Get to Know: Erin Brown of Dolce Bakery
Fans of Erin Brown’s Dolce Bakery know her pastries, cookies and other treats have a way of making any day better. So it’s no wonder her Prairie Village shop also helps makes one of life’s sweetest days even sweeter with dazzling wedding cakes and confections. We talked to the baker extraordinaire about wedding dessert trends, her advice for couples and more.
Q: How did you get started with baking?
A. I started baking and exploring in my mother’s kitchen when I was 7 years old and have been baking since. My first cake memory is the Gizmo (from “Gremlins”) cake that my mom made for my 3rd birthday!
Q. What do you enjoy about creating cakes and desserts for weddings?
A. It is such a joy to bake for people and an extra special honor to bake for their wedding days. I love how baking wedding (or even engagement) cakes is sort of the beginning of my relationships with so many loyal customers. We go on to bake their birthday cakes, birth announcement cakes, gender reveal cakes, anniversary cakes, parents’ anniversary cakes, etc.
Q. How does the process work at Dolce when a couple contacts you? How do you work with them to create the final offerings?
A. When a couple first reaches out to us, we respond by sending basic pricing information along with a questionnaire for them to fill out. This form gives us a general idea of their wedding style, what they are looking for (cake, dessert table, cake table, favors, cookies, etc.), a few major wedding day details and what items from our menu they are interested in trying.
Next, we schedule a consult. The couple comes in for their cake tasting and samples various cakes, fillings and frostings and any other desserts they would like. (We have weekday and weekend appointments available.)
We then give them an estimate to look over, and if they decide to book with us, they can put down a 50 percent deposit to hold their date. At that point, they are officially on our calendar, yay! We check in about a month out from their wedding to review any final details and changes. Then it’s a countdown to their wedding day.
Q. Are you seeing any trends in what couples are wanting for their wedding day sweets?
A. Smaller, tiered cakes with a dessert bar option seem to be popular right now. Couples love to give their guests a variety of options instead of just the traditional wedding cake. Some of our most popular options include oatmeal cream pies, cream cheese brownies, lemon bars, hand pies and cookies. Since we are a full-line bake shop, we are baking all of these items on a daily basis and love that we can make so many options available.
Cake tables are also trending, which consist of smaller single-tier cakes of varying sizes and occasionally a larger tiered cake as the main attraction. This adds some visual interest to the dessert table and offers more variety in cake flavors.
Q. What are some of your favorite cakes Dolce has created for weddings?
A. We made a five-tier pumpkin cake for a fall wedding. It was a naked cake with caramel poured over every tier finished with beautiful fresh flowers and greenery! I have also loved baking for so many employees’ weddings over the years—cake tables, cookie bars, six tiered giants, etc.
Q. Do you have a favorite story or two from baking for a wedding or working with a couple?
A. The experience that stands out was when I saw a bride see her cake for the first time…which doesn’t always happen because they are usually getting ready when we set their cake up. She covered her mouth and cried. That was the best hug!
Q. What do you suggest people think about when they’re trying to pick a bakery and cake for the big day?
A. It is super helpful if you have considered cake/dessert budget and communicated that.
You also want to be sure the bakery is able to accomplish the design you have in mind. It’s a good idea to email a photo or share an inspiration board, especially if you have chosen a specific design. For example, sometimes a cake will be decorated with fondant and the bakery does not offer fondant cakes. Not every couple and every bakery are a match, and that is OK.
Order what you love and also keep your guests in mind. Ordering a wedding cake is usually one of the first times in our lives when we order cake for that many people! It can be a little overwhelming, but trust your bakery to guide you in a crowd-pleasing direction that fulfills your cake dreams.
Lastly, you want your cake and/or desserts to taste great. You want a beautifully designed cake to be just as delicious!
For more information about Dolce Bakery, visit DolceBakes.com.