Creating Eco Friendly Wedding Cakes
Sustainability means more than just using free-range eggs. It’s a conscious effort to improve sustainability across the entire process of making a wedding cake. I want you to enjoy your wedding cake, safe in the knowledge that it’s been made as sustainably as possible.
I regularly review sustainability across 6 stages of my business – raw materials, process, decoration, packaging, delivery, and waste (outer circle).
Within those areas, I want to make sure that I source materials responsibly, use materials and resources efficiently, reduce use of undesirable materials and reduce any potentially detrimental aspects, reuse and repurpose materials and packaging, recycle what I can, repair where possible and return something back to Earth or its inhabitants (inner circle).
An important part of sustainability is transparency so below you will find more detail on each aspect of my business. If you want to understand the sustainability principles that guide my business more generally, you can find them in my story.
If you’re thinking about planning your own eco friendly wedding, then the centre of my sustainability diagram is a great place to start. You can use the list to compare suppliers and/or compare your options (e.g. favours as place settings vs. individually bagged gifts). If you’re completely new to eco friendly weddings, then I’d also recommend reading this blog post on the eco friendly wedding words to look out for. One of the Love from Lila principles is that sustainability enhances luxury, it does not compromise it. If you order a Love from Lila cake, luxury and sustainability work together to give you the best wedding cake possible. That’s a bonus if you aren’t planning an eco friendly wedding, and essential if you are!
If you have any questions about sustainability or eco-friendly weddings, then please reach out. To learn more about sustainable wedding cakes in Surrey, Hampshire and beyond, please visit my wedding cakes pages.
Starting at the beginning of the chain, I source all the ingredients for my wedding cakes as responsibly as possible. This means minimising any negative impact on the environment, animals and people. With some ingredients, it’s also possible to do something positive for one of those groups. Where relevant/possible, I’m looking for ingredients in recyclable packaging. And am reducing my food miles by using locally sourced, British (seasonal) ingredients. Here are some of the ingredients I use:
- Fairtrade sugar
- Truly free-range, locally sourced eggs
- British flour
- British milk and cream, with high animal welfare standards and a fair price for farmers
- Organic British butter (not used in sponges)
- Ethically produced vanilla
- Unrefined icing sugar, processed where it is grown to ensure value stays in local economies
- Sustainably sourced chocolate which supports productivity and community development projects
- British fruit jams
- I will also only use raw materials containing sustainably sourced palm oil
Every wedding cake maker will work slightly differently – from recipes, to machines and methods. I have refined my recipes so that for each size of cake, I am making just the right amount of batter. I’ve also adapted my processes so that my cakes only dome slightly in the middle. This all reduces waste. Most packaging is recycled, I re-use jars, and egg boxes are returned to the farm or recycled in the community. Finally, I’ve been able to reduce the amount of cling film I use by storing cakes in resealable catering boxes. And when saving ingredients, I will always reach for reusable options like beeswax wraps or storage pots before single use bags.
There is still room for improvement where cake boards are concerned, and I continue to look for alternatives. However, by removing the silver cover on my cake boards after they have been used, they can be recycled in home recycling.
Fresh fruit or flower decorations are the best options when it comes to cake for eco friendly weddings. The fruits I source will be seasonal British fruit where available, often organic too. The flowers that I source are either organically grown in Devon, or locally grown without chemicals and pesticides. Both of these sources are a haven for wildlife and insects, and avoid chemicals draining off into waterways. I do not use flowers from a florist for a number of reasons. As they’re not designed for food, there are no controls or records of the chemicals used, they are flown in (increasing their carbon footprint) and often covered in plastic or cellophane packaging.
I try to avoid sugar flowers or inedible decorations completely. The less these are used, the more eco friendly your wedding cake will be as most of it will be recyclable or biodegradable. If fresh fruit and flowers don’t work for you, perhaps because you have a particular design or style in mind, there are other options. Silk flowers offer a great middle ground – they can be re-used and mean you can have flowers regardless of season.
When stacking cakes, I will use either wooden or plastic dowels. The wooden dowels only come in short lengths and have no indication of whether they come from sustainable sources. Therefore, I end up wasting about 40% of a dowel. Although it will biodegrade naturally, if it’s come from a poor source, it’s still not providing much benefit. If I use a plastic dowel, I can use about 95% of the dowel. After use, it can be easily cleaned and recycled. Not ideal, but not the worst option.
As most of my cakes are delivered directly to the venue, it means that I don’t need to use too many packaging materials. It also means that I can re-use packaging where safe and appropriate to do so. For items that are pre-packaged or posted, there are a couple of things to note. Cellophane when made from cellulose (the most common type) is a naturally biodegradable substance. I therefore ensure that the cellophane I source is made from cellulose. When sourcing cardboard boxes, I will always select unlaminated boxes, which ensures they are recyclable after use. I use shredded paper for packing and re-use boxes and bubble wrap sent to me in deliveries.
As I only take on limited wedding cake orders every year, I am not making lots of little delivery journeys in my car. I have a new-ish car with respectable fuel efficiency. Any ingredients I need are delivered in my weekly food shop – which reduces journeys made. I also opt for home delivery as this is arguably slightly more efficient than making the journey myself.
As I talked about before, I’ve adapted my recipes to ensure I’m only making as much cake as required for each cake size. I’ve also adjusted my methods to minimise the amount of doming on top of the cake. Where I have leftovers from consultations or wedding cakes, these are frozen or distributed to friends, family, local venues and/or local churches. If you have cake left over from your wedding day, it is usually still tasty to eat 2-3 days afterwards. And my cakes are never frozen, so you can always freeze leftover slices and enjoy them over the following months. By encouraging couples to use more and more natural decorations (fruit, flowers), there are fewer materials left for landfill once cake has been eaten and boards recycled.
Environmentally, socially and financially sustainable wedding cakes for eco conscious couples