Do you have a vision of the perfect wedding cake? Are your taste buds ready to go dancing? This is not the time to worry about carbs, so free yourself of that notion. Before you start calling bakeries or pastry chefs, jot down your ideas and explore some options. Then, grab your groom and get ready for the real fun: cake sampling.
As with everything associated with your wedding, decisions are dictated by how much you want to spend. And naturally, the more elaborate the cake, the more expensive. However, a beautiful cake does not have to bust your budget.
Choose a Baker
Once you’ve narrowed down a few bakers that you like, arrange a meeting for a cake consultation so you can share details about your wedding venues and your vision for your fabulous cake. Be sure to bring fabric swatches and photos with you so the baker can understand your concept and provide suggestions.
Chemistry should be immediate. The baker should be receptive and excited to work with you. If, however, they don’t take time with you, or they make you feel rushed, or they avoid answering your questions, move down your list to another vendor.
Brides on a tighter budget might find that grocery store bakeries offer great and affordable options. Supermarkets have zeroed in on the wedding cake business. In-house bakers or pastry chefs possess increasingly sophisticated skills that go far beyond decorative piping.
No matter what type of baker you choose, as with all of your other wedding vendors, it is wise to decide on your budget before you get carried away. Speaking of prices, cake prices are generally calculated by the amount of labor and hours the baker spends on the cake and on the number of guests you expect to feed. Most bakers price wedding cakes by the slice, which could vary from $1.50 a slice up to $15 or more per slice. Three tiers will usually serve 50 to 100, and you’ll likely need five layers for 200 or more guests.
If you have your heart set on fondant icing or elaborate shapes and piping, these labor-intensive decorative details will naturally result in a higher price. Fondant icing, flourishes of sugar-paste flowers, an abundance of piping, and elaborate shapes, will result in a higher price. To cut costs, have sheet cakes made with the same ingredients and frosting as your display cake. The latter, of course, would be discreetly sliced by catering staff in the kitchen, and then quickly set out for guests.
When designing or selecting your cake, you will want to reinforce your overarching theme as well as the season, your gown, the flowers, even the menu you’ve chosen for this day. As with most other items on your to-do list, do not wait until the last minute for this, or your choices might be limited. Whether four-star pastry chef or supermarket baker, the creator of your confection will need plenty of time to devote to the task at hand.
It may be hard to imagine, but not all the guests will eat cake. For lighter appetites, cupcakes or mini-cakes are a fun option while providing a variety of flavors.
Flavors and Decor
While vanilla remains on trend as the most popular flavor, it is followed closely by chocolate. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is a real crowd-pleaser, as is red velvet cake. Many brides are also choosing to have layers in toffee, fudge, coffee, carrot, and fruity flavors too.
You might also consider providing gluten-free or vegan alternative cake to accommodate guests with food restrictions or special diets.
Skip the Cake
For some brides and grooms, traditional wedding cakes are being replaced with a plethora of the wedding couple’s favorite desserts. The idea is that guests will enjoy a vast array of delicious goodies from cookies to pies to cobblers. Dessert buffet!
Cake Styles & Trends
No matter your style or budget, your wedding cake (or alternative to one) is a prime opportunity to tap into your creative side, enhance your wedding decor, and most importantly, delight your guests with a sweet treat at the end of the celebration.
If you’re getting married in the next year, you’ll want to check out these wedding cake trends that are making their debut, or continuing in popularity in 2020. From bold patterns and colors, to delicate artist-inspired details and even edible flowers, these wedding cake trends offer something for every season, theme, and table. Here are a few trending styles:
- Deckle edges – This type of cake is intentionally left a little rough around the edges, and the result is undeniably sweet. Deckle edge cakes give the illusion of ruffles (or even flower petals) encircling your cake, making this trend a fabulous choice for a romantic or classic wedding theme. The term “deckle” is actually borrowed from stationery. Perhaps you’ve seen wedding invitation suites and escort cards with torn or raw edges that create a vintage, antique look. You can go all out with this wedding cake trend by opting for multiple layers of deckle edges (add gold detailing for an ultra-glam look), or take a more minimalistic approach by choosing a smooth fondant cake accented with one deckle edged tier.
- Edible flowers – Edible flowers (yes, really!) are on track to be a major wedding cake trend. Couples are accenting their wedding cakes with everything from elaborate cascading flowers to fresh greenery and floral cake toppers, but this trend is a totally unexpected way to incorporate botanical elements into your dessert tables. Pansies, carnations, marigolds, violets, and even some types of roses are all edible.
- Get it in writing – The trend for wedding cakes with writing follows the fashion for monochrome cakes, as they tend to be white cakes with black iced writing. Many couples choose a single word or phrase, while others have a whole poem or verse in beautiful writing on their cake. A word about mono-grams. Why not stake your claim on your cake with your initials? This is the South, y’all, and a monogram is a great way to honor your newly shared last name or combination of your first initials. Customize the look with painting, piping, or appliqué. The options are nearly endless.
- Tile prints – From terrazzo to beach-themed mosaics, tile prints are one of the boldest wedding cake trends for 2020. Couples who want to make a statement with their wedding cake will love this trend, especially since it goes well with other eye-catching elements, like metallic foils, bright colors and geometric accents.
- Inky-Black Wedding Cakes – If your styles ranges toward the contemporary, let your love of modern décor set the tone. Black is one of the hottest new wedding colors and it’s a color that works with every color palette or style.
- Floating Tiers – This isn’t your mama’s floating tier cake. We’re talking impressive cakes that look like they’re doing balancing acts, but they are really sculptures. Bakers use
electromagnets to make the top tier float above the other layers. Whether they’re floating on flowers or 3-D shapes, a floating cake done right is nothing short of magical.
- Alternative Tiers – Non-cakes are a thing, so if you’re not a cake person, read on. Think alternative tiers of waffles, donuts – even cheese wheels if you prefer savory to sweet. This option gives you the same wow factor that you’d have with a wedding cake, but it also gives you the freedom to serve a dessert that you truly love.
- Understated Textures – It’s all in the details. To be more specific, you’ll be seeing cakes with a focus on unique textures in the fondant or frosting—whether you want it to emulate
something as soft as velvet or as “hard” as concrete. Get creative!
- Single Level – A single-tier cake is the height of trendy minimalism. Worried it won’t be able to feed all of your guests? Have a sheet cake to supplement (it’s the oldest trick in the book). Also, a simple design doesn’t mean the flavor has to be boring—use it as an opportunity to incorporate fun fillings.
More and more brides and grooms see their wedding cake as more of a decorative feature than a consumable, so designs are ever evolving. Once you’ve nailed your favorite flavors, have fun with décor. Bon appétit! ♥
Top feature photo by Sarah D’Ambra Photography