A wedding cake decorated with a birch-tree look with a "carved" heart with initials inside and fall leaves sitting on a table with a red tablecloth

The wedding cake is often a major part of any reception. It can serve as a focal point to draw people’s attention. Many celebrations include a ceremonial cutting of the cake. It’s not surprising that people stress over finding the perfect cake. Take a few things into consideration to help with choosing a wedding cake.

Choose the Right Baker

If you’ve been to a wedding where you loved the cake, ask the couple who they used. Word of mouth can be a good starting point. Different bakers specialize in different styles of cakes. Search for bakers that create the style of cake you’re looking for and meet with them. Ask if they can do what you want in terms of decoration, flavor, and overall design. Take along pictures or make a Pinterest board. This gives the baker an idea of what you’re looking for and makes choosing a wedding cake easier.

Understand the Timing of Creating a Wedding Cake

Selecting a wedding cake and having it made often takes three to six months. Don’t leave it to the last minute and expect the baker to accommodate you. This is especially true if you want a super fancy cake you saw in a magazine or on Pinterest. Choose a wedding cake once you have a venue, a theme or color scheme, and your dress picked out.

Choose the Right Size

The number and size of the tiers determine how many people the cake can feed. Decide what size slices you want first. Ask the baker how many tiers you need to serve the number of guests given that slice size. Then tell whoever cuts the cake how big to make the slices. A three-tier cake typically serves up to 100 people. Larger weddings with 200 guests may need a five-tier cake. If you want a tall cake without too many tiers, consider using columns in between each tier. Using columns to make a cake appear larger is a great choice when the reception venue is large with high ceilings.

Think Carefully About Frosting Choices

For warm-weather weddings, fondant can be a better choice than meringue, whipped cream, or buttercream, as it doesn’t melt as these frostings do. Fondant is also the best choice for a smooth a. Those who prefer the taste of buttercream but want the appearance of fondant should have the baker frost the cake in buttercream before applying the fondant layer. Consider the colors you’re using when choosing a wedding cake. People may not want to eat a cake with frosting that will turn their tongues blue or green.

Consider Unusual Flavors When Choosing a Wedding Cake

Choose the flavors you love the best, instead of trying to please everyone. The wedding cake reflects you. So unless you love vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, opt for something different. Take the season into account. People consider certain flavors more appropriate for the summer, such as strawberry or blueberry, whereas others are more suited to the fall, like pumpkin. Another option is to have different tiers be different flavors. This makes it more likely there’s something for everyone but complicates the cutting and serving process.

Have a Tasting

Once you know what flavors you want for the cake, filling, and frosting, set up a tasting. Then you can see how the cake would taste with the various flavor combinations. Ask to taste four or five different flavors that sound good. The same flavor of cake can taste very different depending on who makes it. Even if you’re getting a relatively simple flavor, taste it before choosing a wedding cake and committing to a baker.

Make Sure the Design Fits With the Rest of the Wedding Elements

Before deciding on the overall design of the cake, choose the theme, colors, and other elements of the wedding style. You want the cake to fit in with the overall look of the wedding. Use flowers on the cake that match those for the ceremony or add the gown’s lace pattern to the cake.

Take Structural Considerations Into Account

Some cakes won’t work well for certain designs. For example, some types of cake are heavier than others. These cakes can’t have many layers stacked on top of each other. The same is true of light and delicate cakes. These types of wedding cakes may need to have each tier on a separate stand. They can’t always sit stacked on top of each other.

Understand the Pricing

Many bakers charge a base fee depending on how many slices the cake will serve. This fee can range anywhere from about $1.50 to about $15 for each slice. However, more complicated decorating schemes increase the cost. Fondant frosting costs more than buttercream frosting. Basically, the more work it takes to create the cake, the more expensive it will be. Because much of the work comprises decorating, using fake Styrofoam layers instead of cake to make the cake look larger won’t make the cake much cheaper than using real cake.

Opting for a Less Expensive Cake

Some couples opt to have just two tiers of decorated wedding cake. They use sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve the rest of the guests. Just make sure the slices from both cakes look similar. Choosing simple decorations, such as seasonal fresh flowers or fresh fruit can also help minimize the cost. Some people opt for one slicing tier and then use another alternative instead of cake to serve the guests. These alternatives include cupcakes, cake pops, doughnuts, cookies, or a  variety of other sweet or savory options.

Consider How the Cake Will Be Delivered

Coordinate the cake delivery with both the baker and the reception site. The baker may have to bring the cake in pieces and assemble it on-site, which takes some time. The cake may need refrigeration, so make sure the site has a large enough refrigerator.

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