Today we tackle the beast known as wedding cakes. The wedding cake for some is a definite reception focal point. It’s not only a symbol of a couple’s prosperity and fertility (thanks to the Romans), but also is often seen as a key decor element of the reception. If you are planning on going traditional and having a wedding cake, here are some of my tips:
- Word of mouth can be key. If you don’t have a bakery that you use for your special occasions, talk to your friends and colleagues. Find out what their faves are and take a peek at what those bakeries have to offer in terms of taste and style.
- Let your fingers do the walking. You don’t have to visit and do a tasting at every bakery you’ve heard of or that has appeared at that big bridal show you went to last weekend. Get on Google and check out the bakery virtually. Most wedding cake shops have their flavors, portfolios, and their prices right there on their sites. This is a good way to weed out your list. Wedding cakes (depending on your area) run from $2 to upwards of $15 a slice. Finding out ahead of time eliminates price tag letdown.
- Get your list to less than 4 contenders. Trust me, running the wedding cake gauntlet can leave you tired, conflicted about your faves, and lead to one big sugar crash.
- Call before you drop in. Some bakeries have a drop in policy, but many don’t. Before you go to taste at any bakery, give them a call to find out what their policies are on tastings. Here in the Denver area, my favorite bakery, Das Meyer Pastry, has walk-in tastings every Saturday. Other bakeries are by appointment only. Be courteous and call ahead to find out what the bakeries tasting policies are.
- Show up to your tasting with a clear idea of what you are looking for in a wedding cake. Allergies? Best let the baker know and see what he or she offers as an alternative. Desire a fondant creation? Some long established bakeries don’t work with fondant and many newer ones don’t do buttercream. Rustic or classic? Round or square? How many people? Show up with pictures and notes to make the most of your consultation.
- Never, EVER pick up your own wedding cake. It’s a recipe for a BIG disaster. Pay the extra money and let the professionals handle it. That way if there is a cake emergency, they can take care of it for you rather than sending your Maid of Honor down to the market to get a bunch of random cakes from the store bakery.
- On a budget? Steer clear of sugar flowers. They are laborious to create and will add a great deal to the price of your cake. Some flowers can run from $25 – $50 each (specifically peonies). Instead opt for fresh flowers and have your baker work with your florist to create a design that’s all you.
- Finally, don’t freeze that top layer. Many bakeries now provide you with an anniversary cake on your first wedding anniversary. Take advantage of that and leave the stale freezer burnt cake tradition at the curb. Use that top layer to serve your guests.
Here are some of my faves from a variety of bakeries: