Friday, December 27, 2013

Wedding Cakes

Once you have your main menu planned you will need to determine dessert. There are so many variations that are acceptable these days that it is not simply selecting your cake. You need to decide if you are even going to have a wedding cake or if you are going to do a cup cake wedding cake, an elegant dessert or a dessert table. For now we will focus on the traditional selection of the wedding cake. 

For your wedding cake there are so many designs and flavors that are available to you that it can be overwhelming. Personally, I recommend thinking about what you like and don't like before you head out to the bakeries. Look at photos online or in magazines to get a feel about the designs that you are interested in. The baker too will have sample works but being able to show them what your vision is will be useful to them. Try not to get your heart set on any one cake design but rather pick at least three. The reason behind this is once you start going around to visit bakers you may fall in love with a baker who may not be able to complete the cake of your dreams but may be able to complete one of your alternates. This just decreases the amount of potential stress you could encounter.

Once you have picked your cake photos you will start to go around and visit with bakers. First and foremost you will want to find out from them if they are able to complete the cake you are interested in. Thereafter the fun begins of selecting flavors and types of icings. Keep in mind there may be some ways to keep costs down. Filings/flavors, icing type, sheets cakes and decorations are all areas of interest to inquire with your baker.

Fillings/flavors: cakes that have a filling are going to be a little more expensive than cakes without filling. The type of filling you select will also play a role in pricing. For example a fresh fruit filling may be more costly than an iced filing. Inquire with your baker on if they offer a tasting of the flavors and/or the icing options which will aid in your decision making process. I highly recommend picking one filling for the entire cake as well. I have come across situations where brides and grooms have selected different fillings for each tier. Since the smaller tiers will yield fewer pieces of cake you will run out of those flavors more quickly than the larger tiers. The issues that come in to play here are that some guests may request a slice of cake for which there are none left to serve. If you do decide to offer different flavors either enable to facility to simply serve the cake at random (i.e. not offering a choice of flavor to your guests) or prepare yourself that at some point the facility will have to turn down your guests requests when certain flavors have run out. As for the flavor of the cake itself, keep in mind that flavored cakes may be more costly than more traditional batters (i.e. a carrot cake flavored wedding cake may be more costly than a simple almond flavored batter). Additionally, keep in mind that you want a flavor that will be pleasing to the masses in order to ensure that your cake is eaten by your guests and not wasted.

Icing types: a more traditional icing such as a butter cream or whipped icing will be less expensive than a fondant icing. While fondant icing gives your cake a finished polished look it is more difficult to work with than traditional icings and as a result will typically be more expensive. Too, fondant icing may not always be an option for your cake based on the design that you select but your baker will be able to guide you in this area.

Sheet Cakes: in some cases bakeries will offer a better price if you opt to have a smaller display cake and make up the difference in slices in the form of a sheet cake. Note that in these cases, the sheet cakes are typically the same flavors and colors as your display cake. In doing this, no one will be able to denote the difference in the cakes cut from the display versus the sheet cakes. 

Decorations: the baker may be able to make the necessary decorations that you want such as fondant flowers or ribbon. These decorations may or may not add an additional cost to your wedding cake. If these fondant flowers increase your cost with the baker, check with your florist who may offer a package that includes your wedding cake flowers at no or little cost to you. Additionally, if you seek a ribbon decoration around the base of your cake tiers go to your local craft store and find the ribbon in the style and colors you want. The baker can use this around the base instead of fondant. Be sure to buy the ribbon AFTER you order you cake so the baker can estimate for you how many yards you will need to buy. In this photograph the ribbon around the base of each tier is fabric and matches the colors of the flowers perfectly.

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