Each vendor you choose can make your wedding extra special, but only one gets to make it extra sweet: the baker! Choosing someone who will design, bake, and build your wedding cake is a big decision, so think about these questions before you make the final choice. The process of choosing can be quite delicious itself though, since many bakers will offer for you to taste the wedding cake options before you purchase one!
What Kinds of Cakes Do You Make, and How Much Can You Customize?
It is important to know the range of the cakes available from your baker. If, for instance, they make amazing sheet cakes but don’t specialize in multi-tier cakes, you want to know that at the beginning. The best place to start is asking to see a portfolio of some of the other cakes they’ve made before, since that will give you a good chance to figure out your own vision for your cake as well.
Once you’ve seen what they can do, discuss how much they are willing to venture away from their typical cake types. If you want something truly unusual, you’ll want to run those ideas by the baker and get an honest impression of how likely they are to be able to complete them. At the same time, if you are in the market for a good deal, ask what kinds of cakes tend to look beautiful but are common enough that they aren’t very difficult to assemble: cakes that still look very beautiful can sometimes be easier to make and thus less expensive. This applies to materials too: talk through frosting and decoration options based on cost if you want to make sure you get the best cake for your buck.
How Do You Charge and What Kind of Fees Are There?
Some cakes carry a flat fee for the whole cake, while others are charged by a per-person fee. The per-person rate may seem like a hard thing to commit to early in the vendor process, but one of the benefits is that the cake will be priced out for the amount of guests and there will be no possibility of running out.
Sometimes, though, there are fees beyond the cake costs: assembly fees, deposits ahead of time, cake cutting fees if a caterer is staying to do the cutting, and rental of cake stands are all typical. None of these fees are make-it-or-break-it when it comes to a great baker, but transparency is: you want to know exactly what the total bill will be so that you can accurately compare with other bakers you are considering.
What Cake and Frosting Options Might Work Best for My Wedding Reception?
Your baker knows weddings pretty well at this point, so pick their brain even as you are deciding what you personally might like best. Especially for outdoor receptions, your baker will know what kinds of cakes attract insects, which ones do poorly in direct sunlight, and which kinds of frosting just cannot stand up to anything warmer than a refrigerator. They will help you pick the best combination of sturdy, delicious, and beautiful, so try not to commit yourself to a whipped-cream frosted cake for your mid-June reception until you’ve talked it over with the baker first. This is true for more non-traditional cakes, including filled cakes or ice cream cakes especially: your baker can talk you through how to make a space at your reception where such a cake could thrive, or how it could be served in the moment rather than standing proudly in front of the guests throughout the dinner.
What Is Your Favorite Cake to Make or the One That Gets Rave Reviews?
Most likely, your reception will involve a variety of people who like a variety of cake types. While it is fine to go with some chocolate or vanilla, which tend to be common crowd-pleasers, your baker also knows about which more unique kinds of cake have gone over really well with guests. If her carrot cake has won awards but her chocolate cake tastes like most other chocolate cakes, consider getting at least part of the cake in the flavor that she does really well! With multi-tier cakes or multiple sheet cakes, you usually have the option to mix and match to some extent, so take some of her recommendations about what tends to fly off the cake table when people see it.
With these questions in hand, you can try a couple of baker’s cakes and make an informed and wise choice for your wedding’s sugary finale. Make sure that you also plan for the sweet wedding tradition of saving the “top tier” of your wedding cake to freeze for your first anniversary—bakers often can wrap this up for you so that you and your spouse get to reminesce about the fun you had the year before.