Planning your perfect wedding cake
Updated: Apr 9
Choosing your wedding cake designer
The date is set, your venue is booked, and now you are ready to start the journey to find your wedding cake designer. Your cake needs to taste just as good as it looks, so meeting suppliers and tasting some samples at a wedding fair is a great place to start. They will also have display cakes for inspiration to give you an idea of their style, so chat to them about your ideas, their prices and of course the flavours they offer and see if you think that they may be the right person to create your dream cake - and of course check they are available on your wedding date.
When should I book my wedding cake?
This is a question we are always asked, and the answer is very simple – as soon as you have found someone who makes a cake that tastes fabulous and whose designs and standard of work you love, then book into their diary! Most cake makers have limited availability so it’s never too soon to pay to reserve your date, and then you can arrange your consultation 6-9 months before your wedding, as by then you will be clear on colours, theme and style of your day as this is all important to bring together on your cake. At the consultation you will of course try out and decide your flavours. My diary always has bookings up to 2 years ahead, so it truly is never too early to book. Like many cake makers we hold consultations throughout the year on set days as we never freeze or sugar syrup cake, and always bake fresh for the consultation. Some companies charge for your consultation and this is usually then deducted from the price of your cake when you book.
Preparing for your consultation
Firstly, think about who you would like to bring to the consultation – we recommend a max of three people as ‘too many cooks’ can be overwhelming and really confuse decisions! Also talk about your budget in advance with your cake maker so they can let you know if it is in the right ballpark for your aspirational cake, as they will understand the importance of you managing your spreadsheet! The budget should take into account the height and type of cake and the level of decoration – for example sugar flowers will be a higher cost than fresh flowers. Finally prepare a pinterest board or a gallery of ideas you like ready to share at the consultation.
Tasting and designing your cake .
Now it is getting serious as the time has come to eat cake! Think about flavours you would like to try; you may be looking for a luscious lemon drizzle or a rich dark chocolate, check if some flavours are standard and if there is also a premium menu. Do choose the cake flavours you like, not what you think everyone else wants, as besides being a showstopper it must taste amazing for you too. Don’t be afraid to enjoy trying lots of different flavours – just sip some water between each one and remember not to have room to eat cake! If you struggle to decide on flavours it can be a good idea to choose a flavour each and then something for everyone else.
You have the option to choose buttercream or fondant or perhaps a rustic semi naked design. Consider the weather when making this decision as buttercream or rustic cakes do not hold up as well as a tropical fondant on a very hot day. A fondant cake looks just as gorgeous as a rustic cake in a barn wedding as these below pictures show. (Also do think about the colour of your cake when planning as dark colours look fabulous but can stain the mouth!)
Look at pictures or display cakes of different sizes and consider how it will look in your venue, you can build up your cake to be taller than you need using dummy tiers, or if you like the visual impact of a smaller cake than you need, you can always have cutting cake in the kitchen – there are plenty of options to ensure you get the cake you want. When designing your cake the top can be unadorned or there are many ways to finish it – a personalised topper, a beautiful sugar flower arrangement, or figures crafted specially for you – so many choices you can work into the design with the help of your cakemaker.
Be prepared to talk about the logistics for the delivery of your cake on the day, most cake makers deliver and frequently complete the final assembly of the cake at the venue so they will need access, time and space to do this on the day.
Putting your cake in the spotlight!
Your cake maker will speak with you about where you want the cake to be set up as the cake is usually on display for most of the day and your guests will want to admire it and take pictures. Cake makers are often venue experts and can share their knowledge of what options there are for you to consider. Talk with your venue wedding co-ordinator about your cake being displayed in a well-lit area with a nice backdrop and also explore what sort of table they use, as for example round cakes look best on a circular table. All too often cakes are displayed in a corner, in front of a fire exit or unsightly backdrop, until they are later moved onto the dance floor for cutting, which is such a shame when so much love and time has gone into creating your masterpiece.
After your consultation you will receive a quotation and ‘design outline’, read your booking form and terms and conditions carefully. It must include everything you expect to see on your cake – if it’s not on the form it won’t be on the cake! They may give you a guide sketch or plan for your cake, a more detailed design if available will usually only be produced after a booking fee has been paid. Once the form is signed and you have agreed the payment details you can relax and just look forward to seeing your beautiful cake on the day. My final tip is to make sure one of your bridal party is in charge of the cake cutting so that whatever you want to happen with the cake is arranged, and above all that some is saved for you both to enjoy together as you reflect on your gorgeous wedding.
If you would like to chat with me about your wedding cake please do get in touch at: Rachel@sugardesigns.co.uk I only take a limited number of cakes each month so I can be sure my clients and cakes(!) are given my full attention and loving care.