The Essential Guide to Wedding Cakes.
When planning your wedding there are a lot of decisions to make. Many of them are on subjects or industries that you may know nothing about. That’s why you read blog posts like this one, right?
While most of us are familiar with cake, we’re probably not that up on wedding cakes. Wedding cakes are the most complicated, most expensive cake you’re ever likely to buy, at a pivotal time in your life, your wedding day. That makes getting it right essential. That’s why we wrote this guide.
We’re going to cover the main points you’re going to need to explore when making a buying decision. We discuss the style, the type, the process and the essential things you need to know about your wedding cake. We hope it helps.
Wedding cakes come in all shapes and sizes. You can have tiers, flat, round, square, octagonal, fancy shapes, cupcake style, formal, fun, upside down and more. So the first decision you have to make it what style of wedding cake you’re looking for.
Fortunately, that’s a fairly easy decision to make as it should reflect the type of wedding you’re having. If you’re having a traditional formal wedding, it would be good to have a formal traditional wedding cake. If you’re going for a vintage wedding, or something leftfield then you have much more freedom.
Once upon a time, all wedding cakes were fruit cakes. They were thick sponge, with brandy and fruit, covered in marzipan and then coated with icing. It was then decorated to suit the style of the wedding. Not everybody likes fruit cake so it’s good that you can choose any kind of cake you like.
Sponge is still the main substance used in a wedding cake but the form and flavour is now completely down to you. You can have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and any flavour you like. You can even mix flavours in different tiers to cover every possible taste.
You can have cupcakes, Victoria sponge, Madeira, fruit, standard sponge, profiteroles and pretty much anything you fancy as long as it’s sweet and can be decorated.
Ordering Your Wedding Cake
As soon as you have an idea of what kind of wedding cake you’re looking for, begin canvassing bakeries and anyone you know who can make a suitable cake of this standard.
Ideally a bakery would need 6 months’ notice. That’s especially true if you’re going for a fruit cake. The sponge needs a good couple of months to “season,” or soak up the oils from the fruits and the brandy if it is required. If you live in a city or busy town, the more notice you can give your bakery, the better.
To order a wedding cake you need to arrange a consultation or go to a wedding fair where bakeries are showing to see what they can deliver. A consultation is just that. The bakery will produce a couple of sample sponges for you to try, either at the first consultation or at a taste test. It is essential that you try before you buy as not all bakeries are created equal.
When you go to your consultation, take your ideas with you. If you have a mood board, collage or ideas book, take that with you too. If you have anything prepared already such as bouquets, invites or a scheme, take that too. The more information you can provide, the more likely the baker will be able to deliver the cake of your dreams.
Size is everything when it comes to wedding cakes. You need it to be large enough to feed everyone but not so large that you will be eating it every day for the next month.
On average, an 8-inch round wedding cake will provide 28 small servings. A 16-inch round sponge will provide up to 110. An 8-inch square sponge can provide 32 servings, while a 16-inch square 130. Those servings will be typical wedding cake size, which will be four or five bites.
Your bakery will be able to help you figure out how large to have the cake and how many tiers you need.
If you’re having a small wedding but want the statement cake, you should ask your baker for a fake cake. This is an excellent way to get the wow factor without wasting money on cake nobody will eat. A fake cake will use fake bottom tiers that will be decorated in the same style as the higher ones, but won’t have sponge inside.
Fake cakes are ideal for intimate weddings with only a few guests who still want to make a statement with their cake. They are cheaper, result in less waste, yet look exactly like the real thing. In fact, it will be impossible to tell just by looking at it. They are more popular than you could imagine!
Wedding cakes are expensive because they take a lot of hours to make. Different bakeries will charge different prices, but plan on spending between £1 to £10 per serving. That will of course depend on how intricate you want the decoration, how big it is, what kind of sponge and the usual dependencies.
Expect to pay between 10% and 50% deposit for the cake once you agree. Ensure you know all there is to know before agreeing such as delivery time and charges, stand rental, cake toppers and anything else you may need.
Selecting a wedding cake is a drawn out process because it is such an important aspect of your day. Go into it knowing what you want and give the bakery plenty of time to deliver it and you should have no problems getting the cake you want at a price you can afford!