Bunbury mother turns love into career with wedding cheese cakes

Kate RyanThe West Australian
Email Kate Ryan
VideoGone are the days of fruit cake at weddings — the newest trend brides and grooms are choosing is full of dairy goodness.

Step aside fruit cake, a new wedding trend has landed — and it’s a cheese lover’s dream.

Imagine five tiers of different cheeses, stacked on top of one another and covered in fruit, honey or even flowers.

This, according to Bunbury Farmer’s Market food demonstrator Terri Sharp, is the hottest new trend in wedding cakes.

“I’ve been working here at the farmer’s market for the last nine years…it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve been involved in making wedding cheese cakes, and in the last three years it’s really taken off,” she said.

“I don’t know whether it’s fashion driven, or trend driven, but I think they’re responding to the fact they can present something that’s a little bit unique for their wedding day.

“A lot of people love cheese and it’s a really good way to know your guests are going to enjoy what you present.”

In the heart of the maze of the Bunbury Farmer’s market, sits Mrs Sharp’s cheese stall.

She’s affectionately known to her customers as ‘the cheese lady’ — because of her ability to help anyone with a catering emergency, and because of her unique knowledge of what cheese will suit each occasion.

She said it stemmed from her passion for everything cheese-related.

“Some people sit in bed and read a book, and I will often sit in bed and read about cheese,” she laughed.

Mrs Sharp started making the cheese cakes after having a lot of brides-to-be come to her with ideas for something different for their wedding centrepiece.

She said there was a method to decorating the cakes, as well as balancing the flavours of the cheeses.

“I find that most people want the basic three cheeses that anybody has,” she said.

“A soft, white cheese that could encompass a camembert or a brie, a blue cheese ... and a cheddar, because cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses in the world.

One of the most difficult parts of creating a cheese cake is getting the balance of the soft and hard cheeses right.

For a tiered look, the larger cheese wheels sit at the bottom — but they’re usually soft cheeses.

“Anybody who knows the d'Affinois range of cheeses will know exactly how lush they are. At room temperature, they get beautiful and soft, and creamy, which is why we love them. But it doesn’t hold well when you pop other, heavier cheeses on top,” she said.

“I recommend to my brides to sink some little pillars into the cheese, then that enables you to put heavier cheeses on top, and have that tower remain magnificent throughout the whole ceremony, and not collapse.”

Mrs Sharp gives lessons and pointers in cake decorating too, because the cheese cakes do not always travel well and need to be assembled at the event.

According to Easy Weddings 2016 Annual Australian Wedding Survey, the average wedding cake costs around $525.

Bakers usually charge from $4.50 to $6 per serving.

Cheese cakes cost from $200 to $500 depending on the quality of the cheeses, and number of tiers.

“I’ve had some lovely ladies come up for their special occasion birthdays, and choose cheeses for their 40th, 50th or 60th, and we’ve done a little cheese tower for that and it’s been really successful,” she said.

“So just don’t think it’s reserved for brides and grooms.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails