The Mindful Bride, Wedding Planner Tips from  The Cake


There should be nothing stressful about choosing the wedding cake.  Not to say that it’s not an important part of the day, but the wedding cake is light-hearted, delightful, and difficult to ruin.  Difficult to ruin does not mean impossible to ruin, but when a professional is hired the result is almost certain to be quality.

Selecting the pastry chef is not a part of the wedding planning process that needs to occur during the early stages; unless, however, the desired pastry chef caters to Hollywood stars and royalty.  Most brides should secure a pastry chef between 4 and 6 months before the wedding date, and the cake design won’t typically occur more than 2 months before the wedding day.  The price of the cake can range extensively, from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, depending upon the size and degree of decoration.  The more elaborate the decoration, the longer the time investment, and the more costly the cake.  Forget those extravagant cakes with precious gems and metals that only the extremely wealthy and royalty can afford (the most expensive topping out at 1.65 million!).  Pricing for normal people typically ranges from $1.50 to $12 per slice.  If on a tight budget, consider having an edible top layer for the bride and groom to cut, while the remaining tiers are actually icing-covered foam.  Sheet cakes are stashed in the back of the house, and guests are none the wiser.  This, of course, isn’t an option if the bride and groom want to cake cut and served from the front of the house.

Icing type is an initial question that your pastry chef will ask.  There are a few types of icing to consider, depending on the desired look, environmental conditions, and budget.  Buttercream is a popular and most traditional type of icing.  It’s the least expensive icing option, but tends to have a more traditional and simple appearance.  If the cake will be displayed outside or in a warm environment, shortening is more resilient than butter so be sure to inform the bakery of cake location at the reception.  Fondant icing has become very popular as of late, and can be used to create a very smooth, sleek and modern appearance.  It’s extremely versatile and will stay firm in more extreme conditions.  Fondant icing is more costly than buttercream, although some claim the taste is not as flavorful as other types of icing and somewhat thick and chewy.  Whipped cream icing can create a beautiful, soft look and be sweet and light in taste, but is very susceptible to heat and humidity.

Don’t want a traditional wedding cake?  Cupcakes have become a very popular alternative and can add some excitement to cake-cutting time.  The pastry chef can create a tiered, cake shape look using a tiered cake stand, with a large cupcake on top for the bride and groom.  Cupcakes are more casual, but can still have a place at a traditional wedding with sophisticated décor, such as fruit and flowers.  Be aware that people tend to eat more cupcakes than slices of cake if there are different flavors to sample because they are appealing and mobile.

Selecting the wedding cake should be fun and easy.  Enjoy the tasting and make sure the appropriate icing is selected for its place at the reception.  And remember:  everyone loves chocolate!