Is Your Wedding Cake Maker or Baker Competent?

How to choose your Wedding Cake Maker

Along with choosing the perfect dress and romantic honeymoon destination, the wedding cake is often one of the most important elements to consider when planning a wedding. So how do you know who to trust to make your dream cake?

How do you go about selecting someone, usually a perfect stranger, to be given the responsibility of playing such an integral part to your Wedding Day? How do you know that they can realise your dreams and create a cake that looks and tastes good enough to be served at your wedding whilst remaining within budget and being delivered on time?

I am not going to answer these questions by recommending a particular Cake Maker, instead I propose to layout and discuss some of the factors that you should be considering when choosing your Wedding Cake Baker.

Location – Ideally you would want your Cake Baker to either be based local to yourself (in order to make attending consultations easier) or else close to the reception venue (meaning that your cake will have less distance to travel on the day and less chance of being damaged or delayed, it will also cut down on any delivery charges).

Familiarity – Are you the sort of person who would prefer to get to know your cake maker before you entrust them the responsibility of making your cake? If so then you have two options:

Get a friend or relative to make your cake – this has the added benefits of potentially cutting costs, however if the person you are asking has never done it before you may be putting undue pressure and stress on them. Logistics can also become an issue, especially if you have also invited them to attend the wedding (as depending upon the cake a lot of setting up may need to be performed on the day which may jeopardise their attendance at the service). Another consideration is that unless the person is particularly experienced or skillful you may be somewhat limited in the style of cake that they are able to create (remember that trends have changed a lot over the years – so what was seen as fashionable in your parents or grandparents day is often not seen as being stylish today. However if you are a relaxed bride that doesn’t worry too much about the specifics and budget is a more significant issue then this is definitely an option to be considered.
The alternative is to try and get to know your Cake Baker in advance. Initiate a rapport with them and if they have a blog or participate in social networking or writing articles (such as this one) then read what they are writing and get to know what drives them and whether their goals and personalities align with yours. You need to feel that they take pride in their work and that they will treat your cake with the importance and attention that it deserves and that they want to make your dreams a reality and not treat it as just another cake that they need to make in order to pay their bills.

Recommendation – Other people’s weddings are a great opportunity to see examples of a Cake Makers work, so ask yourself have you been to any weddings recently at which you truly loved the look and taste of the cake? If you did then your search might be over if you can get the bakers name. Otherwise do you know of any friends or family members whose judgement you would trust to give you a recommendation of a cake that they may have tasted or seen?

Reliability – An indication as to how reliable your Cake Maker is going to be can be gleaned from their reputation or testimonials and reviews that may be posted on Internet forums and review websites. However take any testimonials that a Cake Maker may offer you or display on their own website with a pinch of salt (they’re not likely to publisise any negative testimonials). Normally professionalism and reliability go hand-in-hand so try and assess how professional your cake maker is. Some Cake Makers take on so many bookings that a delay to one cake or an unexpected illness could jeopardise the delivery of your cake, however other cake makers deliberately take on fewer bookings in order to give themselves some flexibility.

Competence – Is your Wedding Cake Maker skillful enough to make the cake that you want and with the professional finish that you dream of? The easiest way to determine this is to take a look at examples of their work, nowadays most Cake Makers have websites which are a great way of reviewing a prospective bakers work and you can often get a sense of how experienced and professional they are from how they present themselves.

Delivery – Most Cake Makers will offer a local delivery and setup service, but it is worth checking just how local and whether they charge. Alternatively if your budget is tight then ask whether they allow you to arrange for a friend to collect the cake.

Tastings – The look of the cake is only half of the story the other half is how it tastes. Along with how beautiful a bride’s dress looked one of the other things most remembered or commented upon by wedding guests is how the cake tasted. So it is important that you are confident that the Cake Maker can deliver on taste as well as looks. One way of doing this is to ask for a taste testing (which is often combined with a Consultation) – be aware that some Cake Makers may make a small charge for such tastings.

Flavours – An important consideration in the overall taste of a cake is its flavour. Some Cake Makers (for instance Masie Fantasie) offer a wide selection of flavours, however even if not explicitly offered, specific flavours can normally be requested.

