Planning Your Wedding Cake | Sugar Sweet Cake Co.
Top Ten Wedding Cake Tips
By Kirsten Pridham, Owner/Chef of Sugar Sweet Cake Company
- Think seasonally! Yes, you may be planning this cake in the dead of winter, but your wedding is in August, peak season for peaches and cherries in our gorgeous valley! So why not try a dark chocolate cake with a fresh cherry buttercream filling, alternated by layers of Callebaut chocolate ganache? Or a vanilla bean cake with layers of Bavarian cream and peach preserves? If you’re planning a late fall wedding think pumpkin, pears, apples, spice and nuts; for winter: eggnog, ginger, and peppermint are seasonal classics. This is a dessert, so treat it like one, and make sure it tastes as good as it looks!
- Think about your reception location. You don’t want a rustic, woodland design for a bohemian beach wedding or a vintage, romantic cake for a reception being held at a modern art gallery.
The cake is just as big a part of the decor as the centerpieces and table settings. It should be a cohesive piece of edible art to be displayed as a showpiece at your reception.
- Keep an open mind. While you may have your cake already designed in your head, a professional cake designer will know that a cake is not all pretty details, and actually takes quite a bit of engineering to execute. Wedding cakes are heavy, and if not designed, assembled, transported and set up/displayed correctly, they can sag, crack, or worse, collapse! Trust your designer when they suggest that buttercream is just not possible for an outdoor reception in the middle of July (it WILL melt), or that stacking the tiers in a certain way is just not feasible. A professional should be able to design for you a beautiful cake that fits your tastes, needs, and won’t fall apart on your big day!
- Design an original work of art. More and more these days, couples come prepared with a multitude of pictures from around the web, especially Pinterest. This is great in that we can get an idea of your taste and style, but any good designer will let you know right away that they cannot guarantee an exact reproduction of someone else’s cake, nor should they. We can create something similar, or inspired by, but unless you hire the original artist of the cake, don’t expect a duplicate. You wouldn’t ask Monet to paint a Picasso…and wouldn’t you rather have a one of a kind original design anyways?
- Book early. The best designers book up quickly, and take on a limited number of weddings per day. 6-12 months (or more!) is recommended, especially if your wedding is during peak season (June-September) and on a weekend.
- Book a consultation/tasting if possible. Many of our clients are from out of town, coming to Kelowna for a destination wedding. However, many of them make trips to the area ahead of time for planning. This is the ideal time to arrange a meeting, and ideally a tasting, with your designer/baker. You want to make sure that the cake tastes as good as it looks (see #1). This cake should be eaten by your guests and raved about! And how are you going to know what you are getting if you haven’t tried it beforehand? It is money well spent (typically $25-75/couple), to have the peace of mind that you are getting something truly delicious.
- You get what you pay for. “Good cake ain’t cheap, and cheap cake ain’t good”. Our cakes are made with real ingredients, like butter, free range eggs, pure vanilla and buttermilk. We use fresh fruit, and seasonal ingredients. We use the best quality chocolate, and heavy cream to make our ganache. These ingredients aren’t inexpensive, but they make a better cake. It is amazing the number of bakers out in our world that are using mixes and artificial ingredients to make a “premium” cake. This is why doing a tasting is so necessary (see #6). You really can taste the difference that quality ingredients make, and so will your guests. So, set a realistic budget. This depends on a few factors, but ideally at least $7/serving minimum. If someone quotes you $1.5/serving, chances are they are using a mix (or are so inexperienced that they have no idea what it actually costs to make a wedding cake, and that isn’t good either…
- The price of your cake = size/servings + design + the experience level of your designer. The more servings you have, the more the cake will cost. If you have a simple rough iced buttercream cake with fresh flowers, it will cost less than a cake covered in hand ruffled fondant and handmade sugar flowers. And someone with years of experience and professional training will charge more than someone who bakes as a hobby and has done a few wedding cakes for friends and family.
9– It is important to let the designer know what sort of budget you are working with before beginning the design process. We don’t ask about budget so that we can rip you off and design a cake at the maximum end. We ask so that we don’t design you a $1200 cake, when your budget only allows for a $400 cake. Alternately, it also helps us to know if what you want is something super extravagant and luxe, instead of us assuming moderation. It is a waste of our time and yours! So be upfront and honest from the get go, and save yourself some disappointment and headaches. Most designers can actually suggest alternatives to help save you money, and still get the cake of your dreams on a smaller budget. They can also create handmade details and custom pieces for those who want more!
10- Have fun! Sampling and designing your cake should be one of the easier, and tastier, parts of the wedding planning process. It should be an opportunity to show your guests what you love and who you are, be that a girly girl and their prince who love pink champagne, vanilla and lace details, or a rock and roll goddess and their Harley loving partner, who savor dark chocolate laced with spice, and black fondant.
Kirsten Pridham, Sugar Sweet Cake Company