Wedding Planning - Your Wedding Cake
Never before have you been so concerned about serving the most perfect dessert on a special occasion. Indeed, your wedding cake isn’t just any other dessert. It’s a lasting tradition, seen at nearly every wedding reception, which usually holds its place as a gorgeous centerpiece at the celebration. Of course you want your wedding cake to be remembered- not just for it’s unique presentation or dramatic charm, but also for its delicious texture and taste as well. Many couples dream of an elaborate cake- one of which will make a grand statement that will also taste as sweet and delicious as it looks. And yet many other couples may wish for a less elaborate cake, still beautiful and definitely delectable. Though before anyone can have the cake of their dreams, they must first do a little bit of searching to find exactly what they are looking for.
Your wedding cake may be created from one of three sources: a commercial baker, an at-home (or non-commercial) baker, or from the reception site/caterer. You will most likely find that going through a commercial baker will afford you the widest variety of flavors and shapes. Begin shopping around for your wedding cake at least 3 to 6 months before the wedding. Interview each professional and ask them several important questions before making your decision. A great tasting and beautiful wedding cake requires a little legwork on your part. Here are some important questions to ask when interviewing each baker:
1. What size cake is needed to serve the amount of guests that will be at my wedding?
2. What flavor options do you offer? What filling and icing do you recommend with my cake choice?
3. What is the estimated cost for the cake I want?
4. Is there a down payment required? When is the balance due?
5. When will the cake be delivered to my reception site?
6. Are there any additional charges, set-up fees or delivery fees?
7. What is your cancellation policy?
Ask the bakery for photos of previous wedding cakes they have created. It’s also extremely important to taste a sample of their cake before choosing to hire them. Even though they may have a long list of mouth-watering choices, you will never truly know how their cakes taste unless you try for yourself. Many bakeries have specific times or days of the week when wedding cake sampling is available. Be sure to inquire about this beforehand.
Wedding cake flavor, design and shape options seem limitless today. From vanilla or devil’s food to cheesecake and carrot cake—there are so many choices available to brides and grooms. Fillings are equally as limitless, and many bakeries offer some of the most delectable options—such as mocha, lemon mousse, fresh strawberries and cream, kahlua cream, white chocolate, banana cream—the list goes on and on. The price of your wedding cake will be most likely based on a per person basis. Charges per slice usually start around 1.50-2.00 and go up from there- some cakes costing over 10.00 per person. A cheaper alternative, which is also quite popular today, is having the bakery make a smaller version of the cake you want and serving the same flavor sheet cakes to all the guests. (The sheet cakes are held in the kitchen and can be sliced and served after the cake-cutting event).
When you visit with the baker, you will most likely hear a variety of icing options to choose from. In order to clear up any confusion before visiting any bakeries, here is a short list of popular icing varieties:
Buttercream- This icing is very popular for wedding cakes. It is made of butter and has a very creamy, soft texture. The taste is rich and delicious. Keep in mind that this icing cannot withstand very warm temperatures, especially that of an outdoor wedding.
Rolled Fondant- This icing is made of sugar and corn syrup. It is then rolled out (with a rolling pin) and blanketed over the cake. This is a good option for an outdoor wedding, as it has a harder texture and won’t melt in warmer temperatures.
Ganache- This can be used as an icing or a filling. Ganache is made of chocolate and heavy cream. It is very rich and sweet.
Marzipan- Made by grounding almonds and sugar into a paste. It is often used to form decorative flowers or fruit for cakes, but may also be used as an icing the same way that rolled fondant is used.
Whipped Cream- An icing made by beating heavy cream. Whipped cream cannot withstand warm weather and is not recommended for an outdoor or summer wedding.
So now you’ve found the perfect bakery to create your dream wedding cake; the flavors will be delicious and the presentation unique. Do not forget the one very important part of choosing the professional whom will bake your wedding cake—get all information and agreements of the cake into a signed contract and keep that contract with the rest of your wedding receipts and documents. Soon you and your groom-to-be will be standing center stage; all your wedding guests surrounding in awe as your hand and his hand meet together to slice the first serving of wedding cake—which will then be indulged in by the two of you.