Happy fall, y’all!
Here in North Carolina, we’re in the busiest time of the year – October wedding season! It’s also the kick-off for ENGAGEMENT SEASON! That’s right! Lots of you lucky ladies will be getting something sparkly to show off at all the family gatherings during the holidays!
So you got the rock- now what? Wedding planning is a BIG TASK, and wedding cakes seem to be one of those things that just freak people out.
Hear me out, guys! They are NOT scary! And meeting with your cake designer (preferably me!) for a cake tasting is one of the MOST fun meetings you’ll have during the entire event planning process. (I mean, you get to eat CAKE!)
SO. Let’s dive in. Ten misconceptions about wedding cakes.
- NOBODY ACTUALLY EATS CAKE AT WEDDINGS.
Let me start with a caveat: people don’t eat BAD cake at weddings. Find a good baker (me!) as well as a good cake designer. (also me! #shamelessplug) Now, if you’re serving alcohol and a full meal at your wedding, people typically won’t eat as much cake as dry weddings or weddings with only hors d’oeuvres. However, you should still plan on serving the majority of your guests a slice of cake! (You know your friends and family best!)
2. “REGULAR” CAKES AND WEDDING CAKES ARE THE SAME, BAKERS JUST CHARGE MORE WITH ANYTHING LABELED “WEDDING”.
This is a big ol’ FALSE. I don’t know who started this lie that vendors charge more for “wedding” products and services versus other events, but it’s a LIE. I won’t speak for other wedding vendors, but there are A LOT of differences between a wedding/event cake and a regular cake that affect the overall cost.
All of my cakes (and most reputable cake designers’ cakes) are priced per serving. That means that however many people are showing up to your event, is how we choose the right size cake and the right starting price. My goal is to be as transparent with my clients as possible. I never want them to feel saddled with hidden fees or tricked into purchasing a larger cake than they need or want.
Just to prove that to you, here is my pricing algorithm:
Let’s say I’m throwing a party for 100 of my closest friends. I’m ordering a tiered cake in a basic flavor with a moderately complex design. I’ll also need it delivered and set up at my venue that is 20 miles away.
(100 Servings) x ($7 Per Serving) – $700
Design – $75
Delivery + Set Up – $100
Subtotal – $875
Tax – $72.19
(NC Sales Tax + Prepared Food and Beverage Tax)
Total – $947.19
Note, there is no hidden “wedding fee”.
There’s a lot that goes into making wedding cakes and large, tiered cakes. While we work efficiently to ensure that you receive the freshest cake possible, it does take time! We use high quality ingredients: not boxed cake mixes and grocery store frosting. (We also source our ingredients locally when we can!)
If you’re working with another cake designer and they’re being secretive with what they’re charging you, ask for a cost break-down. If you’ve booked a cake with me and have a question about the cost, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME! I’d love to talk you through it! If you’re considering booking a cake with me and aren’t sure if your budget is going to work, let’s chat! There are cake options for events of all shapes and sizes and we’ll do our very best to work with your event budget!
3. FONDANT CAKES ARE GROSS.
Let’s go back to the caveat I put under the first misconception: there is BAD cake and there is GOOD cake. Likewise, there is BAD fondant and GOOD fondant. Bad fondant is grainy, dry, and just has an overall unpleasant texture. It’s usually pretty tough and is applied in a thick layer on the cake. It also has an unnervingly “plastic” smell and taste. #yikes. Then there is good fondant. Good fondant is soft, smooth, and buttery. It’s rolled SUPER thin on top of a full coat of buttercream and has the smell and taste of delicious frosting. When you take a bite, it melts right into the buttercream so you don’t even notice that it’s a different medium. In case you’re wondering: I use Fondarific Buttercream Fondant on all of my cakes. Fondarific is woman-owned, made in the USA, and yes: it is as delicious as I described.
4. WEDDING CAKE FLOWERS ARE JUST THE “LEFTOVERS”.
I’m going to cede to amazing floral designer and all-around wedding guru Amanda Day Rose on this one. There ARE leftover flowers, but they should NOT be displayed! They’re leftover for a reason! Read her full article on Floral Design Cost Misconceptions HERE!
Your cake is essentially the centerpiece of your reception space. (Besides you, the blushing bride – or groom – of course!) Why would you want wilted or flawed flowers on it?! If you desire a cake design that has a floral element to it, it’s important to discuss that with both your cake designer and your floral designer: that way we’re all on the same page! Some cake designers (like myself!) have a go-to floral designer to provide flowers for cakes should the couple not want to order them separately. If you are booking your cake with me and want me to take care of ordering the florals- I got you!
5. CUTTING A WEDDING CAKE IS JUST LIKE CUTTING A BIRTHDAY CAKE.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wedding cake servings are defined as a 1”x 2”x 4” slice of cake – not the traditional birthday wedge! It’s important to have someone cutting your cake who knows what they’re doing so that you get the proper amount of servings. Additionally, tiered cakes are stabilized with dowel rods. A seasoned cake-cutting pro will know how to disassemble a tiered cake properly.
