Reality TV shows, such as Cake Boss or our local Charlys Cake Angels, have changed the way we see, think and feel about wedding cakes. Especially the way they look and taste. These shows have led to an explosion of different and unique options, sizes, shapes, flavours, colours and decorating techniques – nothing is impossible or too much. As there is just so much choice out there, I have decided to try and give you a few tips to consider when choosing your bakery and wedding cake.
The first step, before even meeting with your decorator is to think about what colours you want your wedding to be. For some brides this is easy as they have been planning this day since they were 5, while for others it is a little harder. The best thing to do is to start gathering ideas and inspiration of the things you love. This can be done online (Pinterest is a fantastic tool) or by looking through magazines. If you have a Pinterest board, this will make it a lot easier for your decorator to get a feel of what you like and want for your wedding day.
Booking your cake decorator:
To avoid disappointment, it is best to book your wedding cake decorate/bakery early. Like most things wedding, all the good decorators get booked months in advance and are therefore quickly fully booked. And specialist bakers will limit the number of cakes they make a week.
When you make an appointment to meet with your prospective cake decorators, be sure to bring along your Pinterest board, magazine pictures or any photos that can be used as a guideline. Also bring along a copy of your invite, table centre pieces and/or flowers. Think about the theme and colours you want on your cake: traditional white with splashes of colour or maybe something more fun and unusual.
A great thing to bring along is fabric swatches, as they can give the decorator a good idea of the colours, theme and general look and feel of your reception. Keep in mind that, your cake should match the theme of your wedding and can or should be the centre piece of your reception.
The size of your Wedding Cake:
The size of your cake is traditionally determined by the number of people that will be attending your wedding and when you are planning on serving it. You do not want to be left with three quarters of your cake after your wedding. Therefore, it is important to discuss this with your decorator.
In terms of when to cut your cake, it’s a new trend to cut it straight after the ceremony, as this gives your guests something to nibble on while you are having your photos. Another trend is to use your cake as part of your dessert table.
Hence, be sure to discuss the number of people and when you are planning to serve your cake with your decorator, so they can advise on the size of cake required for your wedding.
Type of Wedding Cake:
Tiered cake, cupcakes, mini cakes, cake pops or push pops? A tiered cake always has a wow factor and really forms a centre piece at your reception. However, cupcakes, mini cakes or cake pops are just as pretty and much easier to serve. Something to keep in mind is that people can easily take home their cupcake, meaning you are not left with additional cakes. However, with a slice of cake, unless you provide boxes, they are not easy to take home.
Wedding Cake Flavours:
Wedding cakes are no longer just plain fruit cakes; they now can come in whatever flavour you desire, whether it is vanilla sponge or red velvet. The options and choices are limitless. Therefore, it is best to decide between yourself and your fiancé what flavours you like and which you don’t like. This will make your choice a little easier. However, if you can’t choose, select a few flavours and ask your decorator if you can do a cake tasting. Often a cake tasting is an additional cost but it is worth it, as you want a delicious moist cake that you and your guests will enjoy on the day.
Overall look of your Wedding Cake:
Buttercream icing is delicious, but doesn’t give a beautiful smooth finish to a cake like fondant does. Also, fondant allows your cake decorator to be creative with your decorations and make beautiful trimmings for and on your cake, such as sugar flowers, piping and painting. Another trendy icing option is chocolate ganache, which is very rich and gives an almost smooth finish to your cake. If you like the look of fondant but not the taste, speak to your decorator about the possibility of icing your cake with buttercream or chocolate ganache and then covering it with fondant. This will mean that it looks great and tastes great too. Just remember elaborate decorations, sugar flowers, trimmings, etc will add to the cost of your cake.
An easy way to make your cake look fun and unique is to include cake toppers. A relatively inexpensive option is to purchase cute porcelain or plastic bride and groom toppers. Alternatively, you can order monogram letters. Otherwise, speak to your decorator about making sugar flowers or gum paste figurines to top your cake. These are edible but can also be kept for years.
Paying for a Wedding Cake:
Cake prices are usually based on the size of the cake, i.e. number of servings and the intricate, time consuming little details that need to be added to the cake. Be prepared to pay a deposit to secure your booking, as you are unlikely to find a decorator that will even start your cake without a deposit. The balance is usually payable 2 – 3 weeks before your wedding date.
It is important to find out if your cake decorator will deliver and set up your cake on the day. As well as, what the additional cost would be or if it is included in the cake cost. Finally, keep in mind that you will need a cake stand for the day of the wedding. A lot of cake decorators hire them out. You would need to find out if that is possible and what the cost would be. There are many hidden or forgotten costs when choosing a wedding cake, so be sure to ask all these questions and more upfront.
Last thing to remember is "let them eat cake" and enjoy your wedding day!
A big THANK YOU needs to go to L’il Delights (www.lil-delights.com) for helping me gather and put all this info together, and for the increase in dress size as I am often used as the taste tester of all sorts of deliciousness!
Quirky and often described as rather eccentric, I am a lover of all things beautiful. Capturing special moments and making my clients look and feel beautiful is what makes me happy!