Written By: Kaleena, Kaleena Cakes
When you were a kid, cake was a simple pleasure. Your choices were chocolate or vanilla. Candles adorned it on birthdays. On special occasions, your mom might wrap coins in plastic wrap and sneak them into the cake.
But when you’re planning a wedding, cakes ascend to a whole new level of complexity. Fortunately, Kaleena’s Cakes has answered a few common cake questions to help make the whole process simpler, smoother and sweeter.
When should I start looking for someone to make my cake? For an Okanagan wedding, we recommend reserving your baker six to 12 months in advance, or more for popular dates. Many custom cake shops are small bakeries who can only take on a limited number of orders per week.
How many servings do I need? We typically recommend ordering one serving each for 90 per cent of your guests. You can assume that a few of your guests will note eat cake due to allergies or dietary restrictions. If a big sweet tooth is common among your friends and family, order extra. If a lot of people have dietary restrictions, order a little less. If you want to save your top tier to eat your first anniversary, let your baker know so they can factor that request into their size recommendations.
How much should I budget for my cake? Establish your budget before you do anything else. When your baker knows how much you feel comfortable spending, he or she can suggest designs that help you get the most for your money. Costs for wedding cakes from most custom bakeries start somewhere between $5-7 per serving, so if you plan to have 100 guests, your budget should start at $500-700. If you’re working with a more modest budget, consider ordering a smaller cake with cupcakes or other desserts.
What should my cake look like? The internet is a great resource, overflowing with ideas for any style of wedding. If you have a general idea of the type of look you want, we can help you narrow it down and find the perfect design for your wedding and budget. We love designing new looks, so the more information you can give us about the overall style and theme of your wedding is very helpful.
Should I book a tasting? Booking a tasting with your prospective baker is a great way to narrow down your favorite flavours and ensure that you are happy with the quality of their product. Many bakers have limited tasting appointments each week, so book your tasting as early in the process as possible. Let your baker know if you have any allergies, or have your heart set on a specific flavour.
What flavour should my cake be? Picking a flavour can be the most fun part of the wedding cake process. Gone are the days of fruitcake and plain chocolate and vanilla. We can create just about any flavour you can imagine. Many bakers will make each tier a different flavour at no additional charge. When picking your flavours, it’s a good idea to offer two or three contrasting choices so everyone can find something they will enjoy. Your baker can help you choose your flavours so that there is a nice variety for every palate.
Should I decorate my cake with fresh or sugar flowers? Fresh or sugar flowers can add colour and interest to a cake. But which should you choose?
• Fresh flowers typically cost less than sugar flowers, and you can coordinate them with your other wedding flowers. But flowers wilt, especially in hot weather, so by the time you cut the cake the flowers may look limp. Flowers must also be properly washed so there is no risk of contaminating the cake with fertilizer or pesticide.
• Sugar flowers come in any size and colour you can imagine, so it’s easy to get the look you want. They’re safe to eat and can last forever if stored properly. However, they usually cost more than fresh flowers.
Weigh the pros and cons of each type of flower and make the choice that best fits your vision.
Should my cake have fondant or buttercream icing? Fondant and buttercream each have their pros and cons, and each can finish a cake beautifully. Some designs can only be achieved using buttercream, and others can only be achieved using fondant. Here’s a primer on each option:
• Fondant is a versatile product – it can be used to create unlimited designs. It acts as a protective barrier, protecting the cake from the dust and debris of an outdoor wedding, and the curious fingers of your guests. It also stabilizes the cake, making it easier to transport, especially on warm days. Fondant resists colour fading and bleed when the cake is decorated with ribbon or other items. Most people prefer the flavour of buttercream over fondant, so we add a layer of delicious buttercream icing underneath the fondant.
• If you prefer a more natural or rustic look, buttercream icing is your best bet. Buttercream can be used to create beautiful textures, and the taste is incomparable.
What other factors do I need to consider? Choose a baker who makes you feel confident and at ease. If you’re comfortable sharing your ideas with your baker, your wedding cake will look great and taste awesome – and more importantly, it will be a stress-free part of your wedding.
Check out your baker’s portfolio of past work, ask for references (many bakers will have reviews posted right on their websites) and go for a tasting.
Choose a baker who is licensed and insured; this shows a commitment to quality work and customer safety. An unlicensed baker might save you a few dollars, but it’s a higher-risk option; we’ve received calls from brides in tears because their baker cancelled on them with short notice. It’s an added stress you don’t want to deal with just before your wedding day.
Get a signed contract. A reputable baker will require a signed contract to secure your booking. This is where we will make all of our notes regarding your design and wedding day details. This contract ensures you and your baker are on the same page about everything from the design to the flavours to wedding day details like delivery times and rental equipment expectations.
Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all. There are no silly questions!
How many tiers should I order? The number of tiers you need is determined by two things: your guest count and the look you’re going for. Tiered cakes come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate every wedding. For example, a three-tier cake can serve anywhere from 40 to 100 people. Cakes are priced by the serving, so you could save money by ordering a three-tier cake with larger tiers – it would cost less than a two-tier cake with smaller tiers.
This table can help you decide how many tiers to order.