Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wedding Cakes - 3 Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Cake

Both the centerpiece of your evening and the delicious dessert, your wedding cake is a significant element of your wedding reception. It should be eye-catching and fabulous. (tasty too!) I've narrowed the process of selecting your wedding cake into three easy steps. Follow these, and you will have the confection that suits your personal style and budget.

Step 1: Determine your Wedding Cake Style

As the focal point of your reception, your cake should represent the theme of your wedding and reflect your overall vision. Consider the style, shape, color and adornments. Browse and collect photographs of cakes that inspire you. Make a list of qualities you like and don't like.

Make it Last

Don't forget to consider the longevity of your cake when making your selection. It may look like a work of art, but it is still food, and certain types will hold up better in extreme climates. If you will be holding an summer outdoor reception, opt for fondant icing over buttercream. While buttercream is tasty, it doesn't keep well in heat or humidity.

Step 2: Factor Cost

Cake cost is based per slice and is determined by how complex the overall design. The typical range is usually $2-$15 per slice. As a result, there are 2 easy ways to keep your cake within budget.

The first way is to choose a more simple design with minimal adornments. Fresh fruit and flowers are the cheapest, while handmade gumpaste or sugarpaste decorations are more expensive.

If you have your heart set on an intricate design you saw in a magazine, don't worry that the associated cost will break your budget. You can always improvise a complex design. Most wedding cakes featured in magazines use fondant icing, which creates that sought-after smooth look. Fondant icing is more expensive than buttercream, so ask your cake designer to create a similar look using buttercream icing. Many brides can opt for a smaller, intricately designed cake to showcase at their wedding, while the site holds simple sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve to guests.

When determining the cost of your cake, don't forget about additional costs such as shipping your confection. Some venues also charge a cake cutting fee of about $1.50-$3 per slice, which can significantly add to the cost of your cake.

Step 3: Choose your Baker

Before commencing your search for a cake designer, first determine whether or not your reception site allows an outside baker. If your reception site is the exclusive baker, sometimes the case with country clubs and hotels, you can skip this step - your work is done. If the site does allow an outside baker, pick a few local cake bakers and book appointments to view their portfolios. When meeting with potential bakers, consider look, taste and price. The one you choose should be able to create the beautiful masterpiece you desire at a price you can afford, and it should taste scrumptious as well. Ask to taste some samples to determine the talents of your baker.

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