Always Asks: Le Papillon Patisserie

Cake… mmmm, who doesn’t love a bit of yummy cake? At the Luxury Wedding show last year I got to taste the delicious cakes of Surrey based company Le Papillion Patisserie and wanted to know more so I caught up with owner and cake maker extraordinaire Neil Thornton to ask him about those cakes….

What’s your background?

I was very keen on baking from an early age.  Looking back I was probably destined to be a cake maker!  My journey started at catering college where I specialised in Patisserie and sugar craft.  My career then developed in London in five star hotels and restaurants whilst making wedding cakes on the side.  Eventually I was able to realise my dream of opening a patisserie with a wedding cake business attached

Why did you decide to set up Le Papillon Patisserie?

Well it was my dream.  I love making cakes and knew that so many famous patisseries are now chains where the focus on quality has really suffered.  I also wanted a platform to build the wedding side of the business and it gave me the opportunity to do that.

How would you describe your style/vision?

Um probably scrumptious!  I just do not understand wedding cakes that taste of nothing but look pretty!  Why make a cake that is average?  For me cake should always be 100% tasty as well as looking gorgeous.  My style is based on that, it must look edible.

Where do you find your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the bride in question.  We try not to offer you a book to choose from but encourage brides to get creative with us.  Of course we do duplicate cakes when a couple likes a cake we already made.  I also take lots of inspiration from classic patisserie, you will see hints of it in lots of our cakes.

What’s your design/creation process working with couples?

Well all our couples are invited to the shop to taste the cakes first, this is a must for us, once they go through flavours we start with the portfolio to get ideas from previous cakes, we also look to the couples wedding for inspiration.  If there is a theme running through the wedding we will try to incorporate it in the cake.  The design is sometimes finished in front of them that day or sometimes we work on it for a week or two.  Even now we are having last minute changes where a bride changed her colours last minute!

What has been your favourite wedding to work on?

I seem to like all our couples.  We have such a personal service that we make so many friends.  There is one wedding that sticks out where we created a cake for an artist where we used her art with our classic chocolate wrapped gateaux.  It was one of those jobs that until it’s finished you have no idea how it will turn out.  As it happens it was my favourite cake of the year.

What have you found the most challenging job?

The artist cake definitely, getting the balance of colours right was a very difficult task

What do you think couples should be looking for when buying their wedding cake?

You need to first of all decide what style you like.  If you want a tiered cake then there’s no point looking at our French gateaux tower.  Once you have the style then you can work on varieties of that style and flavours etc

What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?

RELAX!  I find it so amazing when someone is so uptight about the whole thing that they look like they aren’t enjoying themselves.  This is meant to be a romantic wonderful day, if you plan ahead relax and take professional advice planning can be very easy.  Also make sure you know what kind of wedding you want, stick to your idea.

What do you wish couples knew already when working with you?

Well I could probably write a list!  One of the things that amazes me is that people don’t realise you can have multiple flavours for your wedding cake.  I guess because traditionally you just had fruit cake that when you mention three flavours for a three tier cake they seem amazed!

What’s your one obsession at the moment-something you just can’t live without?

My new puppy Winston!  He is therapy after a hard long day baking

All images courtesy of Le Papillion Patisserie

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