Even romance cynics and your friends who don’t believe in marriage will come to your wedding for the promise of a good piece of cake. Wedding celebrations have included cake since medieval times, and it’s one of the things people love most about going to a wedding—so the pressure is on to find a good one.
Thankfully, gone are the boring, tasteless, fondant icing days of the ‘90s. A modern wedding cake can be any size, shape, texture, and flavor that you can imagine, but this makes it even more difficult to find your dream dessert with so many choices available.
So where do you start? How do you find a baker you can trust? And how do you order one? Here are some tips for finding the wedding cake your guests will always remember.
When and Where to Start Tasting Wedding Cake
A baker needs a sufficient amount of time to make and decorate a beautiful wedding cake, so it’s important to get started with the process at least three to six months before your wedding day. It’s best to call ahead to any bakeries you’re interested in to confirm whether or not they can book your dates before moving forward.
You likely have a few bakeries to choose from in your town or in a city nearby, so begin the research early so that you can find a reputable one that will bring your cake vision to life. Get recommendations from friends or family on great local bakeries and visit their websites to see pictures and reviews of their work. Try to narrow it down to no more than two bakeries to schedule a tasting. (Any more than that and you won’t remember which cake belonged to what bakery.)
What to Do On Tasting Day
Wedding cake tasting day is one of the most magical days during wedding planning, so be sure to enjoy it! However, don’t forget to note which cakes you loved and what design you are planning on. Bring a notebook or write down the details in your phone so that you remember everything the baker tells you from the tasting session.
When it comes to picking out a flavor of wedding cake, there’s no need to do the traditional white cake if that’s not what you like. Literally go with your gut: if the strawberry cake was amazing or the lemon cake was out of this world, choose it. Don’t pick a cake based on what you think a majority of people may enjoy. If the flavors are good, people will eat it.
If you have a specific design in mind that you’ve pinned or found online, show the baker to see if they would be able to take it on or if they have any suggestions of their own. Luckily, “naked” cakes—ones without heavy frosting on the sides of the tiers—are especially en vogue right now, which typically cost less and are not as intricate as cakes with traditional decorations like dotted swiss. Also, have an idea of colors you would like for frosting as well as any additional decorative pieces you might want.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative
Like anything else at your wedding, let your cake reflect who the two of you are as a couple. Are you both Harry Potter fanatics? Ask your baker if she can create a cake that’s half Gryffindor half Hufflepuff. Are you obsessed with University of Oklahoma or Ohio State football? Ask your baker if she can decorate the cake with your team’s colors. The options are endless on what kind of creation you can come up with together with the bakery. The white cake with the bride and groom on the top definitely isn’t the only option anymore.
How to Order a Wedding Cake
The amount of cake you need to order (and therefore the cost) will depend on how many people you plan on inviting to your wedding. If you only plan on a guest list of less than 100 people, then there’s probably no need to buy a five-tier cake and a separate groom’s cake—unless of course you want to eat leftovers for breakfast for a month after the wedding.
Tell your baker how many people you estimate will attend the ceremony and reception and he or she should come up with a number of servings that will work best for your day. They will also most likely ask you if you’ll also be serving dinner, or if cake is the only food item that will be served. If cake is the main course at your reception then you’ll want to be sure to have a piece for everyone. However, if you’re serving a full dinner or other appetizers, some people might be too full to get a large piece at the end of the meal (to which we say, more for us cake lovers).
Make sure in your arrangements that you secure delivery as well! No one knows better than a baker how to transport your cake, and if something goes wrong, you won’t be left with a mess of a cake that they won’t fix.
Finally, there will be a deposit required when you book a bakery, so be prepared to cover about 50 percent of the cost upfront. Most businesses won’t require full payment until a couple weeks before the event, but you will need a deposit to secure your dates.