Wedding Cake Primer

| April 11, 2009 | 2 Comments
  • 2 Comments

Gabrielle FeuersingerWedding season is upon us! Well, almost. When it comes to wedding cakes, there are lots of choices starting with the type of cake. According to wedding cake specialist Gabrielle Feuersinger of Cake Coquette, there are several different major categories to choose from.

1. European cakes
These cakes include the very traditional fondant wrapped cake with a bow, Princess cakes with marzipan and St. Honore cakes with pate a choux puffs. Most standard bakeries can do these cakes. Plan on spending at least $4-5 per slice.

2. Art cakes
These cakes feature painting, fondant cut-outs, piped buttercream and other elaborate types of decoration. They are more likely to be unique. Popular sources of inspiration for these cakes comes from the venue, dress details, or the theme of the wedding. At a minimum expect to pay $7 per slice and up.

3. Sculpture cakes
The popularity of these cakes has grown, due to television shows like the Ace of Cakes. What sets these cakes apart is their 3-d structures made to look like almost anything imaginable from the Eiffel Tower to a high heel shoe. Prices are $8-10 per slice, minimum.

4. Alternative cakes
When is a cake not a wedding cake? When it’s a stack of cupcakes, doughnuts, or even individual cakes for each guest. The prices for these can vary greatly. Some options are less expensive than a traditional cake, some are more.

Wedding planners suggest contacting a bakery or baker at least five months before the wedding. Popular bakers like Feuersinger often get booked six to nine months ahead and say for popular dates such as New Year’s Eve, three day weekends or auspicious Chinese dates, plan a year ahead.

Tips:

Make sure the cake tastes as good as it looks. Fondant will create a smooth finish but is not as tasty as buttercream. Plan on about an hour for your cake tasting, and be sure to bring fabric swatches, photos of cakes and anything else that will help your cake designer get a feel for what you’d like.

Decide on a theme for the wedding before deciding on the cake. This will make it easier to design the perfect cake. The trend in wedding cakes is personalization, a cake like no other. Find an architectural element, a special cake topper or even a monogram.

Got a wacky idea for a cake? Consider using it for the groom’s cake, a Southern tradition that has been growing in popularity.

Find out what the cake cutting fee is before finalizing your budget. Many venues charge between $5 and $10 just for cutting and serving.

Two cakes are more economical than one. Get the wedding cake of your dreams in a smaller size and have a back up sheet cake for up to half the guests. Sheet cakes can cost as little as $2.50 per slice and no one will know the difference.

Another money saving tip: Make your own cake stand and work with a florist to decorate the area around the cake.

A cake with columns for height, filled in with flowers, is impressive but likely to be less expensive than a heavily decorated cake.

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Category: baking and bakeries, bay area, local food businesses

About the Author ()

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her friends and family were constantly asking her where and what to eat. Three months after it launched, Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the top five best food blogs, praising her writing as “smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and the world. In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes restaurant reviews for SF Station. Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook reviews along with some interviews and current events. Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer. She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine. She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
  • Linda

    I love your idea about a primary cake that is decorated and then a second cake for the guests to eat. Its a great way to spread out the costs of fancy wedding cakes! :) Thanks for the extra tips, they will come in handy for my daughter’s wedding in July.

  • Chris

    I think your blog comments are broken…I have tried to post several times and the page just goes to some random blank page. You may want to look into that!