Before trying to pick the perfect wedding cake, you should know that this is not an accessory, nor something required by tradition and definitely something that you should take your time with. The cake needs to represent both the bride and the groom, needs to fit the wedding etiquette and it has to be an artistic moment, a masterpiece, and provide a beautiful image that every guest can take home.
1. Give yourself enough planning time – you’ll need at least 3 months before the wedding to take care of this. Deciding on the style and flavors, choosing the right pastry and tasting samples – these all take time. Not to mention that great bakers, who are in high demand, have their schedules filled many months in advance (especially during summer).
2. Think about its style: conservative, traditional, original? Multiple layers? Round or square? Big cake for everyone or different desserts, such as cheesecake, cupcakes, macaroons or crepes?
3. Choose the design and flavors. Do you have a general wedding theme or colors, to match? Choose flavors that also fit the location of the wedding. Passion fruit is the ideal choice for a beach wedding. Having a wedding at an Italian restaurant? How about a pannetone cake with mascarpone cream?
4. Consider the season. Winter weddings go hand in hand with a cinnamon-flavored cake, while fruit cakes are refreshing and ideal for summer weddings. Getting married in the fall? How about a maple cake, decorated with grapes? Or a pumpkin-spiced one?
5. Combine your tastes with the grooms. If you are crazy about fruits and he just loves chocolate, why not go with a chocolate cake with strawberries or cherries?
6. Any other decorations, that would fit your personality? Monograms out of sugar? Or perhaps even tattoos that represent you and your groom and can be replicated? For instance, I recently attended a wedding where the bride and groom had met while playing an online game together and their cake had a huge computer-topper.
7. You also need to consider the total number of guests because you don’t want to have too much left-over cake or end up discovering that there isn’t enough for all the attendees. Calculate how much cake you’ll need based on the number of guests attending the wedding. Each cake portion should have about 150 grams per person (check out a cake servings guide here).
8. Decide on a budget, on how much you are willing to spend on the cake. The price will depend on the size, the number of ingredients (toppings, flavors), how much work it requires and how popular / professional the pastry is.
9. Then it’s time to the find the right pastry for you. First you might wanna try asking the company that is in charge with your wedding catering if they have any options for a cake worth considering. They usually have their favorite bakers that they’ve been working with. If the cake is included in the offer but you are not too keen on the colors or the model, you can try negociating with the chef to see if they can create something that is more suitable to your tastes.
10. If the previous advice is not an option, it’s time to start asking around for pastries. Ask your friends that recently got married. Post a request on Facebook. Research online to see what other brides had to say (you can also catch a glimpse of the offers and prices).
11. Choosing the right pastry: when you find one that you like, head over there and ask to see a catalog. Are they able to customise cakes to your requirements or are they limited to the catalogue? Do they have your wedding date available? Do they have enough time and resources to get the job done? Give them details on what you want, on the wedding venue, the decorations, flowers, menu, level of formality. Share with them any photos of cakes you found online (Pinterest is a great source when it comes to this). Be very clear on your budget. Book a meeting to try out some of their recent works. If you can find a common ground with the pastry, you will have a cake that fits the scenery perfectly.
12. Pay very close attention to the contract that you sign. It has to include details on the flavors, the toppers, the number of levels and layers of the cake, how, where and when it will be delivered, who cuts it, what they consider to be a typical size for a slice, as well as all the costs (including down payments) that are involved. If possible, ask the chef to attach a sketch or an image of the cake. And don’t forget about the cancellation and refund policy – it should also be discussesed and clarified.
13. Last but not least: cake tasting. Your cake might look great and be instagramlicious, but it also matters a lot that it tastes as good as it looks.