If you’re reading this blog piece you’re either recently engaged and planning your wedding (congratulations!) or obsessed with pretty bridal things (high five! Me too). To both the former and latter, the choice available and the sheer amount of possibilities that you will encounter is often confusing. My guide that follows aims at dispelling some of this confusion and I hope to arm you with a bit more knowledge to navigate the wedding cake world.
Decide on the “feel” of your wedding
I’m absolutely obsessed with the “feel” of things – for those more in the know you may refer to this as the style of your wedding. For me, I think in terms of “feel”. Do you want your wedding to feel natural and organic? Do you want your wedding to feel modern with sleek lines? For me the cake is an edible centrepiece that you’ll want to be compatible with the look of your venue, the season, your wedding gown and flower arrangement. My biggest dread is when a bride asks me to design whatever I like – yes, I love creative freedom but I prefer this creative freedom on someone’s birthday cake, not your wedding day! I strongly believe that every cake that is designed is custom made for you therefore, bring along some inspiration so we can chit chat over a cup of coffee.
Select your cake designer based not only on their design and creation abilities but their rapport with you
There are so many amazing cake designers out there that the selection process may mean that there are a few individuals you have narrowed it down to that will create the cake you will love. Any wedding vendor that you work with will be over an extended period of planning time – work with people who you connect with. My mantra is that the design and creation process should be a journey together.
Have a budget in mind
Myth number one – when someone mentions the word wedding the price goes into the stratosphere. All cakes (unless premade and sitting there at the Cheesecake shop) are priced by sizing, design and ingredients. Think about the hours that will go into creating your masterpiece – from the size, complexity of the design to the ingredient choice. The cost can vary, but it generally ranges from $3 to $30 a slice (and beyond). Yes, that salted caramel and multi-flavour cake that you’re drooling over tastes amazing. BUT keep in mind your budget. Once you add things like a million sugar flowers and fondant on top, pricing will increase. The more bespoke the flavour you choose, the more cha ching is involved. The more elaborate the design, the more time intensive it is for the designer therefore will add dollars to every slice. And generally fondant icing is more expensive than buttercream.
Match the cake to your space
My guide to most couples start with how many serves do you need. A one tiered cake with four layers can cater up to 50 guests. But then think about the positioning of the cake. It looks a tiny bit ridiculous if you had a one tiered cake sitting lonely and being overwhelmed in a massive ballroom. Things to also consider is a cake stand to give it height.
Buttercream or fondant? Or naked?
I could eat buttercream straight from the bowl and prefer it to fondant. But there is significant advantages with fondant – from weather to the ability to extend the boundaries of design, there are often looks that can only be achieved with a fondant finish. And naked…who doesn’t like it when something is naked? (insert eyebrow wiggle here)
Outdoor wedding – please don’t have whipped cream for an outdoor event. Buttercream will need to be displayed only for a very short period of time. Ask your baker about summer icing options or opt for a fondant-covered cake, which holds up much better against the heat.
Have a detailed delivery plan
My suggestion is opt to have your cake delivered. When a wedding cake sits in my car to be delivered, I drive like a 90 year old grandma – I will also be muttering under my breath for help from the gods that everything is delivered in one piece. IT IS DIFFICULT TO DRIVE WITH A WEDDING CAKE. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS. Depending on your styling requirements, it may even require assembling on site. Also, consider that once delivered, will it need refrigeration time before display – plan this with your cake designer and your venue! There have been times when I have delivered a cake to a venue and been told that no, there is no room in the fridge for me.
You should have a designated, well-lit table. It’s so boring when the cake is just sitting on a plain table. It also looks a bit funny when you have a small round cake on a big rectangular table or vice versa. Drape the table with sumptuous fabrics, add flowers or a stand – it breaks my heart when we get to the finish line on the wedding day and the centrepiece sits a bit lonely.
Ms Zigzag says: I do not envy the nerve-wracking cake delivery drive! Thank you Mai Nguyen from Cayk for shining a light on all we need to consider when designing a bespoke wedding cake.
About the author Mai Nguyen from Cayk: Once upon a time I studied Finance at Monash University – then a carried my little briefcase and joined the big boys in the corporate world. Against everyone’s better judgement, I decided to take a break from finance and opened up a tiny little café serving desserts and coffee… bio continued here.