Wedding Cake Countdown…
1 year to 18 months
It’s never too early to start planning for your perfect day! Depending on the date you would like you may be wise to start planning a year ahead as many suppliers get booked up quickly during the ‘wedding season’ April to August. Although you may not have a definite idea of how you would like your cake to look and taste it’s worth checking out your favourite cake designers for ideas and prices and whether they would have your date available.
Once you have an idea of guest numbers you will be able to request provisional quotes from cake decorators. You will need to consider how many guests will want a piece of cake. If you are serving the cake as dessert then you will need a larger portion per person but if it is in addition to dessert, a 1” x 1” portion per person will be adequate. Your cake designer will then advise you about what size cake you will need. If you want to keep costs down you can ask for a ‘cutting’ cake in addition to a smaller decorated one which will give more portions without the cost of decoration.
6 to 12 months
Time to taste some cake! Most cake designers will offer a wedding cake consultation where you can meet with them and chat about your ideas and taste some cake. Think about your flavours – there are so many combinations to choose from and your cake decorator will be able to help you with some ideas. If you are having a tiered cake you could have different flavours for each tier but if you choose sponge cake it will need to be eaten within a few days. A fruit cake will last much longer, so consider when you will be cutting the cake and when your guests will be eating it. Some designers charge for wedding cake consultations but some will discount the price from the cake order.
Consider whether you will need to provide for special dietary requirements. Your cake decorator should be able to prepare cakes for most needs. You can also request any modifications such as less fruit in your fruit cake.
A cake designer will probably not be able to give a definite price until the size, flavours and design of the cake are decided but they can give you price guides and options. Make sure you let them know what your budget is so that they can create a cake design to fit what you need.
If you have ideas, wedding colours, theme and/or photos of things you have seen, take these along to your cake designer. All your ideas can be incorporated into the design. Even if you want a very simple cake it will help to give an idea of how you would like your dream cake to look.
Along with the number of guests expected your cake designer will need to know the venue details for delivery and setting up and whether there will be a cake table ready. You will need to check with the venue whether they can provide a knife to cut the cake and whether they have a cake stand you can use. If not, you will need to talk to your cake designer about hiring these.
You will need to pay a deposit to secure your booking and the cake designer will give you a completed cake order with all the details for your records. The final balance will be due on or before the wedding date.
3 – 6 months
Go through your order form and make sure all the details are correct. Check when the final payment is due for your wedding cake.
Make sure your designer has any colour swatches needed.
Check with your caterer whether they can cut the cake for you into the required portions. Some venues/ caterers charge for this service.
Confirm all the order details with your cake designer – from final payment to delivery and set up instructions.
How to choose your dream wedding cake design…
Cutting your wedding cake…
Cutting the wedding cake is an important part of wedding tradition and a photo opportunity so you will need to think about when the best time to do this would be. If you want to serve it as dessert following a main meal or at a tea party type reception, it can be served before or after speeches.
If you want to serve your cake during the evening reception try to do this fairly early on so that guests have time to enjoy a slice before drinking and dancing the night away. A good time is before the bride and groom’s first dance.
Think about whether you will need to buy some little boxes for guests to take a slice of cake home or for guests who couldn’t be present.
It’s a good idea to decide beforehand whether you want to actually cut the cake or just to pose for a photograph and leave the cutting to your caterers.
Traditionally couples would save the top tier of their wedding cake to use as a christening cake or for their first year anniversary. The cake would need to be a rich fruit cake to do this as sponge doesn’t keep for more than a few days. Freezing cakes is an option but is not ideal so you could check whether your cake maker could make a cake for your anniversary to match the wedding cake.
Cakes need to be cut with care, particularly fruit cakes and carrot cakes which can crumble if not handled carefully. Use a long bladed serrated saw knife, which must be SHARP – ornamental cake cutting knives used for photos are usually not sharp enough. Use a clean damp cloth to clean and moisten the blade between each cut – this will help stop the knife dragging on the cake crumb. Use a sawing action with the serrated blade – don’t just push the knife downwards – and make sure to cut all the way to the base board.
Decorated cakes should NOT be stored in a refrigerator. If the cake is not to be displayed straight away, it should be stored in the box in a cool room, somewhere where it will not be moved or knocked and away from condensation.
Decorated rich fruit cakes will keep for several months if kept away from heat, light and condensation, but sponge cakes should ideally be consumed immediately.