6. I SHOULD SAVE THE TOP TIER OF MY CAKE FOR MY FIRST ANNIVERSARY.
This is a tradition to which I say, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Will eating year-old cake stored in a freezer kill you: probably not. Will it taste good? No? Maybe? Ish? Best case scenario is that it’s a little dry. Should you just ask your cake designer for an anniversary tier? (typically included in your wedding cake package!) YES, YES, YES. If you’ve moved away from your wedding cake baker, use this as an opportunity to explore your new city and find a pastry purveyor that fits your fancy!
7. FAKE CAKES FOR DISPLAY AND SHEET CAKES FOR SERVING WILL BE CHEAPER THAN A TIERED CAKE.
This is a tricky misconception because in SOME cases, it’s true. (Hear me: SOME cases. Not all.) Ask any cake designer: fake cakes are not cheap to produce and when you factor in the time to make the display cake as well as the sheet cakes for serving, it USUALLY comes out the same as a tiered cake, if not more expensive. If you’re wanting Kate Middleton’s cake design but you’re having an intimate wedding reception of thirty guests, a fake cake is FOR SURE the way to go! Faux tiers can also be used to extend the design of a cake. For instance, if you only have 100 guests (a three tiered cake), but you want a fairy tale six-tiered cake, we can add the faux tiers on top which gives you the seamless appearance of a larger cake. (Insider tip!) Fake cakes are a great option for some events, but aren’t the right option for all events. If you’re interested in a fake cake or faux tiers, talk to your cake designer! (Me!)
8. SMALLER CAKES ARE CHEAPER THAN LARGER ONES.
Sometimes, but not always. Cake pricing STARTS with how many servings you need and the base cost of those servings. Flavor and design play a huge part in the overall cost of a cake. For instance, a vanilla cake filled with vanilla buttercream is going to be cheaper than a Belgian chocolate cake filled with a Chambord reduction, raspberry mousse, bittersweet chocolate ganache, the tears of our enemies, and edible gold leaf. (Sourcing the tears of our enemies is quite a task.) A smaller cake may also have a more complex design than a large wedding cake, and therefore take longer to produce. If you think you’re being overcharged, ask for a cost breakdown. Any vendor worth their salt will be happy to explain everything!
9. WEDDING CAKES DON’T HAVE TO BE DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL. JUST HAVE YOUR BESTIE/RELATIVE DO A DIY CAKE WITH A BOX MIX!
Let me say this one more time: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Your college roomie might be a great baker and can whip up a tiered cake with the best of ‘em! (She also might have great intentions, but has NO CLUE what she’s doing!) She’s also your maid of honor and is going to have things other than your wedding cake on her mind the week of your big day! Wedding professionals are worth the investment. So often I have brides give me the name of their day-of coordinator or wedding planner and it’s their mom, mother-in-law, or maid-of-honor. BRIDES AND GROOMS: HEAR YE, HEAR YE. PLEASE HIRE OR ARRANGE FOR A NON-RELATIVE/NON-FRIEND TO CALL THE SHOTS THE DAY OF YOUR WEDDING! Wedding professionals are worth the investment! I say on behalf of all wedding professionals out there: your loved ones are going to be emotional, your maids are going to be getting their hair and makeup done, and someone needs to be around to direct where things need to go and keep the day moving! I love DIY weddings. I had one myself! (Made my own wedding cake…. The day of my wedding….. I do not recommend that to ANYONE!) Don’t DIY your cake and don’t ask someone else to DIY your cake. There are a lot of factors that aren’t even cake related that affect the integrity of your cake. (Driving a wedding cake around takes a lot of skill!) And no one wants to be picking your Aunt Susie’s dogs’ hair out of their frosting.
10. TRADITIONAL WEDDING CAKE FLAVORS ARE BORING AND THEY’RE USUALLY DRY.
We made it to number ten! Whoohoo! Let’s go over that caveat one more time: there’s bad cake, and then there’s good cake. Trust me, my cake flavors are the farthest thing from boring, and I guarantee that they’re not dry! If you’re at a cake tasting that doesn’t let you choose which flavors you try (or even if you do get to pick), you don’t have to pretend to like every flavor. Everyone has different tastes and that’s okay! My feelings and the feelings of whatever cake designer you’re meeting with will not be hurt if you say you don’t like something! Having a summer wedding and want a little of the island flair? The Five-0 Cake is for you: coconut cake filled with white chocolate macadamia nut mousse and coconut buttercream. Chocolate fan? Death By Chocolate it is: dark chocolate cake speckled with chocolate chips, filled with bittersweet chocolate ganache and milk chocolate buttercream. Just recently we honed in our cookie dough buttercream recipe and it’s now a part of our wedding cake flavor options. You heard me right: COOKIE DOUGH BUTTERCREAM. Layer that with vanilla chocolate chip cake and cookies and cream mousse and I’m in heaven, y’all. (And yes, we have “normal” flavors too. Vanilla fans……..)
Have a question about wedding cakes? Send it in! I’d love to chat with you! Message me HERE!
Getting married and want to schedule a cake tasting? Do that HERE!