Now we need a wedding cake…. but where do we start?
Shopping for your wedding cake can be daunting. With so many forums and platforms showcasing the latest trends and designs in wedding cakes, it can be overwhelming and confusing. Firstly, you have to figure out where, and who you purchase a wedding cake from.
Then you need to decide on what flavours you are going for, and what colour to have or design. Let’s not even get started on how many tiers it should be; should it be stacked or have pillars, and who are we serving the cake to!?
There are a million questions you could ask, and with so much choice it can become all too much at times. However, do not fret, because here is the low down on all you need to know, and how to start making some decisions on each of those elements of design.
First things first, decide how many of your guests will be receiving a slice of cake. If you are serving dessert on the day, then I would always advise that the cake is served as a coffee sized portion. Think of this as, a slim slice of cake that you would enjoy with a coffee.
If you are not having dessert, then a dessert sized portion (about the length of your finger) would be a perfect option to serve your guest.
If you are opting for dessert sized portions, typically your baker will suggest that you have a larger size cake.
For more on wedding cake portions click here.
Image by James Grist Photography
The selection of cake sponges and fillings now available are incredible, and depending on your choice of baker, they may offer new and creative combinations that could take your cake to the next level. However, this is where you decide how inventive you would like to be with your cake flavours.
I’d suggest first considering the season that your event falls into. For a summer wedding, citrus flavours such as lemon, lime and passion fruit are always a great choice.
For the colder months, you may wish to go with richer flavours, such as a chocolate sponge, coffee or even a carrot cake.
Play around with your options, and if you are an adventurous couple, then ask your baker if they can suggest flavours that are more outside of the box, for example how about a cinnamon and fresh fig sponge with a goats cheese buttercream filling. This is a great flavour for those who have a more savoury lead palette.
Cake trends are constantly changing, at current we are seeing more natural drip styled cakes coming in. Moving away from the naked cake, we now have the ‘half dressed’ cake (which features a sponge cake with an opaque style of buttercream, revealing a little flash of the sponge cake underneath)
What I always advise my clients, is to choose a design that you are happy to look back on years to come, and when you see your wedding photos, you will still love the design of the cake you chose.
So if the new trends look great to you, but are not screaming ‘ let’s be in that iconic cake cutting photo together’ then go with the styles that you have always been drawn to.
Do not be afraid of heading back to the vintage years, and choosing something uber traditional, or heading for a more playful design that is fun and eye catching, showing off the personalities of you both as a couple. A good baker will be able to help create a design of cake that pulls together your chosen theme.
I want something different, that is not just a tiered wedding cake…?
Many couples are now moving away from the traditional tiered wedding cake as their centre piece. There was a rise in the demand for cupcake towers a few years ago, and these still hold popular today, allowing each guest to take home an individual cake.
I have seen a rise in request for croquembouche towers (or profiterole towers as they may be known by here in the UK) , and these offer a really delicious treat designed to be pulled apart by your guest. They offer bites of pure indulgence; pastry puffs filled with delicious pastry creams.
Another option, is to go for a macaron tower, or stacks of doughnuts. Whatever your favourite treat, have them created into a tower of delights.
Special Dietary Requirements
If you are looking for a gluten free or vegan option, many specialist bakers will be able to cater to your needs.
When it comes to gluten free sponges, I always advise to go with a flavoured cake that is stronger in flavour or more punchy. Many rice flours used in gluten free cooking have a slight bitterness to them, so opting for a strong cocoa flavoured sponge with a kick of cinnamon, or a very zesty lemon sponge with lashings of lemon curd provide exceptional flavours, and are perfect for those catering for guests with alternative dietary requirements.
You do not have to go with a traditional sponge cake either , there is the option of choosing cheesecakes with a coconut macaron base. Or how about opting for a dessert bar instead with fruits, cheeses and mini vegan or gluten free bakes.
The main rules to stick by are; to not have your gluten free or vegan cakes, stacked with non GF or non-vegan cakes. As a wedding cake baker, we can never guarantee that upon serving the cake, the catering team at the venue, will not use the same knife to cut through every sponge.
Speak to your baker, and find out what allergies they are not covered for, i.e. many kitchens are not nut free.
If you want to cater for various dietary requirements, you can also offer GF and vegan cupcakes, and have these labelled with cute flags, so that your guests know which ones they can safely enjoy.
So once you have an idea of the type of design you are looking for, you then need to consider your budget. Certain elements of a cake design will increase the price of the final cake. Sugar flowers, edible gold and silver leaf, pearlised sheens and intricate piping will certainly add to the final price tag.
The average three tier fondant covered wedding cake with sugar flowers and piping starts at £490-£520 dependent on the region you live in. London bakeries can start from £600+ for a three tier design.
Pricing in the industry can be extremely confusing, and that is a post for another time. However, now we know where our budget lies, let’s talk about finding a baker to make this dream cake.
Finding a wedding cake maker/ designer/ baker…. what should we Google?
First things first, unless there is a designer that you absolutely love and you must have their cake, I would suggest searching in the region that your wedding venue is set. You want to ensure your baker, can deliver to your wedding venue.
Check that they are insured, registered and have a certificate of hygiene. Unfortunately anyone can start up a cake business, and they can run without being insured or having the correct level of hygiene. You as the customer, unfortunately will have no financial protection if the cake is undelivered or your guests fall ill from the bake (sorry, that’s really morbid, but very true).
Your typical wedding cake baker will be listed on various wedding directories, wedding blogs, and may exhibit at local and national wedding shows. Of course a good Google search for ‘wedding cake baker and INSERT REGION HERE’ can also be a good start. Read their reviews, and testimonials, and then get an idea of where their price range is before committing to a cake tasting appointment.
Send them photos of what you have in mind, and ask them to provide a rough quote.
From here, go and meet them if you feel that they are the one for you, and let them talk you through the process of securing your order.
This is the part of your wedding that should be really fun. So go, enjoy it and eat lots of cake!
THIS IS A GUEST FEATURE WRITTEN BY // Nadia Jay // Wedding Cake Artist at Cake Me By Surprise
“Nadia is a wedding cake artist supplying stunning cakes to the London, Kent, Essex and Surrey regions since 2013. Her cakes are a reflection of her couple’s tastes and she creates not only traditional tiered cakes but macaron towers, cupcakes, marshmallows and much more.”