Guide to choosing the perfect wedding cake
There are now so many different styles of wedding cake, it has become anything but simple to decide what to order. We have asked Charlotte from Carey’s Cakes to put together a short guide to help steer you down the path to the perfect wedding cake.
How to find your cake maker
Recommendations are normally the best route, failing that, Google and Facebook are great resources for finding local bakers. Make sure you look at their reviews, and study pictures of their previous work to ensure you are happy with what they can produce. There are also many wedding fairs like those run by Empirical Events in the south of England, they are free to attend and you will meet at least one cake maker at each event, check their website for an event near you.
Your local high street bakery may also offer wedding cakes.
Taste the cake
As you start setting up appointments, find out when each baker next has a tasting scheduled. At tastings, clients are invited to sample cake flavours, ask questions, and talk about their cake design. This is an excellent opportunity to meet bakers and fully understand the range of their abilities and style.
Consultations and tastings are usually free but can sometimes incur a small charge which is usually taken off the total of your wedding cake if you book, some bakers also offer postal samples which is great if your venue is not close to where you live.
Choose your cake after all decisions about dress style and reception decor have been made. These elements can serve as a blueprint for the design of your wedding cake. Choose a cake that complements, the style of the venue, the season, your gown, the flower arrangements, or the menu. If you want colourful accents (such as sugar flowers or icing ribbons), then bring colour swatches to your consultation for colour matching . Try to give the cake maker as much advance warning of the wedding date as possible, many makers get very busy, so start talking to your chosen baker as soon as you can.
The most popular wedding cake size is a 3 tier staked style cake in sizes 10,8,6 This size would feed around 80 wedding size portions. If you are serving your cake as desert it would only feed 40 portions so this need to be considered when planning the size of your cake.
Price it up
Wedding cake prices can very wildly, I’m a firm believer in you get what your pay for, but there is also no reason to pay over the top.
For the most part wedding cakes start at £100 per tier and then extra for elaborate decorations, sugar flowers, stand hire and delivery and set up.
You should try and allow a generous budget for your cake where possible, the cake is a memorable part of your day and will be photographed a lot.
If you are on a tight budget, then there are lots of options to decrease the price, such as a smaller cake for display, and then serving cakes out in the kitchen to make up the servings, this can bring the cost down greatly Having dummy cakes as well as real cake in your design can also lower the cost but depending on your decoration it doesn’t always bring the cost down by much.
Dummy cakes are a great option if you want a big showstopper cake but do not actually need that much cake for serving and no-one will even know some of the tiers are fake.
Other ways to save money
Avoid a cake with intricate hand made decorations
Naked cakes generally cost a lot less and are a good option when on a budget, they are very in fashion at the moment but the downside is they can dry out quickly if left out.
Having your cake as desert could save you money and avoid paying for a 3 course menu at your venue, but you will need a bigger cake so you will have to do the maths and work out the best value.
Ganache, buttercream or fondant? That’s the main question. Buttercream is often much more delicious. But if you love the smooth, almost surreal-like look of fondant as much as we do, consider frosting the cake in ganache first and then adding a layer of fondant over the entire cake ganache not only tastes great, it help to get the best possible finish on the fondant. Also remember that tempered chocolate looks amazing but a summer wedding held in a marquee will heat up and risk melting your beautiful cake.
Fearless with flavour
Some bakers charge extra for so-called premium flavours and fillings, others (like me) do not, so be sure to establish any cost upgrades at your tasting so you don’t get hit with a surprise . I encourage clients to push the flavour envelope. Why go with vanilla, chocolate or red velvet when you can have cherry bakewell, coconut and lime and even salted caramel to consider? Your cake should be both beautiful and delicious: Don’t choose flavours you think everyone will like, choose the flavours you like.
Remember, it’s your wedding and go with what you want.
Thank you to Charlotte Carey of Carey’s Cakes for the contents of this feature.