Wedding Cake Basics
Here are a few handy tips to understanding the basics of the wedding cake.
The design of the cake is the method in which your cake is built. You may choose to have your wedding cake tiers stacked or create height with pillars and columns.
If you are interested in what options you have for a flat cake, consider having the cake spell out your monogram, names, be in a meaningful shape or pattern or even say “I Do.” There are so many options when it comes to the design of your cake, you will want to be sure that you spend ample time looking though books, magazines, websites, photo galleries and baker’s portfolios.
The décor of your cake can be anything you want. Many people are straying from the traditional white cake and white icing, although these designs are being elegantly reincorporated into weddings. Your décor can be modern, traditional, ornate or very simple.
Many couples are opting for carefully handcrafted sugar designs and chocolate decorations on their wedding cakes. There are several different icing options that will give you a variety of choices on what you can do with the décor of your cake. Fruit, flowers, fondant creations and marzipan creations are very popular.
There are various filling options that will make your cake unique and one of a kind. The filling is spread between the layers of the cake or can be incorporated into the batter to create ribbons of fruit. Popular fruit fillings include jam, cream, frosting, icing, chocolate, fruit, mousse, curds of a variety of flavours, buttercream, cream cheese and even mascarpone. You can have one flavour or incorporate different flavours that compliment each other and your cake design.
Wedding Cake Flavour
The flavour of your wedding cake can be as simple or complex as the design. The cake should not only look amazing but taste amazing as well. Your guests will quickly eat their dinner just so they can get to the cutting of the cake and they will be dying to try it.
There are several popular flavours including lemon, vanilla, yellow, spice, carrot and chocolate. Don’t be afraid to get exotic and don’t think you have to use the traditional fruitcake-wedding recipe. There are a variety of flavours to choose and you can even use your grandmother’s recipe for a marble cake if you like.
Match your cake with your personality. There are many wedding traditions and you can pick and choose any that you like. Just like your flowers, invitations and even your wedding gown, you can get as creative and express yourself as much as you want with your wedding cake. You can go traditional, elegant, romantic, fashionable, hip, or aunatural. Your wedding cake design, flavour, icing, and filling are completely up to you.
How to Choose a Wedding Cake
The wedding cake may or may not be something close to your heart when you plan your wedding. Either way, the cake is often the main focus of the wedding reception and so choosing the right wedding cake for you is important.
With this daunting prospect in mind, let us make your wedding cake planning a little easier. Firstly it should be known that there are more factors involved than just taste and colour so the decision is not as easy as it looks.
Before you do anything ask yourself the following questions:
– How much are you prepared to spend on your wedding cake?
– How many guests are you likely to have?
Knowing these facts and figures allows you to put into perspective the type of wedding cake you can realistically have.
Factors to Consider when Choosing Your Wedding Cake
The shape, size, colour, flavour and decoration are a few things to consider for your wedding cake. Here are some tips:
- – In terms of appearance try to find some pictures in magazines, books and websites of cakes that you like.
- – Try to realise the purpose of your wedding cake. Are you getting a wedding cake to simply decorate your reception venue (in which case you probably want a beautiful looking cake)? Is it to provide some extra grub for your guests (in which case it’s important to get a yummy cake)? Will you be feeding the 5,000 (guests)? If so, the size of the cake is vital.
- – Would you like the cake at your wedding to match the colour scheme? If so you should consider the colour of the icing and the colour of the cake decorations.
- – Wedding Cake Flavour. Traditionally, the cake’s filling is fruit. If however you are a chocoholic you may well consider a chocolate filling. There are plenty of other fantastic flavours available these days too, from sponge to cream cheese!
- – Wedding Cake Decorations – Today there are hundreds of combinations of cake decorations available. From ribbons to flowers, from wedding cake toppers to candles.Important Advice
Allergies. Remember to find out whether any of your guests have food allergies such as gluten intolerance or nut allergies. To avoid this problem ask the wedding cake supplier to make a gluten or nut free tier of the cake.
Themed weddings have seen various shapes and sizes from cakes that look like a pile of wedding gifts to replicas of Disneyland. Just remember, the more elaborate and time consuming it will be to make your cake, the more expensive it will be. If you are flipping through bridal magazines and see one that you like, feel free to take it to your baker and get an estimate on the cost of the cake.
small wedding, BIG CAKE
If you are having a small wedding, but you want the cake to appear large consider setting the tiers on individual pillars. This will give the cake height and you won’t be stuck with a large amount of leftover cake. Another option is to have a two or three tier cake and add additional tiers with decorated cardboard circles. Many bakeries are doing this for couples that want the look of a big wedding cake, but don’t need the extra cake. When they are done with the cardboard “tiers” your guests will never know that they are cardboard.
