Seven essentials to ensure your dream wedding cake
Tall! Stunning! A centre-piece that no one can take their eyes off…
smelling amazing, and standing proudly in your wedding breakfast room. Just waiting for the happy couple to be photographed as a newly married couple, cutting into their first cake together.
It’s more than a tradition, it’s about sharing your commitment to each other with your guests. That beautiful moment when the couple share their first bite of cake, feeding each other their first sweet taste.
Historically it symbolises the union of love and sharing that union by giving each of your guests a slice, spreads luck and joy to each of your guests. It is meant as a gift of love.
Many couples have an idea of what their dream wedding cake will look like, some may be lead entirely by flavour and will want some help to design their dream cake….
But all will have concerns of their own about their wedding cake, we have all seen articles about wedding cake disasters… so what do we do to avoid those? Here are a few suggestions.
Seven things you must do before you order your Wedding Cake:
1. Research the Local Market – Its really important when it comes to choosing a wedding cake that you pick someone with experience and preferably a list of professional qualifications.
Making wedding cakes, especially large stacked cakes requires a lot of skill and knowledge, the last thing that you want on your wedding day is a disaster! Its perfectly acceptable to look through a supplier’s social media and website to check the level of their previous work and compare it to to other people’s to find the style that you like best.
- Is all of the work shown on their social media/portfolio their own?
- How many cakes have they done and executed alone?
- Do they have the appropriate liability insurance and have they an up-to-date health and hygiene inspection rating from their local environmental health department?
These are the sort of questions that will help you to find a cake maker who is experienced. – No professional business should a problem with answering these questions in full.
2. Check Flavours – If there is a particular flavour that you would like, ask if it is possible to have it made.
Check if you can have a Consultation and Tasting before you book, no supplier should ask you to book before you have sampled the cakes to make sure that you are happy with the baking, fillings and flavours – some suppliers will charge for this service but it should be a reasonable amount of money.
Do they have the ability and knowledge to manage allergens? – A lot of the venues will require a full list of allergens and also liability insurance documents before they will accept a wedding cake supplier on the day.
3. Bespoke Orders – can they do them?
If so, do they have the experience necessary for individual tailor made cake designing?
Many wedding cake suppliers will work with a portfolio of 6-10 designs that are the only ones they offer, if you would like something different do they have the experience to make it?
Wedding cakes can involve a very wide range of skills and techniques in order for them to be executed cleanly and professionally.
4. Price and Budget – this is a difficult but very important one!
Some suppliers will be more flexible than others to work within a set budget – there are ways to cut costs – for example using fresh flowers rather than sugar flowers – but do they have the experience to know which flowers can be used and how to best keep them fresh?
Can they be placed on, into or near to the cake safely?
It’s important to be realistic with your expectations and budget. Have a look at your local cake designers and check their price lists before you set a budget.
5. Delivery and Set up – Is this included in the price of cakes or is there an extra charge?
Most websites should have a detailed section on this and a full section of terms and conditions so that you can see exactly what you are paying for.
Its a good idea to ask how the cakes are transported. Are they transported separately and then stacked up at the venue or do they travel whole? If the latter does the supplier have experience in doing this?
6. Wedding Cake Stands – can you rent these from the supplier and if so, what are the terms and conditions and policies with returns and do they require a deposit?
7. Paperwork – by this point you have a really good idea of who you have chosen to make your cake and what experience they have. However, make sure that you have some evidence of the detailed cake that you have ordered, either a drawing or even better a signed order form. – This should detail all of the aspects of the cake, flavours, the venue, the date, price, stand price and deposit, and should also have an up-to-date version of the business terms and conditions.
If you pay a deposit, make sure you get an invoice or receipt. – This is all perfectly normal business procedure and no supplier should have a problem with you requesting all of this.
Wedding days are so beautiful, romantic, and often so well planned. I have delivered to so many venues, when I walk into a venue for the first time I can be overcome with emotion… I have even been known to shed a tear!
The music… the flowers… the table settings, chairs and party favours…. Everything tying together perfectly to symbolise love.
Following these few suggestions with your wedding cake will help you to feel relaxed and in control of that aspect of your special day too.
I could argue that it is THE most important aspect of the day!
Enjoy planning your dream wedding cake, be brave, bold and take time to ask questions!
Joanna Clarke, Senior Pastry Chef
Cake Design by Joanna Clarke
Joanna Clarke is a highly trained and experienced Pastry Chef who has worked in award winning restaurants and country house hotels, moving from Pastry Chef de Partie up to Head Pastry Chef. She holds a Grande Diploma in Patisserie and Confectionery from Westminster London, where she trained under Chef Yolande Stanley MCA. She is a member of The Association of Pastry Chefs and also the British Sugarcraft Guild.
Joanna now specializes in making modern and classical, beautiful bespoke wedding cakes from her design studio and professional kitchen in Crowborough, East Sussex.