More than any other visual element, the cake has come to symbolize the wedding. When it comes to your wedding cake, there are a range of options, but don't let them limit or overwhelm you. These options are just opportunities to create the mood and setting of the reception you have planned and your cake is a part of the romance and happiness of the memories you are creating for your wedding day.
Wedding cakes today range from the tiered cakes of old and the cascade cakes of the eighties to individual cakes cleverly arranged on a tiered cake plate to look like a wedding cake. At truly extravagant weddings, miniature versions of the cake are served to guests. Whatever your budget, a magical cake can be found to share with your guests.
Although important, there's more to consider than just taste. Many different flavors, shapes and textures are available in cakes today and they are a reflection of you and your sense of personal style. There are few limitations on flavor for cakes and fillings. Although there are many icing options, the two most popular are butter cream and fondant. Butter cream is a smooth and creamy and can be easily colored. Fondant is made of flavored corn syrup and gelatin, but it is draped over the cake instead of being smoothly applied with a knife. The result is a shiny, porcelain-like surface that is easily decorated. Butter cream frosting does not hold up well at outdoor summer weddings or in non air conditioned locales.
When choosing your wedding cake, as always, friends and relatives recommendations are a good way to find the right baker for your wedding cake. Cakes may be ordered from a bakery or caterer, but some hotels and restaurants may also be able to provide a wedding cake. However, you will probably be better off ordering the cake from a baker who specializes in wedding cakes. The best people make works of art, which taste wonderful and are made from fresh ingredients, not a mix.
Before visiting the cake maker, you will need to know the number of people attending the reception, as this determines the size of your cake and whether additional ones will be necessary. Bakers often base their charges on a per slice basis. If the cake you want is out of your price range, consider having a smaller version made for you to display and cut and serve sheet cakes with a similar decoration. Communicate to the baker the type of reception and decorations and give him colors to be used if possible.
As for decorations, cake designs tend to follow bridal fashion. Remember, with wedding cakes, the more labor-intensive your cake design is, the more it will cost. The cake top can be traditional or imaginative. It may include fresh flowers, bells, love birds, a bridal couple or rings. Plan to discuss the top you will be using with your baker.
The groom's cake can be any size, shape, flavor or theme. It can be sliced and served at the reception or boxed for guests to take home.
At the reception, spotlight the wedding cake on a separate table covered with a tablecloth and decorated with flowers and greens. Your cake knife and toasting glasses should compliment your overall setting. The tradition of cutting the cake with the bride and groom feeding each other cake and toasting each other after the cake cutting, makes a beautiful wedding tradition captured in photographs.
A reputable baker or caterer will be happy to show you photographs of past work. He or she will also arrange for a tasting of two or three flavors. You will be asked if you want to keep the top layer of the cake for your first anniversary or first christening, or whether you want to take it with you on your honeymoon. (Some bakers will bake a duplicate of the top layer for you on your anniversary rather than have the cake layer frozen for a year.)
Price, workmanship, quality and taste vary considerably from baker to baker. Here are some questions for the baker to answer before you make a commitment:
· Do you have photos of previous designs?
· Can we have a taste test?
· What does he or she consider a serving size (some suppliers have a large size if the cake is to be served as the only dessert)?
· When will the cake be baked?
· Can it be made with fresh fruit in season (this will help keep the cost down)?
· What kind of cake and flavors are available (is the cake made with fresh ingredients)?
· Will the cake be delivered in a refrigerated vehicle, if hot weather?
· What kinds of frostings are offered?
· Does the price include delivery and set up?
· Who will decorate the cake with fresh or silk flowers if they are used?
· Are there any extra charges or deposits ( some bakers charge deposits on plates, columns, and accessories. Find out exactly what these items will cost and get a written proposal)?