A Piece of Professional Cake

One thing is for sure at the vast majority of weddings: there will be cake.

Whether it’s a simple homemade pound cake or a professional confection standing five tiers high and decorated within an inch of your budget, most people do expect to at least see a cake of some sort at your reception.

Obviously, one can do without. I did. Mr. Twistie and I served our guests individual fruit tarts. They were a huge hit.

Most couples, however, will not only have cake, they will buy it. But have you ever thought about how a professional cake is made for a wedding? Here are a few fun facts to keep in mind that may help you make good decisions when it comes time to find and purchase your wedding cake.

Wedding cakes are not sold by the cake, but by the slice. Depending on what sort of cake you want, any special requests, how it’s decorated, how difficult those decorations are to do, and even where you live, that slice of wedding cake might be $1.50… or it might be $12.00. Things that ratchet up the price include: blown sugar decoration, cake jewels, fondant rather than buttercream, specialized shapes, extra fillings, and a whole lot more. Really think about how those details will affect your bottom line. After all, chances are you’re getting at least fifty and quite possibly a couple hundred slices out of that cake. It adds up quickly.

Wedding cakes take days to construct. That’s right, days. Don’t panic, though! Yes, the cake under that gorgeous, smooth layer of fondant is several days old, but it’s been well brushed with syrup (often simple syrup, but sometimes with a booze-laden one if you ask for it) which keeps the cake moist and fresh. The fondant also acts to hold the moisture in so your cake won’t be dry. Why do you need to know this, then? Because if you call your baker asking for a significant change to your cake in the week before your wedding (different flavor, different color of fondant, different filling) there’s a good chance you’re too late. The cake as ordered is already underway. Try not to make any changes to the cake in the final two to three weeks before the wedding.

If you’re decorating your cake with fresh flowers you’re getting from your florist, be very sure you let him/her know what those flowers are for. Many flowers you get from the florist have been raised with a lot of pesticides to make sure the blooms are perfect. Those pesticides are often nearly as toxic to people as they are to bugs. You want to make sure those aren’t the rose petals used on your cake. Better yet, have the baker source any flowers going on the cake. (S)he’ll know where to find gorgeous blooms that are safe to eat.

Never buy a cake on looks alone. Of course you want your wedding cake to be pretty. That goes without saying. Still, the most important thing about a cake is that it tastes good. Be sure to have a tasting with any baker you’re considering and pay attention to the flavor and texture of the cake. That’s one detail your guests will appreciate you paying attention to!

Oh, and while this is a little gross, it’s kind of a good thing to know: if your frosting or fondant is black going in… it’s lime green coming out again. Seriously. Just in case any of you are planning a Halloween theme or are really Goth and want a black cake. It’s just a little startling when it happens to you.

Good wedding cake isn’t rocket science. In fact, if you approach the question thoughtfully, it’s (wait for it) a piece of cake!

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