Unlike the saying goes, you really can have your cake and eat it too on your wedding day! Your wedding cake is one of the sweetest (literally) aspects of your wedding, so make sure you plan ahead and do your research so you can be happy with the results and your guests can have happy taste buds. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on your wedding cake:
Flavors and Icing: Mix and Match
He loves chocolate, you love vanilla- not to worry, it’s very common for different tiers of wedding cakes to be different flavors giving your guests an option. Pick at least one layer to be basic chocolate or vanilla, for those guests who may have simpler taste buds, but don’t be afraid to choose another flavor out of the ordinary. For this time of year, spice cake or carrot cakes with cinnamon buttercream icings are very common, mousse cakes are common in the winter, and fruit filled cakes are common in the spring and summer. Fondant is slowly becoming a thing of the past as couples opt for the more homemade and natural flavor of buttercream icings. Make sure you also ask your bakery what their most common combinations are.
|Vicki and Brad’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Shooting Stars Photography
Tastings: Satisfy your taste buds
Warning- this may be the only thing your man might actually want to take part in, the cake tasting. Once you have done your research, contact your top one to three bakeries and set up tastings, if you do more than three, it might make your decision harder. Most cake tastings are around one hour so there is time to discuss flavors and you can often bring a total of three to four people- it never hurts to get a second, third or fourth opinion! Most bakeries suggest that couples order their wedding cake six months in advance, so don’t be afraid to make contact early on.
|Shante and Jason’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Sean Marshall Lin Photography
Size: Too much of a good thing is never enough
You can never have enough! But, here are some guidelines to help you decide how large of a cake you might need. It’s best to speak with a professional baker first, but it’s always good to go in having done your research. Don’t be surprised about how many slices you can get out of one cake, traditional wedding slices are 2″ x 1″- around the size of a deck of cards, which is smaller than the usual slice of birthday cake.
|Kirsten and Matt’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Misty Dawn Photography
Inspiration: Be inspired…
You obviously want your cake to reflect your wedding theme and decor, so grab a few samples and look up designs to show your wedding cake designer so they have a better feel of what you’re looking for. Inspiration can be pulled from the bride’s wedding gown, the groom’s tie, centerpieces, bridal party flowers, your wedding invitations, monogram, whatever it may be. You’ll be surprised to see what a great cake designer can do with just a little to work with. If you’re having trouble thinking of something, look to the season to decide.
|Erica and Gene’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Timeline Weddings
Design: Let your imagination run wild
Gone are the days of the columned wedding cakes with ivy going up the side, couples today are sticking with either the traditional three tiered cakes, going for a topsy turvy look of a lopsided cake for a fun twist, or bagging cakes all together and doing a dessert station instead. Whatever kind of cake it may be, the designs play a huge part of the overall look of the cake. Here are some design elements to consider and discuss with your cake designer.
- Painting and airbrushing
- Ruffles and pleating
- Sugar flowers
- Real flowers
- Fondant cut-outs
Bev and Chuck’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Docherty Photography
Groom’s Cake: Just for him
A lot of brides are doing something a little extra for their new hubby. By surprising the groom with a groom’s cake, themed specifically to his style and taste, you are sure to win some new wife bonus points- which you can of course redeem later. Typically, grooms cakes are usually darker and heavier looking than traditional wedding cakes, which are often white and light. The groom’s cake should be completely opposite in flavor and design of the wedding cake, but should also be his favorite flavor and highlight some of his favorite past times- sports teams or hobbies for example. It’s also most often served at the rehearsal dinner to keep it separate from the wedding cake the next day. Fun fact, the groom’s cake began as a tradition in the South.
|Stacey and Justin’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Sofia Negron Photography
Top Tier: Save some for later
If you want to stick with tradition, save and freeze the top tier of your wedding cake to be enjoyed either on your first wedding anniversary or for the christening of your first born child. The tradition started in England- and back then many cakes were made from nuts and liquors- making them easily preserved. Today, keeping your cake tasting just as fresh may be a bit more of a challenge, especially since most couples are waiting a few years to have children. So typically, today’s couples keep their cake frozen for a year and enjoy it during their first wedding anniversary. If you’re trying to keep it for a year, make sure to wrap it in several layers of saran wrap and tin foil and even put it in a Tupperware container. If you get back from your honeymoon and are still dreaming about your wedding cake, don’t hesitate to open it back up, after all, every day of your marriage is a celebration!
|Kaylan and Dan’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Lloydlee Heite
Cake Stands: Tying it all together
Add a little something extra with a traditional, vintage, modern or unconventional cake stand. Your wedding cake designer may have stands you can use, but websites like Etsy have great cheap options that you can always reuse in your new home. Cake stands can also be used to divide up the different flavors or layers of cake, giving you a tall cake that will also be steady. The cake stand below can be found at Sarah’s Stands.
|Melissa and Carl’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Childress Photography
Trends: Keeping up with the Jones’
The 2011 wedding season is almost over, so chances are, if you’re reading this blog for wedding tips, your big day is sometime in 2012. Get ahead of the curve and keep in mind these new 2012 cake trends with the overall theme of 2012 being chic and romantic.
- Flavors– Red velvet was the top cake flavor for 2011, but couples in 2012 will look to more unique flavors to surprise their guests, try pomegranate or fig filled cakes. Other unconventional flavors lately have been chocolate hazelnut, chocolate orange, lemon, peanut butter & jelly, almond, and banana!
- Design– Up, up and away, cakes for 2012 are getting bigger and better- not to mention higher. Think big and tall when designing your cake for 2012!
- Simplicity– 2011 was filled with very detailed cakes- lace, ruffles, designs from brides dresses, but in 2012, the details will take a back seat and the taste will step up to the plate, literally. Picture more white or ivory cakes with hand painted elegant designs and monograms.
- Flowers– Always a trend, flowers are a perfect addition to any cake design. In 2012, more uncommon flowers and color combinations will be seen- think pastels with a pop of color.
|Nell and Scott’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of John Shetron Photography
Price: Getting the most bang for your buck
Although I am only speaking in generalizations here, the average cost of a wedding cake for around 100 people is $500- though this cost varies depending on your design, flavor choice, and the cake designers notability. Lower end cakes can cost around $2 a slice, mid-range cakes around $5-6 per slice and high end around around $10 or more per slice. Also remember to include delivery charges, cake toppers, a cake cutting knife, and possibly a cake stand into this cost as well. If you’re trying to save with your cake consider these tips:
- Use the venues preferred baker, which will often include some sort of discount
- If you don’t plan on keeping your top tier, using it to feed guests instead
- Get a close family member or friend to make the cake for you
- Have one layer of the cake be real and used for the cake cutting but the rest be synthetic- but make sure you of course have a sheet cake in the back
Casey and Will’s Wedding
Photo courtesy of 217 Photography
If you’re totally lost after all these cake lessons, take this quiz, from our good friend Martha to help you get a start.
Also be sure to check out our blogs about Cake Toppers by Nicole and Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Cake by Amanda for more ideas!