In the world of weddings, there are a lot of decisions to be made. One of these many decisions is choosing your cake. There are many different options for cakes, but not all of them will work best with what you want from your wedding day.
One of the main questions to ask yourself when choosing what type of cake you want is, “What flavours do I like?” If you are unsure what flavour will work best for you, talk to past guests at weddings. They can provide valuable feedback and help narrow down your options.
The decision of choosing a wedding cake can be overwhelming. There are so many options and decisions to make that you may feel like it is the hardest part of planning your wedding! Therefore, we have put together some tips for how to choose a wedding cake.
There are so many different types, flavours, and styles that it’s tough to know where to start. So, to help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular choices below!
There are three basic types of cakes: frosted buttercream cakes (vanilla), fondant-covered cakes (chocolate), and sponge cakes.
But in addition to these, you can also find fruit-filled or cream cheese-filled layers between the layers of cake and tiers decorated with flowers or figurines. So the possibilities really are endless when it comes to choosing your perfect wedding cake!
Do you want an elegant and traditional white cake or something more playful like red velvet or chocolate? What size do you need? Do you need it to feed 100 people or just 10?
You’ll need more than one layer if there’s going to be over 100 people in attendance because it takes time for each layer of frosting to set up before adding another layer.
If it’s smaller, then it might be cheaper too. How much time do you have before your ceremony starts? This will help determine if ordering ahead (which can take several weeks) is necessary.
Read on for more information about what to consider when deciding which type of cake will best suit your needs, as well as what different types of cakes look like in terms of design and flavour.
What To Consider When Choosing Your Cake
1. Start early.
Your venue choice can really influence the aesthetic and design details of your cake: Delicate buttercream icing won’t withstand the heat as well as sturdier fondant at an outdoor summer wedding, for example, so once you’ve secured your location, start shopping around for your baker.
2. Find your baker.
Word of mouth is the tried-and-true way to find a baker, but attending wedding fairs is another route. Couples have the opportunity to meet local bakers and see and sample cake without having to commit to a private consultation.
You can’t just roll into a bakery and ask anyone to make your wedding cake. If you want your wedding cake to be perfect, then you should look for wedding cake bakers, and word-of-mouth is the tried and tested way of finding a great baker.
If you have been to a wedding where you loved the cake, you can ask the couple who their baker is. Attending wedding fairs is also another method – this way, you have the opportunity to meet local bakers who bake for a less high price and see and sample cakes without committing to a private consultation.
Look for bakers who create the style of cake you are looking for and consult with them – ask if they can do what you want in terms of decor, flavour, size, and overall design.
You can also seek across social media platforms and get a clear sense of the types of different bakers to specialize in without having to consult with them yet. For example, different bakers specialize in different styles of making the cake.
But don’t be content with the images you see – it is more than likely that these are perfectly curated cakes to look great on camera. Instead, seek out online testimonials and reviews to give yourself a general picture of a baker.
3. Get social.
Like many creatives, I post my cakes in real-time across social media, so brides can clearly understand my work output and the types of cakes I specialize in.
But don’t be swayed by the swoon-worthy images alone. Instead, seek out online testimonials and reviews to complete the picture before you schedule a meeting.
4. Align your style.
Some bakers are highly specialized, and others offer a much wider variety of styles. I specialize in fondant cakes with a modern aesthetic. I don’t do buttercream or rustic cakes, but other bakers work exclusively with buttercream.
There are even bakers who only create naked cakes. As you explore and gather cake images, note the styles that speak to you. Whimsical? Geometric? Romantic? Rustic? Glamorous? Do you see a pattern emerging?
5. Take a meeting.
Once you’ve narrowed your search to two or three bakers (or even The One), the cake journey begins! Before even thinking about red velvet vs. vanilla bean, your baker will need the nitty-gritty details such as wedding date, venue and estimated headcount.
6. Bottom line basics.
A big part of my job is helping a couple prioritize where the cake purchase fits within their wedding budget. A good cake designer will make helpful suggestions to keep your budget on point while still meeting your aesthetic needs.
7. Consider the cost.
The cost of a cake is determined by the number of servings needed and the complexity of the design. Sugar flowers can dramatically spike the costs because they are handcrafted, time-consuming — and thus expensive.
I had a couple who wanted a spiralling floral cascade similar to one they’d seen online but couldn’t afford the extra cost. So I came up with several workarounds, among them using real flowers or going with one or two bold sugar flower accents.
