Let Them Eat Cake! – The Contemporary Wedding Cake

Are you ready to sink your teeth into a wedding day confection? Not many guests leave the reception before the cake is cut! Your delicious and decorative wedding cake is a tradition that will be featured in your many photographs for years to come. Therefore, add your own personal style when choosing your perfect wedding cake.

Choosing Your Cake

Traditionally, the wedding cake had to be a tiered, white cake with white icing. Nowadays, just about anything goes! Today there are hundreds of cakes that you can choose from, in a variety of shapes, colors and styles. You can order a cake customized to match your own unique taste and have just about any design and flavor under the sun.

When you are ready to start looking for the perfect wedding cake, these are the basics to take into consideration:

Size & Shape: The size of the cake will depend on the number of guests that you are expecting. If you are planning to save some cake for guests unable to attend, keep this in mind while determining the exact number of people. The traditional and still popular shape is round or square. However, nowadays you can use your imagination and choose from any unique shape for your cake. Keep in mind that a round or square cake will most likely serve more guests and is quickly and easily cut.

Design: A creative baker will help you design your own cake. Your choices here are endless. Look through wedding magazines and the baker’s cake sample pictures to find a wedding cake design that dazzles you. Modern cakes can be decorated to match the bride’s lace pattern on her gown or even the flowers in her bouquet. A particular theme from your wedding can be used to design the cake around that theme. Just realize that the more intricate the cake, the more expensive it will be.

Flavor: While it is essential that your cake appeal to your visual senses, it is even more important that it taste moist and delicious! Contemporary cakes come in a multitude of yummy varieties from chocolate or vanilla, to fancy carrot, cheese, banana, fruit or mousse fillings. If you are tempted by different flavors, you can have a multi-flavored cake with different tiers in different flavors.
Icing: The icing on the cake is traditionally white or ivory. A more contemporary approach is to match your icing to your wedding colors. Anything goes from dark chocolate icing, to pale pastels or bright colors.

Wedding Cake Etiquette

Here is cake etiquette tips for you to know:

o The cake is displayed on a beautifully decorated table, which goes in front of the main table without blocking the guests’ view of the bride and groom. A decorated knife is usually placed at the table.

o The cake is cut after the reception lunch or dinner has been served.

o The cutting of the cake is announced prior to the cutting.

o The right hand of the groom goes over the right hand of the bride, while they cut the wedding cake together. The first slice is fed by the groom to his bride, after which the bride serves her new husband.

o The cake is then taken away by a family member, friend or the catering staff to be cut. The cutting is not done in front of the guests.

o The cake is then served with coffee or tea. Know that once the cake is served and eaten, your guests will start to leave.

What to Ask the Baker

Selecting the right baker to create your wedding cake is important. A wedding cake is a work of art. Here are some helpful questions to ask your baker to make sure that you get exactly what you are looking for:

Ask to see their portfolio: Ask the baker to show you pictures of wedding cakes that they have previously made. This will help you to determine if you like the baker’s style and creativity.
Ask about custom designed cakes: Find out if the baker will custom design a cake from your specific idea or picture. Also ask if they charge an extra fee for this service.

Ask for a tasting: Ask the baker to offer you a tasting before you order your cake. Many bakers will let you taste the various cakes, frosting and fillings used for wedding cakes.

Delivery and set-up: Ask the baker if they deliver and set up the cake. Your caterer will not be happy if he or she has to set up a cake that has not been ordered by them.

Additional charges: Ask the bakers if they are going to charge you any kind of deposit for items such as cake tops, pillars, or columns, which will have to be used and returned to them. Inquire about costs if you fail to return the items. Also inquire if there is an additional charge for setting up the cake.

Ordering the cake: Bakers often require you to place your order at least a couple of months in advance. This gives them enough time to devote to making your cake. Once you settle on a particular baker, put down everything in writing and have them confirm it so that there is no room for any confusion later on. Make sure the order clearly states what kind of wedding cake you have chosen. If it is going to be a shaped cake, write down the exact shape or design that you have requested. List down how many tiers the cake is going to be made of. If you wish to store the top tier of the cake for your first anniversary, remember not to count its pieces for serving your guests. Also specify what flavor each separate tier should be of. The wedding cake order should include a little description of the decorations that you have decided on. Specify which cake topper will go on the cake. List the time, date and location of the wedding reception. Lastly, specify the exact cost of the entire cake, including any additional charges. If any deposit is given, write down the amount of the deposit as well as the remaining balance.

Do you know these Wedding Cake Traditions?

