Naddeen Smith, of Tavernspite near Whitland who is a good friend of mine, inspired this blog after she designed a Wedding Cake for our Wedding based on a theme of ‘Music’. She trained at Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthen passing with distinction on all 5 levels, including cake decorating and sugar flowers. Naddeen is a member of the British Sugarcraft Guild and is also an accredited judge for the British Sugarcraft Guild. She also does judging at ‘Cake International’ at the NEC and she has been Gold Award Winner several times at the NEC and Gold Award Winner at ‘Le Salon Culinaire International’ held at Hotelympia
While many aspects of planning, your wedding can be stressful and full of emotion, planning your wedding cake can be one of the most carefree and fun activities, especially awaiting that final unveiling of your ideas being transformed into this iconic wedding creation personal to the bride & groom. Parents, family and friends have a lot of advice when it comes to venue, dress, DJ, ceremony and food but the wedding cake should be and can be an expression of your own theme and personality. Here are some things to consider when designing your wedding cake
Do you dream of a huge cake that towers over you during the cake cutting or do you picture a ceremonial cake that is more minimal? Keep in mind the number of guests that will be in attendance. If your vision is of a large, grand cake you may need to order more cake than necessary to meet your goal. If a smaller cake is what you picture, you may need an additional cutting cake to feed all your guests.
Think about the big picture look of your wedding. Consider the atmosphere, traditional or modern? Ornate or simple? Vibrant or low key? Are you in a city or country setting? Some people want their cake to match and fit the feel of the wedding while others prefer the cake to be a vast contrast.
As in fashion, each year there is a new wedding cake trend. One new trend is making a Colourful Wedding Cake vs a Traditional White or Ivory Wedding Cake. Another trend is adding personal touches that showcase your hobby together or where you met or places you have travelled together. Some cakes are created Shaped Wedding Cakes that look like a Transformer Mask, a Travel Suitcase, a Lego Land Scene and other personal designs. Nothing is out of bounds.
On a personal level, Naddeen created for us a cake decorated with small icing ‘records’ with the name of songs that were personal to us. It was topped with a nice ornate old fashioned gramophone to depict our love of music and my personal love of collecting music and vinyl records that was to eventually to become my profession as a DJ for weddings, parties, corporate events etc. The cake is the second most thing photographed at a wedding only topped by the bride & groom themselves, so you want it to be something you will love to look at for years to come.
If flowers are part of your design idea your Cake Artist like Naddeen can create life-like flowers or whimsical flowers made of edible fondant, gum paste or sugar. These flowers can be eaten or saved as a keepsake. Creating these flower works-of-art requires a lot of work and therefore will probably add cost to your design.
Plan your budget ahead of time. While pricing for a Custom Cake is somewhat of a blind item, keep in mind that many designs are very labour intensive, requiring hours and hours of detail work.
To avoid pressure, it is a clever idea to start planning once you have the date of your wedding and a venue confirmed, ideally 12 months in advance. There is a lot of idea exchanging before a clear path is formed. Have notes on approximate number of guests attending, will another dessert be served in addition to the cake, colours you are using and style you like. Is your wedding to have a theme? It is always helpful to have photos of different elements that you find appealing.
It is good to know your crowd; are they adventurous or more vanilla/chocolate people? What will be served along with your cake? Will there be other desserts? If you are serving a fruit dessert a non-fruit flavour may be a good option or if you are serving a chocolate dessert you may not want to serve chocolate cake. Do many of your guests have nut allergies? If so, peanut butter may not be a good choice. While you want to choose a flavour that you like, you must also think about your guests. If you decide to go with different flavoured tiers, have your venue pass the cake or offer it on a buffet station. It can be awkward if one flavour is served to one table and another flavour is served to another.
When calculating the number of guests that you will need cake for, remember that traditionally the small top tier is taken home, frozen and enjoyed on your first anniversary. Make sure that you calculate your servings properly and communicate to your venue that you would like to take the top home.
When speaking with the person who is to make your wedding cake, share your budget range, design ideas, wedding colours and style and any other details that will help her come up with a cake that works for you. Many people are reluctant to discuss their budget but it is a good starting place. You may have to adjust your vision to meet your financial goal or take money from another area to create the design you are looking for.
Designing your Wedding Cake should be one of the most fun tasks of your wedding planning experience. Remember, there is no right or wrong choice, just your choice. Your wedding cake should be as unique as your love for each other.
Thanks also to the Butterfly Bakeshop for their input to this Blog.