How To Pick A Wedding Cake
From picking flavours, styles and sizes to alternative wedding cakes, we’re here to help you find the perfect wedding cake for you and your guests on your big day!
Wedding cake tradition
Sweet puddings have played a huge part in weddings for hundreds of years – sometimes in the form of pies or other bakes but more recently as the symbolic cake we all know and love today. Referred to as ‘the bride’s cake’ in the 1800s, it became common to have a pure white cake to reflect the purity of the bride. And. why the tiers? Find out more below!
You may have wondered why wedding cakes are traditionally so big and tall… is it to ensure there’s enough to go around or is it just people showing off? Well, the real reason why sections of cake, called tiers, became commonplace at weddings is said to be down to Chinese ancestry. According to experts, the bottom layer would have been cut first and offered to the eldest members of the family to honour their position as the foundation of the family, and so on.
There are, of course, many other traditions and superstitions related to the wedding cake from all over the world making it a fascinating element of the big day!
A rich fruit cake isn’t necessarily something you would choose from the bakery, but in the UK and America this has been the choice of wedding cake filling for decades. However, more diverse flavour options are available from most cake makers nowadays, as you’ll see below.
If choosing a multi-layered cake, then you could have the best of both worlds with a traditional fruit cake and something a little lighter on the palette too!
Modern, different types of wedding cakes
Wedding cake shapes
Most wedding cakes are made in circular sections and stacked one upon the other. Some tiered cakes will rise with smaller layers to create a tower effect whereas others will go straight up in equal quantities. That said, it is also possible to request square, oval or other shaped cake when ordering your cake.
If you fancy something a little different from the norm then you could ask to see some of their past designs for inspiration!
Wedding cake flavours
As previously mentioned, those couples with a particularly traditional wedding may opt for a fruit cake filling, but there are many different flavours available for your wedding cake. Just speak to your cake maker to discover their range of ingredients. For instance, you might like lemon, chocolate, vanilla or even carrot…
Some brides and grooms like to match their wedding cake to their theme so, for example, if you have a red or burgundy colour theme then red velvet might fit the bill perfectly, or if you have a rustic boho feel then you might wish to go for a ‘naked’ vanilla sponge cake topped with berries and a dusting of icing sugar.
Wedding cake sizes
Although tiered cakes are a symbol of weddings, one may not be necessary if you have a small guest list and don’t want to waste food. Therefore, more simplistic designs have become increasingly popular for smaller weddings.
If, however, you have your heart set on a towering cake, then you can ask your cake maker if they are able to provide fake tiers. Some bakers use polystyrene to replace sponge when creating some of their showstopping cakes!
Wedding cake alternatives
Although we’ve talked a lot about tradition, you are not bound by these conventions. As it is your wedding, you can choose whether to have a wedding cake or pick an alternative sweet treat (if any at all).
For those who want something less traditional but with the same impact as a wedding cake, cupcake or profiterole towers are fantastic options, as is a cheese-cake – i.e. a selection of cheeses formed to look like a cake! The latter is something that your guests won’t expect and would work brilliantly as a centrepiece to your buffet table!
How much are wedding cakes?
There is no set price for a wedding cake as your quote will all depend on the size, style, filling and any additional extras you choose. For example, if you have your cake iced and decorated with an intricate design, then you can expect to have to pay more for the intricate work.
While you can get a cake from a supermarket for as little as £10, you should expect to spend on average £300 when ordering a wedding cake through a professional cake maker. But remember, if you opt for a multi-tier cake extravaganza then the cost could be significantly higher!
Additional wedding cake accessories
Other factors to consider when ordering your wedding cake are all the optional extras. Some bakers will transport your cake to the venue themselves, in which case no cake box is required unless you intend to take away leftovers. Whether for yourselves or for your loved ones, you might want to invest in some cardboard cake boxes so that you and your guests can take a slice of cake home each.
What’s more, it’s a good idea to check if the venue provides a cake knife for the customary cutting of the cake. Alternatively, some couples purchase a personalised knife ahead of the wedding, which could be an extra expense to consider if you like the idea of this added personal touch.
Finally, always check with your supplier what accessories are included on your cake. You may be asked to provide your own figurines as a topping, for example, or you may need to request some additional stems from your florist if you wish to have flowers or petals from the bouquet design adorning your cake.
Final tips for picking a wedding cake
Although a wedding cake is generally supposed to have the ‘wow’ factor, it’s also important that it tastes as good as it looks! For this reason, you should always schedule a tasting session with your cake maker, if you haven’t already tasted some of their products. Some bakers display their work at wedding fayres, giving couples the opportunity to try some of their delicious creations but most will be happy to provide samples ahead of booking you in.
You see, planning a wedding has its perks!