Wedding Cakes

Monday, 20 April 2009

Likely the most you'll ever spend on a baked good, wedding cakes are more like a work of art than a dessert. They can also take up a big slice of your bridal day budget. We find out more about how to choose your cake, and get the most out of your frosty centrepiece.

The Basics

There are a few parameters you should familiarize yourself with in order to prepare for cake shopping:

  • Design: cake styles range from a traditional tiered cake with a plastic topper to more contemporary shapes with fresh flowers. Intricate or simple, it’s all a matter of taste and budget.
  • Cake flavour: while options can be endless, the most common flavours are white and chocolate. Carrot is also popular, as is pound cake and cheese cake. Fruit cake is a traditional taste that keeps well. There aren’t any rules when it comes to flavour, but keep in mind that going with something out of the ordinary may add to the price.

  • Icing: yet another decision! Butter cream icing is very yummy, but tends to melt when it sits out for a long time, which is what most wedding cakes have to endure. Fondant and royal icing hold up better over long periods.

  • Filling: Choices can include butter cream, royal icing, fondant, ganache, whipped cream, and more.

  • Colour: white is the traditional icing colour, but feel free to try and match the icing or decoration detail with a colour theme in your wedding. Most bakers can accommodate this. It’s important to provide a swatch of fabric so that your baker can match the colour.

  • Decoration: can be made from edible or non-edible materials. Edible include marzipan, gum paste (for realistic flowers and fruit), pulled sugar (great for silky roses and bows), and edible flowers. Non-edible items can be anything, but are typically non-edible flowers, and plastic or porcelain figurines.

  • Size: this is determined by the number of guests. On average, each person gets a 2″ x 2″slice; on the small side since it’s considered more decorative than dessert. Usually an actual dessert is also served at dinner, prior to cutting the cake. If you’re keeping the top tier for an anniversary later on, add 10 people.

  • Cost: expect to pay between $2-10 per slice.

The Baker

Choosing a baker is almost as important as choosing a cake. 

  • Get recommendations from friends.

  • Get quotes from at least 3 bakeries.

  • You’ll want to do a taste test. Most bakeries will charge for a sample slice or even a small whole cake.

  • Book early (at least 6 months in advance)

  • Check about delivery. It usually costs extra, but it’ll get there in one piece, unscathed. One less thing to stress about on your big day.

Other Considerations

  • The ceremonial cake doesn’t necessarily have to feed all your guests. You might want to have a smaller ceremonial cake for photos, and then serve a simple decorative slab to your guests.

  • Saving cake for an anniversary? Make sure you store it properly. Typically you can save the top tier easily, or save a couple of nicely-decorated pieces. Freeze it unwrapped for 12 hours to help set the decorations, then put the cake in a box and wrap the whole thin in freezer wrap and foil.


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