There is more to ordering a wedding cake than you might think! Julie Heritage from Aunt Julie’s Bakery discusses what you need to think about when looking for your wedding cake.
You really need to think about ordering at least 6 months before you get married. Some suppliers can get booked up years in advance so it’s better to plan as early as you can. Your wedding cake designer will also need at least a couple of months to source the materials required in cake decorating, sometimes designs themselves can take a while to create. Before you contact any wedding cake suppliers, decide roughly how much you want to spend on your cake. This will make sure the supplier doesn’t create an elaborate design that you fall in love with but can’t afford.
Always meet your suppliers face to face so you get a feel for their experience and whether they are the right fit for you and your wedding. At your consultation the designer should have a portfolio of their previous work along with testimonials and samples for you to try. If you are unsure on what style of cake you are looking for, then get the supplier to mark images with what you do or don’t like. Any elements that you are particularly fond of can then be incorporated into a sketch of what your cake might look like. Normally wedding cake designs are matched to the colours and themes of your wedding. If you are on a budget, costs can be lowered by having a simple cake design and detail added with fresh flowers or ribbon.
Cakes are usually round but square cakes work well with modern designs and increase the number of portions. You can also have other shapes for your tiers such as hearts or ovals. If having a unique cake is important to you then think about how shapes can be combined, such as having round tiers on top of a square tier. If you are looking for something quirky then a ‘wonky’ wedding cake may appeal to you. Most contemporary cakes feature tiers stacked on top of each other, meaning fruit cakes cannot be put on top of sponge tiers. You can also have metal stands that display each tier separately or separators can be used in-between the tiers allowing for further decoration. Your wedding cake supplier will very often have stands you can hire to display your cake to save you money and time. This is especially important if you’re having cupcakes instead of a tiered cake as they will be most effective on a specialist stand.
The flavour of your wedding cake is just as important as its design, so ensure this isn’t neglected. There is now an enormous range of flavours that are available, work with your supplier to choose extravagant combinations! Couples usually decide to opt for a different flavour for each tier. Vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream is still a firm favourite, accompanied by a traditional fruit tier. Chocolate cake can prove irresistible too! If you are having a summer wedding or a dessert course as well as your cake, a lighter option such as lemon sponge is a refreshing choice.
Feeding your guests
An important aspect to your cake is how many wedding guests it needs to feed. You need to ensure your budget allows for a cake large enough to accommodate your numbers. Normally when cake tiers start to be over 12 inches in diameter prices sharply increase. Portion guidance needs to be checked with the individual supplier as it does vary, but on average a single portion is 2×1 inches. On average, a 3 tier sponge cake should serve at least 80 guests. If your budget is tight and your cake design falls short on the portions required, you can ask your supplier to provide cake cutting bars. These are rectangular cakes that are iced in plain white to reduce costs but still allow your guests to sample the same flavours of your wedding cake.
Before ordering your cake ensure there are no hidden costs with your chosen supplier. Once your cake has been ordered, check with your supplier how long it will last for. Sponge based cakes normally last up to 7 days if kept in an air-tight container. Fruit cakes need to be stored in the same way but can be kept for a year so are sometimes eaten on the first anniversary. The price should include delivery to local wedding venues and the setup of your cake so you know everything will be spot on. On the morning of your wedding check that your wedding cake is stacked correctly and level!