How to Select a Wedding Cake for Your Reception

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tiered-wedding-cakes

Finding Your Cake

Tiers of tiny colorful flowers, squares of smooth fondant, whimsical design and modern finishes are all fabulous choices for wedding cake. Navigating through the options can seem fun at first and later feel daunting. Whatever style of dessert you choose, some key considerations will help draw a more direct line from I maybe to I do love this cake.

What Your Baker Wants to Know

When contacting bakeries about your wedding cake, now that yours isn’t the only one they’ll be making. To make it easier on yourself and the bakery, come ready with these three pieces of information: The number of guests attending, the date of the reception and the location of the wedding. This will help expedite the process so you’ll have tiers, not tears, on your special day.

Work With Your Budget

Wedding cake costs quickly add up when you consider materials, time and labor. According to Bertran, one of the first things to bring up to your baker is your budget and guest count.

“Weddings get expensive, and everything ads up quickly,” she said. “The more guests you have, the more cake and servings you’ll need.” Look into your whole wedding budget to see what can be spent on the cake. If you would like keep a fat wallet without serving a skinny cake think about alternatives to the traditional four-tiered cake for 250 people. The average price for a wedding cake can range from $1.50 to $15.00 per slice, with cost depending on ingredients, materials, time and labor.

Go Taste Testing

A great way to gauge prospective bakers is to check if they have offer taste testing for wedding cakes. Some bakeries, like Cake Crumbs, prefer to hold off on booking your wedding until you’ve scheduled a tasting with them.

“It’s great if your cake looks pretty, but it also needs to taste good for the reception,” said Bertram. “It’s also important to be sure of your product before the day of the wedding.” When at a taste testing, mingle with the bakers between bites. Flip through portfolios and ask questions to get good a handle on their capabilities.

Develop a Design Concept

When developing a design concept for your cake, Bertram suggests starting by researching textures to see what goes with your wedding scheme. It’s popular to tie in the whole wedding theme into the cake by incorporating the wedding’s style and colors into the design. Hand over fabric swatches of the wedding colors or samples of flowers from your bouquet’s composition so see how your baker can tie them into your cake.

Watch the Weather

Let’s be honest—this is probably the most you’ll ever pay for a cake. After spending countless hours on designing, taste-testing and transporting the cake of your dreams, it’d be a shame for it to succumb to crumby weather on the big day.

If the wedding reception will be held outdoors, consider how natural elements may affect the style of cake you choose. Sunny weather can wilt flowers and melt frosting, and wind may topple spiraling tiers. In any case, Bertram recommends covering your cake in a tent, the shade or some other cooler area—especially if it’s a summer wedding. If you know beforehand that the wedding day’s going to be a scorcher, cupcakes might be a better option since the frosting is more contained.

Plan the Delivery Ahead of Time

Check with your baker to learn what options are available for cake delivery. Coordinate the assembly and refrigerator space at the venue before the big day to ensure they have the right equipment and space available. Keep in mind many cakes are delivered in pieces and are put together in the kitchen just before going out to the display table.

Consider Cake Alternatives

Whether it be the price, elements or if you’re plain just not a fan, a cake won’t make or break your wedding. Twinkie towers, cupcake trees, croquembouche, giant Rice Krispy stacks and pillared pies are all sweet spins on the traditional wedding dessert. Bertram says that if not cake, that any sort of “tasty bite” will satisfy your guests’ sweet teeth after the main course.

Tips to Slice the Cost

Communicate your budget clearly to the baker and caterer and look for options to avoid extra costs.

Watch for Added Fees

Venues may also charge an additional “cutting fee” which could inflate the price per slice by as much as $4.00. Read the terms of your catering or venue contract and negotiate fees ahead of time to avoid sticker shock in the final bill.

Creative Staging Ideas

A small round cake topped with two love birds nuzzling is fabulous. Serve with a variety of small desserts or use the hidden sheet cake idea to dish out more sweetness.

Reduce Labor Cost

Use real flowers instead of sugar flowers for decoration. Better yet, use real flowers that are in season. Seasonal fruit is another budget friendly (and edible) decoration choice.

Ask Bakers About Sheet Cake Options

It is a common budgeting solution for the cake on display to have a couple of tiers of fake cake, with one tier of actual cake for the bride and groom to cut. A large sheet cake made of the same ingredients can be kept in the kitchen and brought out to guests on plates.

Remember creativity is not bound by money. Begin with what flavor you like and work out the fun details with help from the baker, friends or together as a couple. Have fun and let selecting the cake be the icing on your wedding plans!

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About Author

Maggie Moulatsiotis

Maggie is the Director of Marketing at FoodServiceWarehouse.com, a pescetarian and a newly minted DIY and home cook extraordinaire. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and very cute puppy, Puka.

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