8. Size it Up!
Your wedding cake doesn’t have to be big enough to feed everyone in the reception, especially if you invited a couple of hundreds of guests – it wouldn’t really be realistic. What you want is for it to make an impact.
But guest count should still be a factor when deciding how big or small your wedding cake is. Generally, three layers of cake will serve up to 100 guests (depending on the size of the cake) and five or more layers for 200 or more guests.
The size of your cake would also depend if you had a dessert bar or if you were serving other kinds of dessert. If the venue is a grand room with high ceilings, consider increasing the cake’s stature by adding columns in between tiers – this will make the cake appear larger.
9. Get inspired.
Your overall wedding style can kick-start the design process with your baker, but don’t stop there. Mood boards, images of cakes you love, your wedding colour palette, your dress — any and all of these elements will get the cake design wheels in motion.
10. Be fearless with flavours.
Some bakers charge extra for so-called premium flavours and fillings; others (like me) do not, so be sure to establish any cost upgrades at your tasting, so you don’t get hit with surprise surcharges.
I encourage clients to push the flavour envelope. For example, why go with vanilla, chocolate or red velvet when there’s praline and hazelnut cake accented with chocolate mousse and a drizzle of caramel to consider?
Your cake should be both beautiful and delicious: Don’t choose flavours you think everyone will like; choose the flavours you like. Remember, it’s your wedding, and this is your cake.
11. Think About Flavor!
Once you figure out what size your cake needs to be, then you move on to thinking about wedding cake flavours. The exciting thing is, this step allows you to taste multiple flavours of cake until you find the right one – but remember you are having a taste test, not a dessert buffet.
And to top that, there are so many exciting flavours of cake nowadays. You can be as bold and creative as you like with the flavours. Whether you want a mud cake, chocolate cake, vanilla cake, white chocolate, buttercream – the flavours are endless!
But be sure to follow your sense of taste, smell, sight, and even touch when choosing what you both love. If you love exotic flavours, think about your guests and make sure that there is at least a layer that everyone would love – a layer of the good old chocolate cake never hurt anybody.
If you have no idea or are overwhelmed by the list of flavours, you can schedule a taste test with your baker and see what suits you and your partner the most.
12. Tasty vibes — consultation 101.
I like to meet with a couple over a 45-minute tasting and design consultation. (The fee is $50 per couple, which is deductible from the final balance for the finished cake.)
I send a menu ahead of time and have the couple choose two flavours, which are served at the tasting, along with chocolate mud cake, red velvet cake and vanilla bean cake.
Couples also get to choose four filling flavours to try, plus I always provide samples of Swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache (both are used as frosting or filling).
The tasting is set up so that couples can mix and match the various elements. I always start the design process with the tasting because it’s such a great ice breaker — who doesn’t love eating cake?
Clients are asked to bring any relevant design inspiration (including images of cakes they love), and I always ask them to bring examples of meaningful things to them or their relationship.
After an initial discussion and budget evaluation, I sketch out several ideas, and we work from there to conceptualize a final design together.
Types of Cake
Here are some of the popular choices of the type of cake. There are more types of cake other than in this list; you can ask your baker for more information about these types.
This is a very light and fluffy cake made with vegetable oil and can be stored or frozen without drying out.
Sponge cake is another type of light cake but is more firm and is good for stacking cake layers on top of one another.
It is a rich sponge cake made with dried or candied fruits, chopped nuts, and spices and occasionally soaked in spirits. This cake is commonly used to celebrate weddings and Christmas.
Chocolate cake is a cake flavoured with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both.
Cheesecake is a sweet dessert consisting of one or more layers. The main and thickest layer consists of a mixture of soft, fresh cheese, eggs, and sugar.
A bottom layer often consists of a crust or base made from crushed cookies, graham crackers, pastry, or sometimes sponge cake.
Theme and Style
The best way to determine the appearance and design of your wedding cake is to consider your wedding theme, style, and colour scheme. It should also be a reflection of you as a couple.
For example, if you are planning on having a rustic-themed wedding, then a naked cake with a saturated colour would fit the aesthetics of your wedding. Make sure that the design and decor of the cake fit with the rest of the wedding elements.
Before deciding on the overall design of the cake, choose the theme, colours, and other aspects of the wedding. You want to fit the cake with the rest of the elements and not stick out like a sore thumb.
You can use flowers that match those for the ceremony. If you are having a traditional wedding, then perhaps a classic white cake with minimal decor would be perfect for your wedding day. There are so many possibilities and so many talented bakers.
