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Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Cake!

Having been to many a bridal expo and talking to hundreds of couples looking for wedding cake, it became clear to me that not everybody understood some of the important things they should be aware of when looking for a cake artisan.  Let’s face it if you’re not in the industry or aren’t up on the lingo you may find some of the terminology used by professional cake artisans a bit confusing or think your cake artisan is speaking another language.  So, to help couples get a better understanding about all things cake related I thought it was timely to write a post to answer some of the most popular questions we get asked about wedding cakes.

So, let’s get started with the number one question we get asked…

You can get a good idea of how much cake you need from this diagram.

What size cake do I need?

The size of cake you require for your wedding will depend on a few key things, like how many guests are you having, and do you require dessert or coffee serves.  It’s important to remember that not everybody will eat cake at your wedding so it’s not essential to get a cake to serve the exact number of guests. The size of your cake will also depend on the design of cake you have your heart set on having.  For example, if you are having 80 guests and want a 5-tier cake then you are going to have left overs and be eating cake for many months to come, and that’s fine if you’re a cake lover. But the best size cake for you would be a 2 or 3 tier.

We bake in odd and even sizes so we can more accurately match your needs.

The second question we get asked is…

What’s the difference between dessert and coffee serves?

It’s important to remember that for weddings and special events a serve of cake is not a wedge of cake you would get when you go to the coffee shop and have cake and coffee, the portion sizes for events are much smaller.  This is because your event will have more of a formal feel to it and you will generally be serving cocktail style canapes, a buffet or a sit-down dinner which means people don’t need or want to eat a large portion of cake.  So, to answer the question if you are having your cake as your dessert then the portion size of cake is measured at 2” x 1”.  This may be served on a platter for guests to help themselves or it may be plated with some coolie and cream.  If your venue has already included dessert in your package or you are having a dessert table then you will only need coffee portions which is measured at 1” x 1”.  This may be plated on a platter next to the coffee station or as part of your dessert buffet and guests will be able to serve themselves.  Depending on who your cake maker is each serving will generally have either 2, 3 or 4 layers of cake per serve.

We offer 3 different height options and each has a different serving option.

Another important question we get asked is…

How much does a cake cost?

This is one of those age-old questions that I don’t think will ever have a standard or simple answer too.  Sorry, I know it’s frustrating but it’s important to remember that every cake artisan has different costings for different types of cakes and the cost of your cake will ultimately be determined by the size and the type of cake (buttercream or fondant) and the decorations on the cake.

The end price of a cake will factor in the above items but will also include labour, and this is where pricing will vary significantly between one cake artisan to the next.  An experienced cake artisan will be able to make a cake in less time than a hobby baker, but a hobby baker won’t charge as much because for them it is still something they do from time to time where as a profession cake artisan it is their job.  But to try to help answer this question as best I can you should expect to pay anywhere from $6 + per dessert serve.  If you are having fresh flowers or sugar decorations on your cake, then the price will increase accordingly.  It’s important to set yourself a realistic budget for your cake.  Don’t expect to pay $1 per dessert serve for a 7 tier extravagantly designed cake with cascading flowers to feed 200 guests, you may be lucky to find someone to do this for you, but I wouldn’t be trusting the quality of work or the taste.

Couples also want to know…

Can we collect our cake to save money on delivery charges?

This is a YES and NO type of question and will depend on the size of your cake and where you will be transporting it to.  I know that delivery charges may seem high but once you take into consideration that the cake artisan is an expert at delivering and setting up cakes (we do it day in day out) it’s totally worth the cost.  Having piece of mind and knowing that your cake will be sitting grandly on display as you enter your reception and not on the floor of your or your friend’s car (who kindly offered to collect your cake for you).  

Delivery charges will vary from cake artisan to cake artisan but as a guide you can expect to pay one of two ways:

1. set rate per kilometre – calculated on a return to base round trip

2. set rate per hour/part there of – calculated on a return to base round trip or a set minimum fee)

We suggest that single & 2 tier cakes can be collected, and we highly recommend anything in our tall tier range or 3 tiers and taller be delivered to your venue by your cake artisan.

Lastly, we’d like to cover....

How do I choose the right cake artisan?

Cakes are very popular at the moment and there is no shortage of cake artisans; be them professional or hobbyists, so how do you choose the right cake artisan for you?  Well I suggest there are four main questions you need to ask or know about your cake artisan before making the final decision.

Question 1

Is your cake artisan council licenced and insured?

I know it may seem silly to be asking this question but it’s a very important one.  Of course, nothing is going to go wrong with the hobby baker, your friend, mum, aunt, grandma, sister that you chose to make your cake.  But what if something did go wrong and your guests got sick from bad cake?  Who will compensate them or who will your guests sue if they are incapacitated and unable to attend work and loose valuable income?  When you are catering for large numbers of guests it’s important to ensure that everything is going to be perfect and that all foods at your event have been prepared to a high standard.  This also includes your venue/caterer not just your cake artisan.  All professional cake artisans should be licenced by their local council.  The process to get licenced is not an easy one so if your cake artisan has been licenced then you know the council regularly inspects their premises and that there are strict regulations and paperwork to adhere to.  If a cake artisan is not licenced, then it is very difficult for them to obtain the all-important public liability insurance that is also required of anyone running a business or accepting payment for cake.

Question 2

Have you tried the cake artisan’s cakes, and do they have a variety of flavours to choose from?

If you haven’t tried a sample of their cake how do you know it tastes good.  It’s important when choosing a cake artisan for your wedding to actually try the cake before making your decision.  There is no use having a fantastic looking cake if you and your guests are disappointed by the taste.

Question 3

Have you checked out their social media pages and read their reviews?

These day’s it’s very easy to check out your cake artisan’s work on social media and read their reviews, and this is something you really should do before making your decision.  You want to look for real reviews posted by the clients after their events.  Some people will offer a great run down on their experience with the cake artisan and comment on their ease of contact, professionalism, helpfulness, or taste and look of the cake whilst others may just comment on how much they enjoyed their cake.  Of course, not everybody has the time or inclination to post a review but the ones that do you can rest assured they were pretty happy with their final product.

Question 4

Have you meet your cake artisan and feel comfortable they are going to be able to make your vision come to life?

When choosing a wedding cake artisan, I feel it’s important to be able to meet with them face to face and discuss your vision and design.  That’s why we offer cake tasting consultations for our wedding clients, I believe it’s important to meet face to face and discuss designs and options thoroughly to make sure that your vision is my vision, I will also do up a rough design sketch at the consult just to ensure we are both on the same artistic and visual page and as a bonus you get to try up to several flavours of cake which ties into question 2. 

But not all cake artisans will offer a sit down consultation for various reasons, but the majority will and if they are unable to do face to face they will most likely be able to offer sample packs of cake for you to try.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be choosing a cake artisan I was not able to meet or at least try their cakes prior to spending a lot of money with them.

I really hope you have found this article useful and it has answered some of the questions you may have had regarding cake. 

Jo Lawinski I Owner/Cake Artisan I Cake My Day by Jo

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