The wedding cake was originally made of many little wheat cakes. These were broken over the head of the new bride. This tradition was meant to bestow fertility and good luck to the new bride for her married life. Fortunately for the bride, this tradition is no longer practiced. The cutting of the cake was once cut only by the bride and was symbolic of her upcoming loss of virginity. In modern times this tradition of cutting the cake includes the groom as well. Cutting the cake and sharing the first bite with each other symbolizes the couple’s promise to share their new life together.

The top tier of the wedding cake was traditionally kept and used at the christening of the couple’s first child. But today, this tradition has been modified and the top tier is saved to be used at the couple’s first anniversary.

Another cake tradition is if an unmarried person sleeps with a piece of a wedding cake under their pillow, they will dream of their future spouse that night. This is one custom that is sure to excite the single guests at your wedding!

Wedding Cakes – The Top Ten Don’ts

First, don’t forget your color swatches

The best thing to do when choosing colors for your cake is to provide samples of your swatches to your baker. What you consider to be aqua blue and what your baker considers to be aqua blue may be two different shades of blue. This will ensure that the color of the cake comes out perfectly.

Don’t choose the cake filling for everyone else

When couples go to pick their wedding cake filling, many times they feel they have to please everyone. They say “oh we can’t get chocolate because not everyone likes chocolate” or “we wanted red velvet but our parents don’t like red velvet”. Our advice is to simply remember this your day, not every body elses. So when choosing a wedding cake filling make sure it’s the filling you and your fiance love!

Don’t choose an unfriendly color

Colors such as dark blue, red, purple, green and hot pink are sure to turn all your guests lips and tongues color. This may be an important factor to keep in mind as sometimes the groom will smash the wedding cake on the brides face. Not only will it turn her face/check that color, but it may also fall off and stain her gown. If your dead set on using one of the above colors consider opting to have it on the wedding cake through beautiful flowers or even ribbon.

Don’t insist on a family recipe cake

Don’t bother your old grandam to make your 4 tiered wedding cake with her special family recipe. Leave it to the cake professionals. They will make it just as good and will take the time and effort off your granny’s shoulders. Keep in mind if something goes wrong and the cake falls apart, a bakery will be able to make you a new one; your relative may not be able to.

Don’t forget about the cake stand and table

Cakes are beautiful by themselves, but when it comes to photographs of the cake it’s important to make the cake surroundings look as good as the cake itself. Make sure when your designing your cake you keep in mind the area it will be cut in, how big the table is and whether or not you have a specific wedding cake stand to use. All these elements put together will create a beautiful placement for the wedding cake that not only will enjoy, but your guests will too. Consider what flowers, flower petals or candles you want sitting around the wedding cake.

Don’t underestimate your baker

If you’ve sought out a reputable baker with years of experience in making wedding cakes, then it’s probably a sure sign that he will nail your wedding cake. So many cake bakers recommend not micromanaging them. This means try not to be too specific on how you want every little detail to look. Let the baker offer recommendation and a chance to exhibit his/her artistic ability. For example: your heart may be set on dark blue royal icing, but your baker will know that’s a horrible mistake for a cake outside in July. Just remember they are the experts and they know what they’re talking about.

Don’t leave it to a friend to make your cake

We know your friend from high school makes wonderful cakes for birthday’s and other events, but please don’t recruit them to make your wedding cake. We know it may save you a lot of money, but really think about it. This person is probably not licensed, uninspected, uninsured and will have a laundry list of reasons why your cake didn’t make it on time, showed up falling apart, was leaning the whole night, or wasn’t even near the color you wanted it to be. Save yourself from the heartache and go to a reasonably priced baker to get a good wedding cake, you’ll thank yourself for it later at the wedding reception.

Don’t pick up your own cake

Don’t forget with the charge of your wedding cake, you’re probably paying for a delivery charge. So don’t be foolish and pay that fee just to pick your cake up yourself. You’ll have so many other things going on that day, let the baker worry about delivering your cake to the venue. This way your covered if anything were to happen on the way to the venue.

Don’t make your cake too complicated

Many brides see these wedding cake shows on TV and think their cake has to be exactly like that. Many times incorporating too many elements can make your cake a big kitschy mess. Many times less is more, so try to keep your cake to a simple wedding design.

Lastly, don’t forget to sit back and eat your wedding cake

Remember to take the time to relax and actually enjoy eating a slice of your wedding cake. A good idea is to ask your caterer to save a couple extra pieces for you to take for your wedding night. This way your guests don’t snatch up all the cake before you get a chance to get over there for a second piece. If you’re planning to freeze the top-tier for your first year anniversary, make sure you remind your caterer to wrap it up in a freezer safe package.