Consultations – A face-to-face meeting is important to ensure that your cake maker understands your specific requirements, also it can be an opportunity to discuss the finer points and details regarding the cake’s decoration or whether the cake maker can suggest any alternative options that you may have overlooked. So check whether you Cake Maker offers Consultations and book one for a chat today.

Deposit – It is a reality that most professional Cake makers will need to take a non-refundable deposit at the time of booking in order to reserve them to make your cake, this is usually a token of goodwill as once booked the Cake Baker may have to turn-away business if approached for another wedding on the same day (which becomes increasingly common during the summer months and especially at weekends). While we are talking about deposits it is also common practice for the remainder of the bill to be settled upto four weeks in advance of the wedding.

Availability – Be aware that good Cake Makers (like reliable tradespeople) can get booked up early, especially for particularly busy times of the year (such as weekends, the summer and especially weekends in the summer). So avoid disappointment and reserve your cake maker as soon as possible.

Price – Probably the biggest consideration is how expensive is the cake. Some Designer Wedding Cake Makers charge in excess of £1500 for a three tiered cake whereas other smaller and less well-known wedding cake makers can often create equally good cakes for a fraction of the price.

Budget – Is your Wedding Cake Baker able to work with you in order to make your cake within budget. I’m not talking about the crude process of haggling but rather, if necessary, whether the cake maker can use their skill and experience to suggest small modifications or alternatives that can bring the cost down.

Hopefully having considered these questions you will now how some further thoughts as to what to look for in a Wedding Cake Baker and possible questions to ask them.

Author: Adam Spear, Derbyshire Wedding Cake Maker

We are a leading Cake Maker in the Derby, Derbyshire area creating cakes that not only look fantastic but taste simply divine. We take a great deal of pride in our creations, so if you are looking for a reliable Cake Maker that you can trust to create your dream cake then take a look at our website to learn more about how we can make your dreams a reality.

Wedding Cakes and the Guests Who Love Them – Buying Tips to Protect Your Wallet and Tastebuds

Wedding cakes…a brief overview.

As a young lass (or lad) growing up, you’re probably used to cake at parties. After all, a birthday party without cake and candles is really just a get together in my book. That said, for the grandest of your parties, you must have the grandest of all cakes!

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about what a wedding cake is. If you don’t know that by now, you have problems too big to solve through a web article.

But simple as they are, here are the FAQs most couples have when purchasing.

Are they expensive?

Yeah. They’re a lot of dough! Sorry. Couldn’t help it. On average, Americans spend $575 on their wedding cakes and average around $3 per slice.

Why do some wedding cakes taste really bad? Are they frozen or baked fresh?

Ever been to a really great wedding, eaten a delicious meal, and had it topped off with a something that tasted like styrofoam wrapped in stale butter? Chances are good that the cake you ate was baked the night (or two) before and frozen until ready for serving. Not all frozen cakes are bad. They are baked to be frozen, and most good bakers know how to bake in a way to preserve the moistness and flavor you expect (and pay a fortune for).

Most bakers are reluctant to tell you whether your cake will be baked fresh or frozen beforehand. But you’ll get a good ideas based on how many weddings they can do in a weekend. If they’re serving cakes for 10+ weddings in a single weekend and it’s a small one-shop operation, there’s a pretty good chance the cake is being frozen beforehand. Otherwise, it’s mathematically impossible to bake 10 huge cakes in one morning.

How do bakers set their price?

One of the big cost drivers is the number of levels of your cake, or in cake parlance: “Tiers.” The higher the number of tiers, the more baking there is to do. Not only that, wedding cakes become more fragile as you add tiers. This adds to the complexity when delivering and will increase your pricetag.

Also, you should consider whether the cake tiers should be stacked right on top of each other, Big Mac-style. Or if you want small columns separating the layers of the cake.

Should I get fondant vs. buttercream frosting?

In my opinion, this decision comes down to one of taste vs design. People who make wedding cakes love fondant because it frees up their design possibilities. You can color fondant to any shade (think Tiffany blue!), mold it to any shape, and it’s easy for the baker to work with.If you plan on an elaborate design, or prefer an untextured look, fondant is for you. Be warned, however, that many people don’t like the way fondant tastes. It has a thick waxy feeling to it and is very sweet. It’s something to be tasted before purchased.

