Orla Kennedy O’Brien.
creator of bespoke wedding cakes at Kennedy O’Brien Cakes.
Tell us a little bit about how you went from working in finance to making cakes?
I completed a BA in Hotel and Catering Management in GMIT, where I worked on placements in hotels both home and abroad. I graduated in 2005 and was accepted to go do a Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy in DIT. I knew I wanted to set up my own business, but had no idea what it would be. I always had a head for numbers so I worked in practice and moved out in to industry and worked on finance teams in different companies. I had this niggle that this wasn’t for me, but I felt I had to have a “professional career”. Someone once told me, work in something you naturally love and have love for, and then it’s like breathing. I definitely felt I was going against the tide in finance. I started doing birthday cakes for my nieces and nephews, and set up a Facebook page and it just grew from there. I worked full time and did novelty cakes in to the wee hours of the morning. I realised I loved it when I looked out my window one Thursday night and the sun was coming up! I would get lost in creating and decorating. I was at a real cross roads in my life and career so I attended a career coach to really work on what I wanted to do. This lead to me completing a certificate in Professional Coaching in LIT, where I can honestly say I really got to know the real me. I discovered my natural drivers, strength and most importantly, my weaknesses. It also helped me focus on where I wanted to be. A year later my son was born, and being awake watching the sun rise was for a whole different reason now. Each month more and more requests came in, until it came to a point where I either had to turn people away or increase my time to the cakes. I took the bold move to self-employment in 2016. The business has grown year on year, through the help of friends and family’s belief in me. Without recommendations and referrals, Kennedy O’Brien Cakes would not be where it is today.
Why do you think is the wedding cake still such a big part of a couple’s wedding day?
With so many different design, the cake can be an opportunity to show your personality as a couple. Couples I meet often tell me they have been to several wedding and never even tasted the cake. I explain to couples to make sure you ask your venue coordinator to not cut up all the cake and have a large portion for the next day. Inevitably you will have people around the next day, so this is a good time to reproduce the cake for close family and friends.
What is your booking, consultation process like?
I have 2 options coming on stream;
- I will have a taster box which can be posted to the couple with a selection of cake flavours inside. We then have a Skype/Whatsapp Video/Phone Call/Email conversation about design and options.
- I meet the couples in my studio for a one to one consult where they taste a selection of cakes with tea and coffee and we create a bespoke design together.
What kind of wedding requests do you most enjoy getting?
I love getting the requests that truly reflect the couple themselves. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a novelty piece, but when it is a joint discussion between them, each offering their likes and dislikes, they end up with a truly unique piece.
What trends are you seeing lately in wedding cake designs?
The Semi-Naked style is still very much in trend. This is where the cake is partially covered in buttercream, and usually accompanied with fresh flowers and foliage.
What advice would you give to a couple when thinking about the wedding cake?
Don’t overthink it. It’s only cake! I know that sounds contradictory but what I mean is leave it to the professional. Give ideas on what you like and don’t like and a general style, let me do the rest.
What are your top 3 flavours (or most popular) to work with?
- The vanilla sponge and salted caramel cake is very popular, and a personal fav of mine.
- My vanilla sponge with berry preserve is a firm favourite, and often surprises couples when they taste it.
- Chocolate biscuit is still hanging in there, as it is an all-round crowd pleaser.
Social media: @kennedyobriencakes