We recommend that you create a board of your wedding cake style with images as references to different cake styles that you like.
This way, you can provide your baker with a visual reference of the overall look you want. Here are some wedding cake styles and tips to help you choose the perfect wedding cake for your big day.
1. The Novelty Cake
The novelty cake is perfect for creative couples who are bold in designing their wedding cake. This can be an alternative to your plain traditional cake, but it can still be a tiered cake but with a surprising factor.
Adding personality to your cake is a great way of showing what you, as a couple, have in common. Themed with something you both love, whether it be your favourite movie or where you met, incorporating something you both love or experienced, add a lighter mood for the big day.
2. The Naked Cake
The naked cake couldn’t be more perfect for the more selective couple looking for a mixture of overlooked elegance and unconventional style. In addition, the naked cake is a much more reasonable option for a simple wedding with no fancy fondant icing or overly fancy decor and toppers.
As vintage weddings are gaining popularity these days, this style of cake can greatly complement the vintage theme. Bare cakes can be surprisingly pretty and romantic. Simply decorated with real flowers and slices of fruit, the naked cake is a statement of refined taste.
3. The Traditional
Never underestimate the charm of a traditional cake, and never cross out this style of cake off your list. If you choose to have a traditional wedding in a church, with all the bells tolling – then a traditional wedding cake is the cherry on top. Don’t worry; you can still vary this cake and personalize it.
It is common that the cake is decorated with sugar flowers that match the wedding flowers and the bride’s bouquet and lace it with icing that matches the bride’s gown. It really is a tradition worth keeping.
4. The Contemporary/ Modern
For those couples who want a traditional cake but want something different, the modern cake is a great choice. This cake mixes traditional elements and modern designs, which brings a more flexible approach to the traditional way.
You can be creative with the inside of the cake too. So you can deviate from the traditional and have different cake flavours in each tier. Having different flavours and fillings in each tier is a great way of adding an element of surprise to your guests.
5. Miniature Wedding Cakes
There are many reasons why miniature wedding cakes are the best option for you and your wedding day.
It is one of the trending choices that give you the choice of not having to cut and divide the cake for the guests – you simply give them a piece.
If your wedding is off the road, mini cakes can be very easy to transport without worrying about ruining the cake. They can be arranged almost anywhere your wedding venue will be.
The classic figurine is the most popular choice, but more and more couples are opting for cake toppers to personalize their wedding cake further.
Choose something that represents both your interests, and it can be a sugar mould of your pet, figurines of your favourite comic action heroes as couples, or something else entirely.
Weather conditions play a vital role in choosing your icing – but if your venue is an airconditioned room, then you have nothing to worry about!
When it comes to the icing, it can be very delicate, and unfortunately, you cannot choose by taste alone – you wouldn’t want to have a beautiful wedding cake only to lose its icing and become a naked cake. So here are some of the best icing that you can choose from.
Buttercream is by far the most common type of frosting, and it’s made by combining a type of fat—usually, but not always butter—with sugar. In addition, buttercream sometimes uses eggs to impart a smooth and airy consistency, and the possibilities for adding flavour and colour are nearly endless.
It is the most popular icing for wedding cakes because it is so versatile. The icing is a combination of sugar, corn syrup, gelatine and glycerine. It is rolled out in sheets and then wrapped around each tier of the cake, leaving a smooth and clean finish to the cake.
4. Whipped Cream Frosting
Whipped cream frostings consist of whipped cream, powdered sugar, and flavourings—what could be simpler?
5. Royal Icing
Royal icing is a hard, brittle icing used for decorating cakes and cookies. You can make it from scratch using powdered sugar, egg whites, and liquid. Still, many bakers prefer using meringue powder, which is available at bakery supply stores and even some grocery stores.
Ganache is simply chocolate melted with heavy cream. This frosting makes a beautiful shiny coating on cakes and cookies. You can also chill and beat a ganache and use the fluffy result to quickly frost a layer of the cake.
Glazes are the simplest frostings. Powdered sugar is combined with a liquid to form a thin consistency. Glazes are usually poured or drizzled over the tops of cakes and cookies. This forms a shiny hard crust when the glaze sets. Melted chocolate can be used as a glaze on its own.
Delivery of the Cake
Coordinate and discuss the delivery with your baker and the reception venue. The cake may not be delivered as a whole but in pieces, and the baker might need to assemble it on-site, which takes a lot of time.
The cake may also need refrigeration, so you need to ensure the venue can provide a large enough fridge or help you find one.