Editor’s Note: Washingtonian Online moderators and hosts retain editorial control over chats and choose the most relevant questions; hosts can decline to answer questions.
Lara Stuckey’s passion for baking started at the tender age of five with an Easy-Bake Oven. She grew up and earned degrees in psychology and fine arts—but fed her love of baking by working part-time at CakeLove.
Nine years ago, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, Stuckey decided to combine her passions for art and baking into a business. She opened Fluffy Thoughts Cakes in her licensed kitchen in McLean. So where does the psychology fit in? “Baking is therapeutic,” Stuckey says. “Seeing customers’ faces once they see their cake is very rewarding. It’s worth every single second that I invest in the cake.”
Lucky (and hungry) brides can choose from a wide variety of flavors. Some favorites include Elvis’s Dream (banana cake with alternating layers of peanut butter and chocolate buttercream), Oh Oh Good (chocolate or red-velvet cake with Oreos and cream covered in buttercream frosting), and Pucker Up (yellow cake with lemon curd and coconut buttercream covered in buttercream frosting).
Stuckey is coming to The Washingtonian on Thursday. And while we wish it were for a cake tasting, it’s for something even better—a live chat. Submit your cake questions below, and Stuckey will answer them from 11 to noon on Thursday.
Elvis's Dream Sounds incredible! I have a few questions as I embark on finding the perfect wedding cake... I love the look of fondant, but not the texture or taste. Are there any alternatives that give this clean look?
At our bakery we make an Italian meringue buttercream or a ganache frosting on the outside, and I feel that they look just as good as fondant because we get it on there really smooth where you can't even tell. The only difference is the fondant looks more matted whereas the buttercream can be a little shinier.
Is it a considered a faux pas to take one cake designer/baker a picture of a cake from another baker?
I love it when a bride brings pictures to the tasting, because then I can go over the pictures with her and ask her what she likes and dislikes in each picture and together we come up with a completely unique design to complement her wedding day!
How do you recommend couples find a cake baker (outside of recommendations)? Do couples typically attend multiple 'tastings'?
Couples usually find bakers through word of mouth or on wedding websites where local vendors are listed. Wedding Wire is a great site because you get to read the reviews of past brides. Typically a bride will go to a couple of different vendors to try the different cakes and see the different portfolios. It's ok to shop around because it's your wedding day and you only want the best!
Groom's cakes - In fashion? Are these just for looks, or should you factor in how many guests those cakes will feed when ordering your actual wedding cake?
At the bakery we have made a lot of grooms cakes, usually the theme of the cake is something that the groom loves. We have done redskins helmets, stadiums, books, jerseys, we even made somebody's dog once!! Usually people serve the groom's cake at the rehearsal dinner, because at the wedding everyone is so focused on the big day that the groom cake is overshadowed. However we have done many groom's cakes on the big day. People usually count it in as cake to serve the guests. Instead of getting a sheet cake you can reduce the number of wedding cake and have a groom's cake!
We are having a dessert course with our dinner during the reception, and will be serving our cake later in the night. Should we order the cake presuming all of our guests will stay for that (or even all want cake), or should we order the cake factoring in that some people might not eat cake?
If you are having the cake slices served at the tables then you should get enough for each guest. Something that is really popular nowadays is a cake buffet table. Many of my brides in the past have picked 2 or 3 cake flavors. The caterer will cut the cake and put the different flavors on the cake table with a little sign in front describing each cake's flavor. This method also helps if you are having a cake with nuts, so that those with nut allergies can steer clear!
I've always heard the myth that the prettier a cake looks, the worse it tastes. How do you combat such a belief?
At Fluffy Thoughts our motto is that the cake tastes as good as it looks. We use the freshest ingredients and make everything from scratch, from our cakes even down to our homemade fruit curds and caramel! That's why it is always important to set up a tasting so that you know what you are getting!
I want a wedding cake flavor that will appeal to the masses, but don't want to go with just standard vanilla or chocolate. Have any suggestions for how I can jazz my cake choice up so that it will be appreciated by most?
At Fluffy Thoughts you can pick up to four cake flavors. But usually people end up choosing 2, one that is a more chocolatey flavor and one that is a bit lighter and fruitier, that way a guest can have a choice! This also helps if you want nuts in the cake, see my answer above about the cake buffet table!!
How common is a groom cake, and when are you supposed to serve it? At the actual reception, or beforehand?
You can read my answer above about the groom's cake, people normally have it either at the rehearsal dinner or during the wedding day! You can reduce the amount of wedding cake and add the groom's cake to serve the guests!
When is the cake cutting normally done? And is it still thought of as the cue that guests can begin leaving?
Normally people cut the cake while people are having dinner or once the dinner is done and the dancing begins.
Hi Laura! can you tell us, what was the most outrageous wedding cake request that you have ever been asked to make since you've been in business?
