For most couples, organising a wedding cake is not something they’ve done before! As with every part of your wedding, there are lots of decisions to be made and questions to ask along the way. I’ve come up with a few important things to think about when you’re looking for wedding cake inspiration, and some questions to ask your cake maker.
Who’s making your wedding cake?
You need someone to bake a cake, but who’s that going to be? A friend, relative, or a professional wedding cake maker?
Of course I’m going to recommend that you don’t make the cake yourself.
I didn’t make my own wedding cake. Why? Well simply because I didn’t want to be up to my eyes in butter cream and chocolate ganache in the days before my wedding (oops, OUR wedding!) Not to mention the stress of having to deliver the cake myself!
I think it’s far better to leave this part in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing while you sit back, relax and get pampered with friends and family.
How do I choose a wedding cake maker?
When you start planning your wedding you’ll pretty quickly decide on a style that you like. Elegant, rustic, bohemian, romantic, modern, geometric…?
Finding a wedding cake designer that gets your style can make the process a whole lot easier. Yes, a cake maker and a cake designer are sort of the same. I call myself a cake designer because I meet with couples, listen to their wedding ideas (probably my favourite part of the job!) and I individually design all the cakes I make to suit the wedding style of the couple. All my couples get a hand drawn sketch of their cake design.
Most cake designers will have a specific style, like any designer. Some will specialise in buttercream cakes, some in traditional cakes. I specialise in modern, elegant designs and love creating sugar flowers – as a peek at my cake gallery will quickly reveal.
It’s best to choose your cake designer based in their portfolio of work for previous clients. Meet them and make sure they ‘get you’ and the style you’re going for. Take a look at their Instagram, Facebook and website for inspiration.
How much cake do I need?
The best place to start is by deciding on the number of guests you’d like your wedding cake to serve.
The number of portions you need can affect the size and ultimately the cost of your wedding cake…although you can order a 5 tier showstopper for a small number of guests and your cake maker will use ‘dummy’ tiers instead of leaving you with tiers of uneaten cake!
Your wedding cake maker will be able to offer advice on approximately how much cake you’ll need. Many of my couples are ordering themselves a small tier in their favourite flavour to take home and enjoy in the days after the wedding!
It may be worth considering if you could serve your wedding cake as your dessert, rather than having a three course meal with dessert and then cake. If you’re serving it as a dessert, your cake maker will know to provide a larger cake with dessert portions rather than smaller after dinner portions.
How much does a wedding cake cost?
Price-wise, butter cream cakes tend to be cheaper than fondant and sugar work as the level of skill and time it takes to decorate is lower. It’s a good idea to set a budget for your wedding cake. Most cake designers publish guide prices on their websites to help. The more elaborate the design you choose, the higher the cost will be. Don’t be afraid to share your cake budget with your cake designer. They can advise on how to create something fabulous without overspending.
Bear in mind that if you use an ‘average cost’ guide from a bridal magzine or blog they take into account the cost of cakes people made themselves and the ‘average’ costs will therefore be significantly lower than if everyone bought a professionally made wedding cake.
Which cake flavour?
This is an important one for me. Yes you want your cake to look amazing but it should taste fabulous too! Most professional wedding cake makers will offer a cake consultation where you can meet up, sample some cake and look at examples of their work.
Fruit cake seems far less popular nowadays and has been replaced by a myriad of cool and exciting sponge cake flavours. My current favourites are Cherry Bakewell and Toffee Apple with Cinnamon. You can see some of my other most popular flavours here.
Do feel free to ask your cake maker to make your favourite flavour rather than picking from a list. Most cake makers love the opportunity to try out new flavour combinations (we get to eat the experiments!)
Delivery and set up of your wedding cake
Most wedding cake makers will deliver and set up your cake at your wedding venue. Make sure this service is included in your costing.
Something I often rant about is seeing a beautifully crafted wedding cake shoved in the dark corner of a room or in front of an unsightly fire extinguisher or ugly radiator.
I recommend having the most expensive cake you’ll ever buy in a fabulous spot with a nice backdrop where it has pride of place.
If you’re going on a site visit to your venue before the big day, you can choose where the cake goes.
Wedding cake stands
Traditional cake stands are great and provided by most venues, but what if I told you there are many alternatives out there? A modern wedding cake looks far better on a modern cake stand rather than just putting it on whatever is provided. Think about getting a stand that perfectly compliments your cake. Most cake makers will lend them out or sell them to you as part of your cake deal.
This is something that can be completely over looked. Your cake maker should ask you about this so check with your venue and caterer about who will be providing your knife to make sure you don’t have to use the Best Man’s dinner knife for your cake cutting moment!
Your wedding venue will usually ask for a list of ingredients and a copy of your cake maker’s public liability insurance. It’s vitally important that your caterers know exactly what they are serving up to your guests in case of any food allergies or intollerances.
Please, please, please take out wedding insurance. It’s such a tiny amount of money in the whole scheme of things and unfortunately I am contacted by several couples every year who have to cancel or postpone their wedding plans.
I hope this little checklist helps you on your way to getting your dream wedding cake. If you’d like to talk to me in more detail about making the cake for your special day, please do get in touch. You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook to check out what I’ve been up to!
Photo credits: Sophie Cass Photography, Salsabil Morrison and Luis Holden.