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As the centerpiece of most wedding receptions, the wedding cake bears a heavy burden. It must be perfect to suit the bride and groom’s tastes yet still fit in seamlessly with the rest of the wedding party and decorations. People have high expectations for wedding cakes, but there is no need to stress about this. Below are several tips that will tell you how to pick the perfect wedding cake. Follow these six, simple steps to ensure an easy cake planning process.
Tip 1 – Know the Language
It might seem like a foreign world to you, but knowing a little bit of cake lingo will make your planning conversations go more smoothly.
• Stacked cake: layers are placed directly on top of one another.
• Tiered cake: layers are separated by pillars and do not touch.
• By the slice: wedding cakes are priced according to the number of people they feed.
• Fondant: a rolled icing that gives cakes an impossibly smooth appearance.
• Ganache: a melted and poured chocolate cake coating.
• Groom’s Cake: a separate cake that represents the groom’s interests; typically chocolate.
• Tasting: a consultation appointment with the baker where you can sample their cakes, frostings, and fillings.
• Deposit: money you leave with the baker to secure your spot on their calendar.
Tip 2 – Consult the Groom
It is a myth that grooms are disinterested in wedding planning. Modern grooms are often much more interested than their fathers were, and even more so when it comes to picking the wedding cake. The entire wedding ought to be a reflection of the couple and it is only right that the bride considers the groom’s opinion.
Even when the bride has a specific vision for the appearance of her wedding cake, there is quite a bit of room for the groom to express himself in this process. Providing his input on cake flavors, fillings, and frostings will give him ownership of the wedding planning process. It may end up that he decides to have a groom’s cake all his own so the bride can complete her vision of a perfect wedding day. Groom’s cakes are a Southern tradition, but the trend is growing nationwide.
Tip 3 – Choose a Bakery
This is one step that may seem the most stressful when deciding how to pick the perfect wedding cake. There are many great places where you can order wedding cakes. Here are the three main things to consider before deciding which bakery will make your wedding cake.
• Budget: Does this bakery make cakes that match your budget? A good rule of thumb is that your cake should represent roughly two to four percent of your total wedding budget. Therefore, a wedding with a $10,000 budget should expect to spend $200 to $400 on the cake.
• Availability: Is the bakery able to produce the cake you want when you need it? Have you started the process soon enough to choose the local boutique bakery that is booked a year in advance? Do you need something in less than two weeks? Can they do it?
• Skill level: Does your dream cake have many complicated features like sugar flowers and delicate lacework? Can the bakery’s decorators do it? Ask to see pictures of their previous work to be sure. Grocery store bakeries, like Winn-Dixie, may have more limited abilities because their bakers need to be good at so many different bakery tasks. Other bakeries, like Sylvia Weinstock Cakes, are able to produce over-the-top, extravagant wedding cakes. Couture cakes also have great decorators.
Tip 4 – Schedule a Tasting
Wedding cakes should be more than just pretty to look at when they are on their table, waiting to be cut. They need to taste good, especially when it may be costing as much as $15 per serving.
Nearly all boutique and locally owned bakeries want to schedule a tasting and consultation with you. During this meeting, not only will you get to taste several different flavor combinations, but they will also create reasonable expectations for cake design on the budget you have given them. If you are using a grocery store bakery, tasting trays may be available for purchase if you inquire at the counter.
Tip 5 – Settle on Design and Flavors
It is easy to be swept up with a million different wedding cake ideas during a single, late night Pinterest session. However, multiple changes to a cake’s design and flavors may cause delays and price increases that were not in the budget. Before you finalize the cake’s details, make sure the reception hall decorations and dress have been settled on; this will make it easier to commit to the cake.
The baker wants to make you happy but they may not always be able to make changes once a contract is final. Choose your cake flavor, fillings, and frostings and move on. Do not second guess yourself.
Tip 6 – Confirm the Details
Finally, make sure you sign a contract for your wedding cake that includes all of the details. Here are the most important to consider.
• Delivery: Is the venue address correct? Does the delivery time allow enough margin for set-up and any final touches the cake will need?
• Fees: Was the tasting for the fee credited to your account? Is delivery included? Do you need to return any of the structural elements of the cake? Are there any expenses unaccounted for?
• Sketch: Does the contract include a sketch detailed enough to satisfy both you and the cake decorator? Is there room for creative license?
• Spellings: If your cake will have words on it, particularly if it is a groom’s cake, are they spelled correctly? Do not let tragedy strike because the bride’s new last name is missing that silent E on the end.
Your cake is going to be wonderful because now you know how to pick the perfect wedding cake. Take a deep breath before committing to anything, and then press forward with confidence. Bring along your trusted advisers and then come back to share your beautiful wedding cake stores.