The wedding cake is one of the biggest events at the reception. There are endless styles to choose from and it can be a fun journey finding a cake that matches your personality. Today you can find cakes of all shapes and sizes. A more traditional bride might enjoy a 3 tier round cake withfloral accents, and for the daring brides, they might want a misshaped cake filled with polka dots and bold colors. You will have many guestsadmire your cake, so have fun designing a cake that reflects you.
Finding a Baker
When looking for a baker you will be presented with numerous flavors, filling and types of cakes. Finding a good baker will be an important part of your planning, it is good to start looking for a baker three to six months before the wedding. Fill free to call around to see if you can schedule appointments to talk with different bakers. If given some notice, many bakers will prepare some samples and have pictures ready for you to view.
Questions for your baker:
- -Do you have references?
- -How long have you been in business?
- -What are your specialties?
- -What different flavors, filling and frostings are available?
- -Do you have samples?
- -How far in advance do I need to order the cake?
- -What is the cost of the different cakes?
- -Are there fees for delivery and set up?
- -Will I need to rent any pillars, plates, or any other special equipment?
- -What is your payment policy?
- -What is your cancellation policy?
The cost of wedding cakes typically varies from $2 to $15 per slice, depending on your location and wants. Wedding cakes can become expensive quickly, so if you are looking for ways to save money, fill free to offer other deserts along with the cake. You can also choose to have a “dummy” cake, which are cardboard circles or other shapes that are frosted to look like a real cake. Depending on what you are looking for, it can be a lot cheaper to have a dummy cake made and serve regular sheet cakes to your guests. Another reason behind cardboard cakes is that some people would like to have an extravagant cake when they do not have a large guest list, so they use a dummy cake and have a smaller cake to serve their guests. When pricing out the cake make sure you ask the baker if any cake cutting service will be provided (if your caterer is not providing the service) and if there is any additional transportation or setting up fees.
Saving the Top Layer
If you are interested in saving the top layer of your cake for your first anniversary make sure you mention it, the baker typically will make that layer with different cake batter that keeps better in the freezer. When saving your cake first let the cake set in the freezer for 30 minutes, to harden the frosting, then start wrapping your cake in several layers of plastic wrap, then follow with aluminum foil.
Choosing a Wedding Cake Design
There are many variations of sizes, shapes, flavors, designs and decorations for your cake. Your cake can be round, square, oval, heart or octagon. Sizes can range from 6” to 18”. To figure out how much cake is needed you will need to determine on how thick the cake will be and the shape of the cake. To give you an idea, a typical 6” cake will serve around 8 people (for a round cake) to 18 people (for a square cake). A typical 10” cake will serve 32 to 35 people and a 16”cake will serve from 72 to 120 people.
A stacked wedding cake is a very popular choice. They are simply cakes stacked upon one another. They are supported internally so you never see any support systems until the cake is cut.
Pillar cakes are stacked upon each other using visible columns to connect each layer. Pillars come in many sizes depending on the size of the cake and how much you would like them to stand out. They usually run from 3 to 14 inches high. Pillars are typically white and come in different styles to help fit a variety of cakes. Pillars are often used in cakes that use water fountains; they are used to lift the cake directly above the fountain
Lucite cakes are another form of pillar cakes. They are a unique style that gives the gives the impression of floating layers of cakes at varying heights. The cakes can be either connected by a clear support system or are not connected at all, but they all have clear bases that vary in heights to keep the floating effect. This design works well when using fresh flowers or other decoration to help cover up the stand.
Monogram cakes are becoming increasingly more popular. They are typically a very simple but elegant cake, with a brushed aluminum or shinny plastic letter of your last name as the topper.
The Cake Topper
There are endless ideas for cake toppers, from the tradition bride and groom to fresh flowers. Find something that reflects your personality as a couple. You can use bells, flowers, love birds, a figure of a bride and groom, porcelain figurines (such as precious moments), a monogram, crystal collectibles, etc. The cake topper can be an enjoyable keepsake to cherish, so take your time in finding a perfect compliment to your cake.
Frosting and Decorations
Cakes can be decorated in many different ways using different types of frosting and decorations. Not only keep the cake in mind, but also the cake table. Using decorations to surround the cake brings everything together and provides a more appealing look. Dropping rose petals all around the cake is a great touch or adding candles for a more romantic atmosphere.
Many people to choose to decorate and surround their cake with fresh flowers, if you take this route make sure you are using flowers that haven’t been chemically sprayed. Using chocolate covered strawberries, raspberries, or other fresh fruit is another popular way to enhance your cake, and give it a little color. Other decorations that can be used are: ribbons, fountains, fake pearls or stones, lace,picturesand of course the topper.
There are various types and flavors of frosting to consider, finding the right frosting will depend on the taste, style, and location of the reception. If your reception will be held in a hot and humid area, there are some frosting that you might need to avoid.
Buttercream is one of the two most popular frosting used; it is made with butter, sugar, egg yolks and light cream or milk. This smooth frosting is
used to ice and decorate the cake and can also be used for fillings. A buttercream frosting can have a variety of tastes. If your cake will be sitting outside or in a warmer temperature you might want to go with a Fondant frosting to eliminate any chance of the frosting melting.
Fondant is the othermost commonly used frosting, which is made of sugar, water and cream of tarter. After this frosting is cooked and cooled down, it is then kneaded and rolled out. After the frosting is rolled out it is put over the cake and smoothed out with a special tool. This frosting is a little sweeter than buttercream and a lot thicker. It creates a matte finish coating on the cake. This frosting provides a very fun finish but is harder to cut. These cakes usually cost a little more than buttercream cakes and hold up better in various weather conditions.
Whipped frosting is a very light frosting. Even though this can be a popular choice you need to be careful when using it, because it does not stand up to heat very well.
Gum Paste is a thick frosting that works great to use when making flowers and other decorations on the cake.
Marzipan frosting creates a matte finish coating that is made with almond paste.
Fillings Cake Flavors
- -Vanilla -Yellow
- -Chocolate -Carrot cake
- -White Chocolate -Spice
- -Raspberry -Chocolate
- -Strawberry -Hazelnut
- -Lemon -White silk
- -Coconut-Yellow spice
- -Coffee -Marble
- -Praline -Almond
- -Mango -Almond poppy seed
- -Amaretto-Lemon poppy seed
- -Almond -Red Velvet
- -Cream Cheese
- -Chocolate covered strawberries
- -Other fresh fruit
- -Nuts (use caution when using nuts, due to allergic reactions)
- -Lemon Curd