Wedding Cake Flavours
As the designs and styles of wedding cakes change into icing and cake creations rather than simple tiered cakes, the flavours are also changing. It was once believed that the wedding cake should be white cake with white buttercream icing, but this has changed over the past few years and more cakes are being made in a variety of flavours and with a variety of different colors of icing.
Wedding cake toppers & Monograms: Top Tips & Unique & Unusual Ideas
A wedding cake topper is simply a figurine (traditionally a bride and groom), that is placed on top of the wedding cake.
A cake is not complete without some type of topper. Brides have a wide assortment of toppers to choose from and new designs are appearing every year. Your wedding cake topper can be as creative or as simple as you want. If you are all about tradition then you can’t go wrong with a traditional bride and groom, but if you are looking to add some class to your cake you have many options to choose from.
Monograms are incredibly popular for wedding cakes these days. If you are having a spring or summer wedding, consider having your bakery make up a sugar monogram design and incorporate little sugar rosettes or vines as decoration. The monogram can be a single initial for the new last name that you share or they can incorporate both first initials and the last initial. There are also monogram-wedding toppers that are encrusted with crystals for an elegant wedding cake look.
Clay Cake Toppers
If you are looking for a way to personalize your cake topper, consider clay cake toppers. These can be personalized with you and your new hubby. They can even include your dogs, cats or other pets that are going to be joined in matrimony as well. Many couples will choose to have their pets portrayed as the cake topper instead of them. If you are considering this you will want to ensure that the rest of your cake design is casual enough. It is not recommended that you go ultra traditional and then place two little clay pugs on top of the cake, although they are sure to be adorable.
Floral / Flower Arrangement Toppers
If you are a classic bride then you may want to consider the new and beautiful floral arrangements that are being used on wedding cakes. Many brides are having arrangements of fresh flowers used as cake toppers while others are using the artistic abilities of their baker and having sugar floral arrangements designed. Not only are the arrangements beautiful cake toppers but they are edible as well.
Themed and Expensive Toppers
There are wedding cake toppers for every couple available. Form Cinderella and Prince Charming to glass creations, wedding bells, swans, butterflies and even beach themed toppers with the bride and groom relaxing on their honeymoon in Hawaiian shirts.
Wedding cake toppers come in a variety of materials. Some of the more expensive toppers are those that are custom made from clay. The majority of the monogram cake toppers are available in steel and can be encrusted in Swavorski crystals or gold-plaited. These toppers may also be expensive as well. Glass and porcelain toppers are rather affordable and of course there are plastic wedding cake toppers as well. Don’t forget the fresh flowers and inquire what type of topper your bakery can design as well. It’s your wedding and there are a variety of wedding cake toppers available to suit your style and wedding theme.
If you plan on having a large number of guests but don’t know if your checkbook can handle it consider a tower of chocolate and white cupcakes. Cupcake tower cakes are becoming increasingly popular and they are much cheaper than a tiered cake. Not only are they easy to make for the bakery but they are easy to transport as well. Spruce up the design with a silver cupcake tray and a beautiful floral arrangement. Satellite cakes are also an excellent option. You can have them decorated similarly but have a chocolate tier, a white tier, strawberry tier or whatever other flavour you want.
If you are looking for something unique, consider a traditional tiered cake with chocolate flowers, chocolate wrapped presents or other elegant wedding cake decorations. All the wedding cake designs you thought would be impossible with cheesecake have been done. You can even have a variety of your favourite cheesecake flavours incorporated as well from white chocolate ganache to chocolate cream cheese butter cream.
If you are afraid that not all of your guests will enjoy a cheesecake, then you can also consider having a cheesecake for your Groom’s cake or bridal shower. These can also be created in unique designs such as footballs, boxes of cigars and other manly items. For your bridal shower, consider a cake that looks like the latest Gucci handbag or a pearl studded miniature version of your wedding cake.
As gifts for your bridal party, you can have miniature cheesecake bites decorated into small little gifts and wrapped in their own individual boxes. Who wouldn’t love a little bite of cheesecake wrapped up as a gift?
There are several ways that you can store the cake while transporting. Small tiers may be stored in pans if they will not sit level. If there are several tiers that cannot be boxed due to decorations, etc. The tiers can be transported on large pieces of foam. The foam should be placed on the floor of the car and then the tiers should be centred on each piece.
Sturdy cake boxes can be used if they are the same size of the baseboard that the cake is sitting on. This will keep the cake from sliding in the box, which could cause crushing of the icing and decorations. If the cake is heaving you can use more than one box and tape them together. You can also reinforce the bottom with masking tape. If there are tall decorations, you can prop up the top and sides of the box and secure it with masking tape.
