Choosing Your Cake|
Retail Bakeries; Wedding Cakes; Grocery and Markets
A number of details and decisions go into choosing a cake and making a few determinations before consulting a decorator will keep the stress levels downs and the budget in line.
True to Theme
Like the majority of decisions, the cake should be no different in staying with the color scheme, formality and theme of the wedding. At this point, the color palette should set, so ensuring the cake follows suit should be an easier task. Consider the reception location to determine the look and size of the cake. If the venue is smaller, consider keeping the cake size small. If the venue is larger with high ceilings, opt for adding columns or separators to add additional height and make the cake more dominant.
Selecting a Look
Go back to bridal magazines and websites for inspiration. Get ideas as to what elements you want to incorporate and take them to the cake decorator. Keep in mind that many of these cakes were created by professional designers and food photographers. Some elegant or creative elements were created without using edible ingredients or by using Photoshop to get the perfect image. Cake photos provide great ideas, but don’t expect your decorator to be able to recreate everything perfectly. Work with them to determine what is possible.
Determine the Budget
Before you talk to a decorator, determine the budget for the cake. The guest list has a major impact on the size of cake you will need. The cost of a wedding cake is based on a cost per slice, and can range anywhere from $1.50 to $20, depending on the final decoration. Based on the number of guests to serve, determine the number of tiers needed and overall size. As a standard, 50 to 100 guests are served with a three tier cake. From here factor the per slice cost you can afford, and work with your decorator to embellish the cake based on budget.
Adorning the Cake
Wedding cakes have come a long way and with the skill of great decorators, the possibilities are endless in creating an extravagant design. The more elaborate the design, the higher the price tag. The cost significantly increases with each adorning element added. You may want handmade sugar flowers or marzipan fruits but adding too many to the cake will significantly increase the budget.
Consider using real flowers or fruits to decorate the cake. This makes a cake look elegant and can tie into the look of the wedding by incorporating flowers you are already using. Depending on the number of flowers needed, it can also keep the costs down. Coordinate this with both the decorator and the florist and outline who will be responsible for what. Many times the decorator handles the cake and the florist decorates with the flowers. Factor this into the florist's duties, especially if they are decorating the majority of the reception, to ensure adequate for both jobs.
Selecting the Top
Finding the right top to finalize the cake is a personal preference. There are a number of options to choose from: porcelain figurines, plastic bride and grooms, or fresh flowers. Many brides are choosing to be sentimental and incorporating a family heirloom into the top. Whether using the cake top her mom or grandmother used, or a family broche, adding a family treasure brings an emotional and personal feel to the cake. Whatever top you choose, consider the weight the cake will hold. You don’t want the top to sink into the cake because it is too heavy. Share your choice as soon as possible with the decorator to ensure it will work.
If a creative cake top is not for you, opting-out of a top is fine. It is really up to you. Using the cake itself as a centerpiece without a top can be just as elegant, and just as beautiful.
As the cake is the centerpiece of the reception, make sure it is on adequate display for everyone to view. The cake table should be prominent at the reception and effort should go into decoration for the table. It does not have to be elaborate and can include a flower arrangement, fresh fruit, pictures, colorful tablecloths, etc. The motif and decoration of the table should blend and complement the look, while showcasing the cake.
While you want it to be seen, you also want it to stay in one piece. Don’t place the cake in too prominent of an area where it can be knocked over or have people continually running into the table. Make sure the table has stable legs and can carry the weight of the cake.
Talk with the caterer or cake decorator to determine if they provide serving tools, and if they are included in the price. Many times they are offered free or for a minimal fee, if you don’t want to provide your own. Don’t forget this requirement however, as you’ll need these when it comes time to cut the cake.