Cake-maker Tracy Desmond tied the knot last week, with a very special centre-piece… an eight tier wedding cake, suspended from the ceiling, which took her five days to create. SARAH HORGAN finds out about the love story and inspiration behind the masterpiece
BALLINCOLLIG entrepreneur Tracy Desmond has always believed that if you can dream it you can bake it.
As a matter of fact, this has become the slogan for her ever-growing business — Trace of Cakes — which boasts celebrities such as TV3 presenter Lisa Cannon and chef Kevin Dundon among its many clients.
Her own wedding cake last weekend was most certainly the stuff of dreams — drawing audible gasps from almost every guest.
“At 5ft tall and eight tiers this was never going to be your typical wedding cake,” said Tracy of her big day at the Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig. “I wanted it to be as personal as possible.”
Each slice served as an extract from the love story of Tracy and her equally romantic other half, Kevin Bell.
“It took me around five days in total to make,” Tracy explains. “I hand painted a picture of Farran Woods on to the front because that was the place where we had our first kiss. It shows every small detail down to the little bench we were sitting on.”
Two little birds perched on the edges formed a very important part of the edible masterpiece.
“The two little birds represent Kevin’s mum and dad, Catherine and Richard, who are sadly no longer with us. I came up with this detail after being inspired by the idea that robins at Christmas are actually our loved ones watching over us.“While I never had the chance to meet Kevin’s dad, I was lucky to have experienced around four years with his mother before she died. Just like my own mum she was a wonderful woman who did everything for her family.
“The stag and three deers on the cake symbolise my children — Dylan, aged 18, Tara, aged 14, and Ciara, aged 11, along with Kevin’s daughter, Nataleigh. There’s a real festive theme running through it. Carol and I celebrate our birthdays in December so this has always been a very special time of year for us.”
She reflected on the special role Kevin has played in her family’s life.
“Everything changed from the moment we met. It was like someone from above had put the two of us together. When Ciara was just three years old she didn’t want me to marry Kevin, only because she was convinced she would marry him herself! That was how fond of him she was. He’s into sport and the girls loved camogie so he gelled with them straight away. Kevin gets on really well with all the kids. The moment we met was the start of a long love story. Even after all these years we are just as happy.”
Tracy highlighted her pride at being able to walk down the aisle in one of her mother’s designs.
“I come from a long line of seamstresses. My grandmother used to make uniforms for schools. For as long as I can remember there has always been a sewing machine out. This was quite an advantage for my twin sister Carol and I as we were very tall so there were always alterations to be made. Most of my family can put their hand to anything.
“Mum was hugely proud to watch us all walk down the aisle in her creations. I had tried on a couple of dresses in various stores. She took bits of what I liked from each piece so that I could have the exact dress I wanted. The trimming came from material used to make saris which she found in London. The rest of the fabric was bought in Hickeys. I immediately loved it after trying it on and was gliding around the house. My mum just watched me with this look of huge delight on her face.
“For the bridesmaid dresses, she took three creamy gold dresses and cut off the bottom halves. She then replaced them with tulle and added some bronze taupe leather.
“Ciara played tin whistle during the ceremony so almost everyone had a chance to showcase their talents.”
It will be business as usual this week for the hard-working baker.
“Kevin and I will be travelling to Kildare for two days. I’ve never been to Kildare Village before so it will be nice to get away. However, the oven will be on as soon as I’m home and it will be back to work. We hope to eventually take the whole family to France for a real holiday.”
Tracy and Kevin were glad their nuptials went to plan in comparison to the proposal two years before.
“The proposal didn’t happen the way he had planned but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We were in the Maritime Hotel in Bantry. Kevin had taken me down there so he could pop the question by the beautiful lake. He hadn’t anticipated the violent storms that failed to ease the entire time we were there. Kevin ended up proposing while I was sitting on the bed tucking into a cream egg.”
The bride emphasised her gratitude to everyone who helped make her dream day a reality.
“The Oriel Hotel, in particular their wedding coordinator Elaine, have been amazing. I also owe so much to my mother and sisters Deirdre and Carol.”