A Stratford cake maker has the perfect recipe to winning at the Taranaki Wedding Awards.
Annette Dudley, owner of A Love of Cakes - By Annette won the cake category at this year's Taranaki Wedding Awards, and not for the first time either.
The awards have been running for five years and Annette has won an award at each event.
"A comment was made at this year's event that I've won the most awards at the event which is quite exciting."
The first year of the awards, Annette received a highly commended award, in 2017 she won the cake award, 2018 she won the overall category and last year she won the cake award and overall category.
"It's quite overwhelming actually. This year the event was livestreamed on Facebook and Instagram due to Covid-19. I had a mini party with my friends and family. It is usually a black tie event but it was great to celebrate with my friends and family."
Annette has been running her business for the past 15 years.
"I couldn't find someone in Taranaki to make my wedding cake so I went to Auckland, Anita Sutton from Auckland Cake Arts made my wedding cake. We are still friends to this day."
Annette's mother and grandmother taught her how to bake. As for the decorating side, Annette says she is self taught.
She says she enjoys being able to use creativity in her business.
"I went to WITT and gained a Diploma in Accounting Management and Business. I enjoy being able to use my business skills and creativity. I've always been a creative person."
She says Covid-19 has thrown "a spanner in the works".
"When Covid first hit in March, there were a lot of cancellations which was quite stressful. However, since we moved from level 4 to level 3 I have been quite busy. A lot of people are buying cakes for smaller events. It's great that people are supporting local businesses."
She says she has worked on the odd wedding cake, but is not as busy as the previous wedding season.
"The cakes have been smaller, feeding on 30-40 people rather than over 100. People are enquiring about 2022 rather than next year."
A current trend for cakes is semi-naked rustic cakes.
"People are shying away from fondant and are now getting a very thin layer of icing."
She says she likes bringing her customers' requests to life.
"It's great when a customer comes in with ideas and I make it come to life for them. I like having a little bit of free reign when I'm designing the cakes.
"I enjoy seeing my customers' faces when they pick up the cake. It's also nice seeing how it turns out."
Annette says she enjoys making 3D structural cakes.
"There's a lot of work involved. I recently made a Zebra cake for a birthday party which I really enjoyed."
She says making wedding cakes is special.
"It's nice being involved in someone's big day."
Annette says she is thankful for all of her customers.
"Without their support I wouldn't have a business."