Flavor and appearance are the two most vital components of choosing a wedding cake. With the option of going to tastings with many different bakers, this is one area where stress can easily be replaced by deliciousness. Here’s a few pointers to help make choosing a wedding cake as easy as it is tasty!
Be sure to sit down with the baker in person, and look through his or her photos of past cakes. Make sure that the photos are ACTUALLY of the baker’s cakes (if you need convincing of the potential for fraud, check out cakewrecks.com for some true nightmares). As always, look at reviews online to get a general idea of customer satisfaction. Try to ask about price range per serving for each cake you are interested in. Visit our 10 questions for your baker page to get the skinny on more important considerations.
Most bakeries will have several basic flavors, including vanilla, lemon, and chocolate, plus a few bakery specialties that are a bit more complex. Ask for a tasting of any you are interested in; most bakeries are happy to do this for free, or at least waive the tasting fee if you end up ordering from them. If you are torn between two flavors, consider getting half the layers in one, and half in the other. Best of both worlds!!
Bakeries tend to use one of three icings for weddings cakes: Buttercream, Marzipan, and Fondant.
- Buttercream icing is a basic sugar/butter/milk mix which is very flavorful, can be altered to match nearly any flavor or color, and when applied skillfully can look beautiful. It is typically the least expensive option.
- Marzipan is a smooth icing made from almond paste- it can be delicious, but is dangerous for anyone with nut allergies. Marzipan may also be used to mold figures or decorations for the cake.
- Fondant is a very popular icing because it looks extremely smooth and beautiful, but there are some drawbacks. First, it is usually fairly bland, does not accept flavoring well, and has a rather heavy, clay-like texture. Secondly, it is made from gelatin, making it unsuitable for vegetarians.
Most wedding cakes are brought out for the newlyweds to slice, then taken to the kitchen to be cut for guests. One easy, sneaky way to save serious dough is by ordering a smaller “presentation cake” for the cutting, then making up the rest of the servings with far less-expensive sheet cakes. The sheet cakes have exactly the same flavor, filling, and icing, but easily be half the cost of a full size wedding cake. No one will ever know, we promise!!