How to Display the Wedding Cake
The wedding cake is the centrepiece of the wedding reception. You will want your cake in place and setup before the reception begins. The cake table will be one of the most photographed spots at the reception, as your guests will want to remember your beautiful cake as much as you do.
How to Cut the Wedding Cake
Many people don’t realize this, but there is a special way to cut the cake. There is nothing worse than looking at a cake that has been completely butchered. There is also nothing worse than watching someone cut the cake from the bottom and watching the top tiers go crashing in the middle of the reception. Cutting the cake properly will prevent this from happening.
The Bride and Groom Make the First Cuts
Most weddings typically begin by the bride and groom making the first two cuts. To start, the bride will place her right hand on the handle of the knife. Then the groom puts his hand over hers. Begin cutting on the bottom tier of the cake with the point of the knife and then make two cuts. Remove the small slice and place on a plate. The bride and groom will then feed each other to symbolize that they are committed to share with and support each other.
If you are going to have someone in charge of cutting your cake, you will need to make sure they know how to cut the cake in advance. You will begin cutting the cake on the bottom tier. Do not cut far under the second tier or this will cause the cake to tumble later because it will be too top heavy. You will cut about two inches in from the outside of the cake and cut all the way around the layer.
After the bottom layer has been cut all the way around, you will begin working on the second layer. When the second layer has been cut all the way around, you will remove the top tier for the bride and groom to save later. The cutting continues in a circular manner until all of the cake has been cut and served.
How to Cut Costs on Wedding Cakes
The cost of the cake depends largely on the quantity that is required as well as the size and decorations on the cake. Some bakers are also more expensive than others, but you may also be paying for an excellent cake artist as well. Wedding cakes are an essential part of your wedding and there are methods that you can employ to make the cake a special cake and at an affordable price.
Bake your Own Wedding Cake
One method is to bake your own cake. If you are handy in the kitchen, you should be able to make a nice cake. Fondant icing is also a good option because you can roll it out and lay it over your cake tiers to give your cake a professional looking icing. If you are creative with icing all you will have to decorate is the edges of each tier. There are very cute decorations such as sugar beadings and floral arrangements that will cover the edges of the icing.
Another option that is becoming very popular is the cupcake tower. These are very unique and will be very cute at your wedding. They are also very easy to serve. Make the cupcakes look even more unique with a silver tiered serving tray. One very cute idea is to have the baker cut out little fondant hearts and stamp your initials on the hearts. The icing and hearts can be whatever colour you like. Cupcakes are often considerably less expensive than full size cakes with tiers and they are also very easy to transport and setup.
Working with a Baker
You and your baker have a special relationship. You both know that the wedding cake is often the centre of attention at most wedding receptions and you should both do your best to ensure that you are on the same page in terms of ideas and design as well as timeframe and delivery. Often your caterer or reception site will be a good source of information for cakes and bakers and they may even offer the service of your wedding cake design. You can also use a local bakery or grocery store baker. If you have a friend or relative who is a baker, ask them to bake your cake instead of get you a gift – they might just take you up on the idea!
Begin by making appointments with different bakers and review their portfolios. Most bakers have photo albums full of pictures of cakes that they have designed. Not only do you want the cake to look good, but you want it to taste good as well. A good baker will have samples of cake, icings and fillings for you to try. Sample their work before making a decision. You may also want to visit several bakeries for tastings of their cake and then decide on the one you like the best.
What the Baker Needs from You…
After you have found the right baker, be prepared to provide the baker with what they need to know in order to serve you. This includes:
- The room décor, if you have pictures of the components you will be using provide copies to your baker.
- The ceiling height – This will determine how tall your cake can be if you are going to have multiple tiers.
- The general room temperature that the cake will be displayed in. This will help you and the baker determine if the cake will have to be refrigerated during the reception prior to serving. You will also need to let them know if the reception is outdoors as different icings may be required.
- The linen colours
- The wedding-party colours
- The floral scheme including flower types and colours
- The formality of your wedding
- The number of guests
- The names and phone numbers of the caterer, the florist, the wedding planner and the reception site manager.
- Very clear directions to the reception site
- The time the cake must be delivered and assembled by.The Contract
Be certain that if you are required to sign a contract, the contract spells out the arrangements exactly the way you want your cake including flavours, ingredients, decorations and the date and time of delivery. You should also ask if there are additional charges for pillars, cake stands, fountains and other decorations that are going to be used for the cake display. Some reception sites may also require that you pay a cake-cutting fee and you will need to be certain you know this fee beforehand.
Cake orders should be placed at least six to eight weeks before the reception. If you are using a popular baker during the popular wedding months, you may need to place your order several months in advance. If you are getting married on short notice, consult a bakery about your needs and many will be able to help you out.
We hope that this post will help inspire you to choose the perfect cake and help you be organised from the design to the cutting of the cake!