still attract my fellow geeks, nerds, gamers, and horror heads through Black Cherry.
Geek: Do you often advise people to come in with a template/sketch of what they want done for their cake? Any tips on what to have planned out before they head into you with a million and one ideas?
Tracey: Some people know exactly what they want right down to the last detail, and others don't even know where to start. Either way is fine! I LOVE designing cakes, so I get as much detail from them as possible, do they have a favourite film/game/programme/character/food/hobby/stuff they can't live without, stuff they truly love, and then I come up with ideas to turn them into cake! One of the best parts of my job is research...it means watching films I've never seen before, and an excuse to get my popcorn machine out.
I'm passionate about a ton of random things, so if they come to me with a theme I'm not familiar with I do as much research as I can, after all if you’re a hardcore fan of anything you are going to notice all those extra little details!
Geek: You’ve said you love themed weddings. Can you recall the craziest ones you’ve seen since you started?
Tracey: Haha, I did have quite a difficult task once of joining a vintage pastel coloured tea party theme, with "Doctor Who" and "The Avengers." It seemed really hard at first but then I just drew up a crazy design a sent it to the couple. They both loved it straight away! They had a three tier pastel cake, with a baby blue TARDIS topper with a pink Iron Man peeping from inside, a mint green Hulk drinking a cup of tea and a pastel Captain America shield nestled among the roses - Crazy but I LOVE it!
Then there was the bride that cut her Zelda Windwaker cake with a giant sword....
Geek: What are 3-5 tips you have for someone doing a themed wedding when it comes to making the cake a part of it? Like, don’t go overboard, plan it out, etc.?
1. Have what YOU want on your cake; after all it is just that! CAKE!! People will stare at it, take pictures, and there’s always the select few that will want to poke it.....haha. But at the end of the day it will be demolished and there’ll be nothing but crumbs on their faces. You can afford to have fun with your cake – it’s not permanent! Don't get something just because your Grandma wants you to, unless Grandma wants a "Goonies" cake, I'm totally down with that.
2. Don't worry if your cake doesn't match, as above, it’s not permanent! One of my brides had a New York themed wedding - But a Zelda cake...why? ‘Cause she freakin’ digged Zelda games! And she doesn't regret it for a second, her friends loved it and it’s STILL being talked about and shared on the internet. People remember that much more than any white wedding cake with a few flowers on it!
3. In contrast to the above maybe you're a shy geek? That’s fine too! You can still have something “pretty” and sneak in little bits of your nerdiness which isn't overly obvious to the eye. Us cakers are good with that.
4. Choose the right cake maker for the job! Sounds obvious, but each cake maker tends to have one or two areas they are better in than others, whether it be modelling, flowers, realistic, sculpted, cartoony, novelty or traditional. For example if you want pretty realistic flowers, I'm not your girl. Likewise the traditional royal icing piper might not be the one for the job if your looking for a Zombie Apocalypse (hell yeah!). Have a look through their portfolios, have something in mind what you want and contact them! Have a little chat before booking and you should be able to gauge if they are for you.
Geek: Any advice for bakers out there who might want to take the path you’ve been traveling as far as geek-centric cakes?
Tracey: If you have a passion for something...do it!! More and more people are coming around to the idea of having alternative cakes, they are no longer just going with those white cakes with sprinkles slapped on the sides - Hurrah! Show people what you can do and what they CAN HAVE. Make cakes for yourself/friends, photograph them and unleash the awesomeness on the world through social media. It can be hard at first to find the right customers, but keep doing what you do and they will sniff you out. Us geeks do a lot of Internet surfing.