No wedding is complete without a wedding cake. More than merely dessert, your wedding cake is a feature of your reception and provides a focal point for your first symbolic act as husband and wife. Keep reading for everything you need to know to choose your perfect wedding cake.
Wedding cakes traditionally come in two shapes: square and round. Expect to pay more for any different shape, such as heart, petal, or hexagonal. A stacked cake is where there is no space between layers. A tiered cake has visible supporting posts between each layer.
Since your wedding cake is as much a decorative item as dessert, wait until you have chosen your reception venue and theme before deciding on a style for it. Your cake will be photographed and should therefore sit elegantly beside the rest of your wedding elements.
The size of your cake will depend on the number of your guests, and whether you are serving it as dessert (larger slices), or with coffee (smaller slices). A six inch round cake will serve up to 12 guests. Consider whether you will offer seconds, and whether or not everyone will want cake.
The type of cake you choose can dictate the style you can have. For example, mud cake is very heavy and can’t be stacked as easily as sponge cake.
If you can’t decide on a flavour you can have several, as long as the density of the cakes is compatible for stacking. An alternative is to have a large, single tier cake accompanied by different flavour cupcakes.
Buttercream and fondant are the two most common types of wedding cake icing. A growing trend is for “naked” wedding cakes. These are either un-iced, or have a scrape of buttercream icing around the side, so you can clearly see the layers of cake and filling.
Consider the temperature at your venue. Will there be somewhere to keep a meringue or butter iced cake cool? Also ask about the cost for serving your cake – some venues add a sneaky charge for simply plating up your cake with a blob of whipped cream – you may find a self-serve cupcake bar gives better value in this instance.
If you are on a tight budget you can have a smaller cake for displaying and cutting, and a larger plain sheet cake in the kitchen to be served to guests. Alternatively, if you want the effect of a large cake but don’t have the budget or need for six tiers, your baker can decorate Styrofoam shapes to form part of the cake.
The more work that is involved, and the more exotic the ingredients, the more expensive your cake will be. Ribbon and fresh flowers look luxurious and will save you almost half the cost of sugar crafted flowers and piped ribbons.
You get more slices from a square cake than a round one. Avoid unusual shapes, especially those which need to be hand carved – not only will you be paying for the labour you will also be paying for the cake which is cut away.