We are making a wedding cake this year for a Halloween wedding which is a stack of pumpkins. We are going to carve the bride and groom's portrait and their initials into the pumpkins!
Lara, I love chocolate cake and my fiance loves vanilla flavored cake and we can't decide which we would prefer for our wedding cake. Any suggestions as to how we can both be pleased with the flavor we each prefer?
Many bakers will let you have 2 different flavors in a wedding cake. Something that we did once for a bride who loved vanilla and a groom who loved chocolate was have alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla inside the cake with ganache and vanilla buttercream between the layers, it was really cool looking when the cake was cut!
Besides wedding cake, do you make cupcakes for weddings as well? We are thinking about doing something different from the standard wedding cake. Any ideas?
We have done many cupcake weddings! The couple usually has a small cake at the top of the stand to cut for the pictures and the cupcakes are placed on the stand below. You can have a small flower on each cupcake or a little monogram, anything that fits into your wedding day! We are making a cupcake tower during the cherry blossom season where the small cake on top has a chocolate branch with sugar cherry blossom and each cupcake below is topped with a sugar cherry blossom! The great thing about cupcakes is you can have many different flavors for the guests to choose from and you can encourage your guests to come up and pick the flavor they prefer!
Hello, do you by any chance make wedding cakes for vegans? I can't seems to find any bakers in the area that do
Currently we do not make vegan cakes, however Sticky Fingers Bakery in DC does. Check them out, they are great!
How do bakers price their wedding cakes?
At Fluffy Thoughts we price the cake per person. We charge extra for sugar flowers, painting or sculpting that needs to be done. Each person has their own way of pricing which you can call to inquire about or set up a tasting. Many bakers will have their pricing information listed on their website!
Hi Lara, Are there any alternatives to fondant? I want the cake to look beautiful, but don't particularly care for fondant.
Hi! Thanks so much for your question, please read our answer above about fondant. At Fluffy Thoughts we make a lot of buttercream and ganache covered wedding cakes, because our icing is so smooth on the cake, people rarely go with fondant. I usually suggest fondant if it is the middle of June and the cake absolutely must be outdoors. Also fondant is necessary if there is painting on the cake, or if the cake is sculpted.
We're having a kosher-style reception (i.e., no pork, shellfish, dairy, because we're offering meat entrees). I don't keep kosher, except in our house, but FI does keep kosher and so does his immediate family. I'm thinking of having the traditional buttercream wedding cake (his family is OK with this), but I was considering doing a non-dairy grooms' cake (e.g. sponge cake) with some non-dairy type frosting (?). What are my options for this cake, given we can't really have dairy products for some guests?
Hi Thanks so much for your question! There are vegan bakeries that offer dairy and gluten free wedding cakes and grooms cakes! You can try Sticky Fingers Bakery in DC!
I would really like our wedding cake to mimic the design of my all lace wedding gown. Do you think this can be done (without using fondant)? Thank you!
Yes this can definitely be done. We have a mold that we can use to make your exact lace on your gown! All you would have to do is give us a swatch and we can make an exact replica of your lace. The cake can be buttercream, but the lace piece that is adhered to the cake would have to be fondant, it is such a small amount that the buttercream taste will not be affected!
Wedding Etiquette in Beantown, The Bay State
Hello: I have a question about wedding invitation etiquette. I am the MOH, hosting the Bridal Shower along with the MOB and Bridesmaids at a restaurant. I'm directly related and very close to the Bride. She is aware only of the date of the the Bridal Shower, and none of the details of the event, and had some input as to the guests. In a recent conversation, the bride told me that during the Bridal Shower, which I am hosting with the MOB and Bridesmaids, the Mother-in-Law-to-be intends to give "wedding invitations" to the guests. (The wedding, as far as I know was initially being paid for by the bride's parents, though with the wording of the invite which I have seen, dictates me to believe it is now being paid for by both sets of parents). The M-I-L has not even asked me, the MOH, this, and quite truly, I also find it to be improper etiquette to do that at the Bridal Shower itself. Everyone invited to the Shower received a personal invitation by postal mail to the Shower, so there is no "issue" with people receiving their wedding invitation via post. While I understand there is a hand-delivery method for wedding invitation etiquette, IMO, the Bridal Shower which is being hosted by the MOH/MOB/Bridsesmaids, is not the proper venue to pass out wedding invitations. My question: Do I have reason for concern and/or is my opinion that the MIL, wanting/planning on her own, to give wedding invitations at the Bridal Shower justified as improper etiquette? Your opinion would be very helpful.
Hi Thanks so much for your question! Someone that might be able to answer this question best would be a wedding planner or an invitation specialist. I recommend Saima from Saima Says Designs, she might be helpful in answering this question! And actually, she did a Bridal Party chat here recently - you can read the transcript here.
Thanks so much for all your questions today! If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Lara8@aol.com or check out our website at FluffyThoughts.com.