The A-Z Guide to Choosing your Wedding Cake &
Wedding Cake Maker
A wedding cake is one of the biggest cakes you will ever purchase. To make the process a little easier here is our A-Z guide to choosing your wedding cake and wedding cake maker.
Ask to see pictures of their previous work. When viewing portfolios ensure they feature work your cake maker has produced; not just stock images as ‘inspiration’ for ideas.
Budget – It is important to set a budget for your wedding cake from the outset. Wedding cake magazines have a tendency to be way off the mark. Enquire with 3 – 5 local cake makers to get an average price. But, always remember you get what you pay for. If something seems to good to be true it usually is.
Cupcakes – Not a fan of tiered cakes? Not a problem. Opt for a cupcake tower with a small cake on top instead. A small cake is enough to perform the all important cake cutting.
Delivery and Set Up – Does your cake maker deliver the cake or do you have to collect it? Is there an additional charge for this? The best option is to have your wedding cake delivered. No worries for you or your family before the day. The cake will be ready at the venue for your arrival.
Experience – How much experience do they have? Do they have experience in the style of cake you want? If you are looking specifically for a croquembouche or macaroons look for cake makers that specialise in that style of cake. Be wary of cake makers that say ‘I’ve not done it before but I’ll give it a go’. Your wedding cake is not the opportunity for a cake maker to be trying out a new style or technique.
Flowers – Flowers are always a classic wedding cake decoration whether they be sugar flowers, fresh or silk. However there are things that you need to consider. Some flowers are poisonous and should not be used on cakes under any circumstances. Also, no flower, be it fresh, sugar or silk, should be inserted directly into the cake without the appropriate posy pick or similar in place. This is a form of contamination and can render the cake inedible.
Groom’s cake – Groom’s cakes are a tradition in America but that doesn’t mean that we cannot embrace them here. Don’t forget Prince William’s grooms cake when he married Catherine Middleton – made from 1,700 McVitie’s Rich tea biscuits and 17 kg of chocolate. Of course your’s doesn’t have to be quite as large as this. Have a cake reflecting your partners hobbies and interests.
Hygiene Training – Your wedding cake maker should have food hygiene training and be registered with environmental health whether they work from a shop or a studio. This is the law. You can your cake makers status on the Food Standards Agency website.
Insurance – Any company selling food to the product should have relevant public liability insurance. Some venues do require a minimum level of insurance before they allow food to be bought onto their premises.
Judgement – Trust your judgement. If you really like your chosen wedding cake maker but not sure that they have the skills and experience to do your chosen design than adjust it accordingly. It’s much better to have a simple cake made well than a more complicated design poorly executed.
Kids – Do you have little people at your wedding? Why not think about getting them some cupcakes to have instead of the main wedding cake. You can also consider getting them cookies as their wedding favour – something to keep them occupied during the meal and speeches.
Location – When designing your wedding cake think about where the cake is going to be placed. If your venue has a high ceiling have a slightly taller cake so that it doesn’t get ‘lost’ whereas a smaller cake suits a smaller venue. Also look at the background area checking for things like fire extinguishers, fire exits etc. Whilst obviously they are completely necessary for the venue to have you don’t particularly want them in your wedding photographs. Consider moving the cake for the cake cutting ceremony if this is possible.
Marzipan – Think all bespoke cakes have a layer of marzipan? Think again. Fruit Cakes have a layer of marzipan as standard but sponge cakes have buttercream or ganache under the fondant icing. If you have nut allergies do make sure you speak to your cake maker.
Naked Cakes – Naked and buttercream cakes are fantastic for a rustic wedding and fabulous for those couples who simply don’t like icing. There are things that need to be taken into consideration if you opt for a naked cake. You need to think about the amount of time the cake will be on display for. Without a ‘protective’ layer of icing a naked cake will be at risk of drying out. Ideally your wedding cake maker will bake the cake as late as possible (depending on the time of the wedding this will either be late the night before or first thing that morning), and deliver and set up the cake as late as the possibly can. Whilst naked cakes may seem they might be a ‘cheaper’ option it is this last minute work that will increase the price.
Order Confirmation – Once you have chosen your cake maker and placed your order make sure you receive an order confirmation. This should detail at least the size and flavour of your cake, all the decoration and detail, icing colour. It’s important you have this documentation to ensure that you and your cake maker are on the same wavelength.
Planning – It important to do a bit of planning and research when purchasing your wedding cake. Before you go to your consultation have a look at the style of wedding cake you like, look at shapes, decoration, colours. The more information you have the better it is for your cake maker.
Quibbling – Choosing your wedding cake, while enjoyable, can have it’s tense moments! There are often differences of opinion, especially if many people are involved. The saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is relatable to wedding cakes. We recommend a maximum of 3 people (including the bride and groom) for this reason. I have seen a bride talked out of the cake they love because they have tried to please too many people at the consultation (including both sets of parents , siblings and all the bridesmaids).
Recommendations – Nothing speaks more highly about a wedding cake maker than their recommendations. Speak to your venue, other wedding suppliers, other brides. Have a look at your cake makers website for testimonials. Thank you cards are a great indication of genuine recommendations.
Shape – There are many different shape options for wedding cakes. Round is traditional as, like wedding rings, they have no beginning and no end. However they are certainly not the only option. Square, heart, oval, hexagon and even horseshoe – the possibility are endless.
Tasters – It is important to sample the cake you are choosing. A cake is designed to be eaten so it’s got to taste as good as it looks. Some cake makers offer one to one taste consultations, others offer tasting evenings. Make sure you book an appointment or go along.
Unique – As an individual you are unique. Your wedding will be unique. So it is important that your cake is unique too. Show your cake maker images that you have found on the internet but listen to their advice and suggestions and let them tailor the cake to you. After all you don’t want to have the same cake everyone else has shared on the internet thousands of times.
Vanilla – Classic vanilla sponge and traditional fruit cake is just two of the many options available to couples today. Many wedding cake makers offer a variety of different flavours and many will have a signature or speciality flavour. When choosing your flavour consider what you will be serving as your dessert or at your buffet alongside your cake. If you are having a chocolate dessert than have a different flavour in your cake.
Website – ‘First impressions last’ is a saying to live by. A good website is the first impression of a great wedding cake maker. A cake maker that takes pride in their website will take pride in their work. Ensure your wedding cake maker has a website and not just a Facebook page. Facebook pages are great for interacting, looking at images and reviews. However, it’s easy to create a Facebook page and just as easy to remove it. With no trace back to the original creator at all. All messages and communication will disappear to. Communicate via email for your own protection.
Xtras – Cheated a little there, but consider the extras. Ensure the price doesn’t exclude hidden extras such as stand hire, knife hire and delivery and set up. Ask for a quote inclusive of all additional charges.
You – When choosing your wedding cake flavours don’t forget yourselves. It is tempting to select flavours that you think everybody else will enjoy but you can’t please everybody. Have your favourite as the top tier. Save it for the next day for you to enjoy as newlyweds.
Zero Regrets – Whether the weather wasn’t just what you’d hoped for, or there were a few little snags along the way, look back on your day with zero regrets. Look forward to starting life as a newlywed!