Buttercream frosting is when your focus is on taste. Hello people?! It’s got the word “butter” AND “cream” in it. The word alone tastes delicious! Buttercream is more of a traditional frosting style for wedding cakes, because of it’s white color and universal taste appeal. It can be used for almost any cake flavor (fruit filled, chocolate, vanilla, etc.).

What flavors do wedding cakes come in?

It used to be that you could have any flavor as long as it was vanilla or chocolate. But…oh how the times have changed! These days you can fill your cake with just about any type of fruit, liquer or cream center. You can even mix the cake layers so some are different flavors from others. A surefire way to find the first compromise for a newlywed couple! Be warned, however, that some bakers will charge you extra for having multiple flavors in the same cake. Definitely ask upfront if this is the case with your baker.

What fruit fillings go in wedding cakes?

If you decide to go with a fruit filling (and I highly recommend that you do, and then invite me to eat the leftovers), you should always be focused on picking a fruit that is in season at the time of your event. Remember that wedding cakes are ordered well in advance of the wedding day, so the fruits in season at the time of order may be different than what’s in season on the wedding day.

Ordering out of season fruit generally increases the cost, and adds risk that your cake won’t taste as fresh baked.

How does a cake that big fit into the backseat of my Civic?

Great question. It doesn’t. It fits into the back of your baker’s cargo van, and sometimes they charge you for this service. Make sure you ask if there are delivery fees associated with the cake. This can be hidden, so be sure to ask. Also ask how much decorating the baker will do when they drop the wedding cakes off. Will the dress it with flowers? Or leave it on the door step for someone else to “deal” with?!

What about the cake provided by the wedding reception site?

What about ignoring it? That cake is being outsourced to a baker skilled in the creation of wedding cakes, then it’s being brought to your wedding and added to your bill with a nice profit markup for the reception hall. There is almost no instance when it makes sense to order this cake over one you can get direct from a baker.

Be warned, however, that some reception facilities will CHARGE you for bringing in a different cake. They will refer to it as a “plating” fee or some other such nonsense, but it can cost over $1 per person if your facility charges such a fee. Better to ask upfront to avoid any surprises to your budget.

How many cake pieces do I need?

All you need is this formula: # of Guests – 10 = Number of Pieces needed.

Are wedding cakes coordinated with the reception flowers and other decorations?

You bet they are. In fact, wedding cakes are often the centerpiece of the décor for many weddings. Your baker will be familiar with his/her role as it relates to dressing up the cake for the wedding. But you should always discuss specifically what the baker will do upon delivering the cake. Sometimes the florist decorates the cake, but many bakers are happy to use the flowers that are being used for your wedding. But that means the florist needs to set aside some flowers to be used as cake decorations, and that means the flowers need to be delivered before the cake is delivered. See how that all ties together?

Keep in mind too that when using fresh flowers as cake decorations, be sure that none of them have been sprayed with pesticides or other inedible chemicals.

What do I do about a cake cutter?

Traditionally, couples pulled out a fancy cake cutter (like Excalibur or something) to make the ceremonial first cut of the wedding cake. The cake cutter then became another memento from the big day. If budget is an issue, we suggest you add a cake cutter to your gift registry as an item a guest might provide for you.

Alternatively, bear in mind that the reception halls almost always have a decorative cake cutter you use for your cake cutting. That prevents you from having to buy your own.

What is the groom’s cake? And do I need one?

Traditionally, the groom’s cake was a dark fruitcake and was sometimes served by the groom during the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes the groom’s cake was a few small cakes that were individually wrapped and handed out to guests to take home. The female guests would tuck these cakes under their pillows that night and dream of the man they would one day marry!

Today, the groom’s cake is still popular at southern weddings but in other regions it is seen as a completely optional way to add some extra flair to the wedding. It’s the one opportunity the groom has to show his affection for football with a cake shaped like a football helmet! Usually the cakes are dark (outside and filling), and there’s a good chance if you order it from the same place making the wedding cake, you can get a pretty significant discount on it.