The Sugar & Spice Cake Company, Chelmsford, Essex 01245 602928
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Choosing Your Wedding Cake
Would you like flowers on your cake, and if so, do you want them to be real or made of sugar or silk?
Sugar flowers have the advantage of being made of icing with added gum, so there are no concerns about inedible products coming into contact with your cake. However, you may find that if you want a lot of detailed flowers, having them handmade by your cake maker may work out expensive.
If you decide to use real flowers, check first with your florist that they are not poisonous, and then ask them if they are able to source flowers that are not sprayed with insecticide or other chemicals. If this is not possible, you should speak with your florist and cake maker about how they can be kept from coming into direct contact with the cake.
Your wedding cake is a key part to your big day, and cutting the cake is usually the first thing you will officially do as a married couple, so it's important to get its design right. Some couples know exactly what they want, or have found a picture of their dream cake, where as others have yet to decide, or are simply daunted by the huge choice and design options that are available to them.
Wedding magazines and sites such as Google Images and Pinterest are a great place to start for inspiration, and to help you determine what styles you like and what styles you don't.
Most wedding cake makers offer couples a consultation where you can discuss your cake in detail and come up with a final design, however by giving some consideration to the below prior to your consultation you will be well along the way to your perfect cake.
There are lots of factors that will determine the size of your wedding cake. Firstly, the number of guests attending your wedding - you want to make sure that each guest receives a piece of cake to toast the bride & groom.
The number of servings from each tier will depend upon 2 main factors; cake type and serving sizes. Fruit cake servings tend to be smaller than sponge cake servings as fruit cake is a lot heavier and richer than light sponge cake. This means that you will get more servings from a fruit cake than a sponge cake. If you are choosing to serve your cake as dessert, you may also want to consider larger serving sizes than if you are serving your cake alongside an evening buffet.
You can get an idea of the sizes of cake you may require by looking at my 'information' page, but please 'contact me' and I'll work out the best size of tiers for you.
Large Tiered Cake or Smaller Individual Cakes?
Tiered cakes are still very much in demand, boosted by the increasing popularity of more traditional wedding cakes. However, couples looking for something a little different are choosing cupcake towers, tiers of mini cakes and also cake pops to provide a great wow factor.
A cupcake tower would probably be comparable in price to a tiered wedding cake, however, expect to pay more for mini cakes, refelecting the time taken to cover and decorate lots of little cakes.
Number of Tiers
Traditionally, the most popular number of tiers for a wedding cake is 3. Before the rise of roll-out fondant icing, when all wedding cakes were fruit cakes, the 2 bottom tiers would provide enough cake for guests and still allow the bride and groom to keep the top tier for their first childs Christening.
Today, most wedding cakes have at least 1 sponge tier, and if all tiers are sponge, you may find that 3 tiers is not sufficient to provide a piece of cake for all guests.
Other couples like the look of a 4 or 5 tier cake, but do not require so much cake. This is where 'dummy' (polystyrene) tiers can be added to provide extra height and impact, but without leaving uneaten cake.
Round, square, oval, heart, hexagon......there are lots of shape possibilities out there. And there is no reason when you have to stick with one shape; mixing up tier shapes, for example sitting 2 round tiers on top of a square tier, is a great way of adding elegant interest to an otherwise minimally decorated cake.
Off-centering tiers is also another great way to add extra interest and to make your cake a little different.
Fruit or Sponge (and what flavours to choose)
Most people have a clear idea as to whether they would like all fruit tiers, all sponge tiers or a mix of both. However, contrary to common misconception, it isn't necessary to have your fruit tier at the bottom of a cake. As long as the cake is dowelled and supported properly by your cake maker, a fruit tier will sit perfectly happy on top of sponge tiers.
If you choose to have one or more sponge tiers, you must then make the decision about flavours. Vanilla and chocolate are always a popular choice. Lemon is a wonderful summer wedding option, whereas Chocolate Orange lends itself perfectly to weddings in the colder months, especially around Christmas. Red Velvet in becoming increasingly popular, and Carrot Cake is a great alternative to fruit cake as it provides the warm spiciness of a fruit cake, but is lighter in texture.
A consultation with your cake maker will also give you the opportunity to try some of the flavours that they offer.
Do you want the elegance of an all-white cake, or would you like to add extra interest by bringing in some colour? Colour can be included in piping, sugar flowers and ribbon trims. Many couples are also choosing to have their base icing colour tinted, often in soft pastel shades, which can provide a modern twist to an otherwise traditional cake. Pastel shades can also provide a nod to the current vintage feel that is popular at the moment. Brighter and bolder colours provide a striking contrast against white icing.
If you have a colour that you would like included, bring along a swatch to your consultation. This way your cake maker can tint any decorations to the perfect shade.
Is there a theme or a 'feel' running through your wedding that you would like included? This could be something obvious, for example, a New York themed cake, refelcting your love of the city, or something more subtle, such as the pearls or lace on your wedding dress.
Let your cake maker know, and bring along any swatches, colour samples or mood boards you may have created, and they can offer ideas as to how this could be brought through in your cake.
Does your wedding venue offer the use of a cake stand, and would you like to use this? Pedestal cake stands can be used for 2 tier or smaller 3 tier cakes. Cakes can also be sat on 2 or 3 boards to provide extra height and interest.
You should also confirm with your venue that they provide a cake knife to cut the cake with. Your cake maker may be able to help you source a stand or a knife if not provided.
Cutting & Photos
Check with your wedding venue as to where the cake will be placed on your wedding day. Ideally, it should be out of the way of any walkway, but in an area spacious enough for people to gather and take photos of you cutting your cake. Your venue should also avoiding placing the cake table near any heaters, or in direct sunlight.
Your photographer may want to take photos of you cutting your cake before your guests enter the room in order to get the best position. If your photographer leaves before you officially cut the cake, ask a trusted friend if they can capture this moment for you, ensuring you have a wonderful memory to look back on for years to come.