Cake bakers offer advice on what not to do when deciding on your wedding cake:
• Don’t forget to show color swatches. “What you may think is red may not be the same red your decorator is thinking about or even what he/she is capable of producing with food coloring. Some reds may come out a deep red, some an orange-like red, or a soft red. Solution: Ask for a color swatch and leave samples of what you want.”
– Christine Guzman, the Quaint Cake Co., Boca Raton, Fla.
• Don’t try to please everyone. “I have had many couples worry about ‘What if so and so doesn’t like chocolate?’ or ‘What if we end up not having enough lemon cake but extra of carrot?’ My advice to couples when it comes to flavors of cake is to pick out what YOU like. This is YOUR day and everything in the wedding should reflect you, right down to the cake that is served.”
– Nichole Wander, Yummy’s Gourmet Cakes, Coralville, Iowa.
• Don’t choose an inedible color. “Red, royal blue, purple and hot pink are the worst. They color everyone’s lips and tongue, and if the bride gets any smashed on her face or on her dress, she will be permanently stained for the night, and her dress will never be white again! We suggest that if you want to use those colors, that you use a fabric ribbon so that it can be easily removed or use the color in the flowers.”
– Pam, W.O.W. Cakes, Wichita, Kan.
• Don’t insist on grandma’s cake recipe. “It won’t come out the same, so you are inviting disappointment on your end and frustration for us. We use cake body recipes that we know will be suitable for wedding cake construction and delivery. Let Grandma make that cake for your rehearsal dinner or other family party.”
– Maui Wedding Cakes, Kihei, Hawaii.
• Don’t overlook the cake stand and table. “Well-photographed cakes look that way because of everything involved with that cake – not just the detailed decorations on the side of the cake. When my couples are choosing designs for their cake I make sure they are considering the base or cake stand, the display on the table around it, and the type of cake topper they are using. Encompass all these elements and you will truly have a great cake.”
– Kristie Robles, Kristie’s Cakes & Cookies, Littleton, Colo.
• Don’t micromanage your baker. “If a decorator strongly recommends against a specific design element based on certain factors, ask why and listen to any recommendations they may offer instead. For instance, a white buttercream cake decorated with black royal icing piping is not going to hold up well in July at an outdoor wedding in a high humidity area. The cake could easily sweat and black could run all over the cake. If the decorator suggests switching to fondant or very slightly changing the design, then keep in mind that they probably know what they are talking about!”
– Jessica Haskell, Sweet Surrender Dessert Cafe, Louisville, Ky.
• Don’t have a friend make your cake. “Yes, Aunt Jane or the lady down the street making cakes out of her house can save you money. Do you really want someone who is unlicensed, uninspected, uninsured, and will have a dozen excuses as to why your cake is (fill in the blank)?”
– Larry Bach, Sprinkles Custom Cakes, Winter Park, Fla.
• Don’t pick up the cake yourself. “There’s a reason that cake designers charge for delivery, and many times these cakes are not designed to travel completely assembled without asking for disaster.”
– Jen Roberts, Sweet Element, East Orange, N.J.
• Don’t get too complicated. “Some couples try to incorporate too many elements into their cake design, which can result in a busy, cheesy mess. I tend to blame the cake reality shows! For example, they try to add the bride’s dress pattern plus the favorite colors of the bride/groom (usually very different) along with their pets and meaningful landmarks like buildings on one cake ... yikes! I always recommend that less is more, and one or two elements should be the focus, not 12. Years from now, you want to look at your wedding photos and see a beautiful cake that still represents the couple but doesn’t look like a train wreck on your special day.”
– Jennifer Bunce, Hudson Cakery, New Jersey and New York City
• Don’t forget to eat your cake! Couples often don’t get a chance to eat their own wedding cake. Ask your caterer to save some for you. Share it with your new spouse as a snack that night or taste it at the post-wedding brunch. You deserve to enjoy the cake you worked so hard to help create.
Hint: If you’re planning to keep your top tier for your one-year anniversary, make sure that your caterer wraps it in tin foil and packages it into a tight storage container for the freezer.
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