CAKE DECORATING TIPS GUIDE
SELECTING A WEDDING CAKE SUPPLIER / DECORATOR
Word of mouth is still the best way to find the better wedding cake supplier and
decorator in your area. Ask your friends, relatives and associates for
recommendations. Lacking a good word of mouth referral you will need to shop to
compare quality and pricing. Even with a good word of mouth referral it is not a bad
idea to shop around since the wedding cake will be one of the main focal points of your wedding
reception decor and since the cost of wedding cakes can vary greatly from one cake decorator to another.
Although your wedding caterer may want to
provide the wedding cake as part of their wedding catering package, you may be able to save a
significant amount of money by having the cake provided by someone else who
actually specializes in wedding cakes and wedding cake decorating since some (not all) caterers use outside suppliers for
wedding cakes anyway and then mark up the price.
When shopping around, have an idea
of how you would like your wedding cake to look, the style (photo examples help) that you would
like, the wedding color theme (bring samples) of your wedding colors and the
wedding reception facility
colors, the temperature factors of the
wedding reception location, and a rough idea of the number of guests so you can determine how many
slices (and cakes) will be needed.
Be sure to speak with the specific
decorator who will be designing your wedding cake and view examples of the
cakes that he or
she has designed rather than relying on a book of examples that a salesperson may show
you. Different cake decorators have different skill levels and provide different levels of
creativity and quality. By speaking directly to the wedding cake decorator the odds of getting
exactly what you want are greatly increased.
Determine all of the costs involved
so you can compare the costs from different wedding cake suppliers on an equal basis. Some
decorators use disposable plates and pillars for multi-tiered wedding cakes while others rent
these items to you and expect that they will be returned after the wedding
reception. Delivery and set-up at the wedding reception location is included by some decorators while others require
that you pick up and set up the cake.
SELECT THE TYPE OF WEDDING CAKE
White cake is the "traditional" selection for a wedding
cake. However, the current trend is to select the
flavor of wedding cake that you like. Anything from chocolate to carrot cake is
acceptable. It is not a bad idea to actually taste the cake/frosting combination
before ordering a flavored wedding cake though...
SIZE OF THE WEDDING CAKE VS. NUMBER OF
SERVINGS / PORTIONS
Since there are a number of options available when it comes to shapes and sizes
of wedding cakes, your cake supplier will be able to assist you in determining the required
number wedding cakes and their
sizes depending upon whether you are serving round or sheet cakes and the number
of layers of the cake. Rule of thumb for wedding cake portions is a 1 inch wide
by 2 inch long serving for cakes that are 2 layers (roughly 4" high). In
the case of single layer sheet cakes and cakes that are 3 inches (or less) in
height you will want to increase the serving size by cutting 2 inch wide by 2
inch long slices.
If you have questions about how to cut the proper portion size from different
wedding cake sizes or shapes, just take a look at our cake cutting guide diagrams of
how to properly cut a wedding cake.
When estimating the number of
servings your cakes will yield, be sure to either include or exclude the top
tier of the wedding cake depending upon whether you intend to save the top tier
to freeze for use at your 1 year wedding anniversary.
Remember that you will need to
instruct whoever will be cutting your wedding cake on the proper cake serving
size - otherwise you may (will) likely end up with less that the required number of
servings due to portions that have been cut too large.
SELECTING THE BEST TYPE OF FROSTING (OR DECORATING
MEDIUM) FOR YOUR WEDDING CAKE
There are 3 main types of decorating mediums (frostings) used in
wedding cake decorating; Buttercream, Whipped Cream and Fondant.
Buttercream frosting is the most popular and is used in
most applications because it is easy to work with, is very adaptable to a number of
applications and it will hold up well to temperature and humidity variations.
These characteristics are important when the wedding cake needs to be in an
uncontrolled environment like for outdoor weddings. Whipped Cream frostings require refrigeration and do not hold up well to heat and high
humidity. Fondant creates a very smooth and elegant wedding cake covering but
it is less sweet
and more dense than the other frostings types which have lighter, whipped textures.
Be sure to tell your wedding cake
decorator about the temperature and humidity conditions of your wedding
reception location (like in a tent with potentially high
summer temperatures) so they can determine if a stabilizer will be required to ensure that
the frosting will not run.
SELECTING THE COLOR AND DECORATIONS
FOR YOUR WEDDING CAKE
Select colors that will compliment your wedding color theme. Also, keep in mind
that due to varying lighting, temperature and humidity conditions the frosting colors may
change on the cake. For example, purple buttercream frosting may turn blue
when exposed to a high level of Ultraviolet light - like sunlight. Be sure to talk to
your wedding cake decorator about all of the conditions that may affect the frosting.
FIGURINES AND WEDDING CAKE TOPPERS
Cake toppers that are placed on the top tier of the wedding cake can be
bride and groom figurines, wedding bells, hearts, love birds, etc., themed with (non
poisonous) floral decor, or sentimental using items that have a special, personal meaning.
PLACEMENT OF YOUR WEDDING CAKE TABLE
Your wedding cake will be one of the main focal points of your wedding reception and
great care should be taken to make the most of the visual impact of the presentation
to protect your investment.
When determining the placement of the
wedding cake table, be
sure to look at the walls surrounding the cake table. A beautiful wedding cake in front of a
tacky looking wall or a tacky painting or wall hanging fill detract from the visual impact of the presentation (which is something you
will be reminded of every time you view your wedding photos). If you are stuck
with a tacky looking wall behind the cake table due to space limitations consider draping the walls or using draping on free standing frames, which are
available from local rental companies, to hide the wall.
Try to place the wedding cake table in a well lit area away from entry
doors, windows, heat registers and high traffic areas to protect your wedding cake.
Actually, close to a wall is ideal when it comes to protecting your wedding cake.
If a well lit area is not available, hanging directional spotlights or low
wattage mini tabletop spotlights are available from local rental companies that
will greatly enhance the visual impact of the wedding cake and table.
Before placing the wedding cake on the table, BE SURE to
check to make sure the table legs are securely locked in place since there have been
occasions when the table has collapsed because someone did not lock the legs. ALSO, avoid moving the
table once the wedding cake has been put in place. Multi-tiered wedding cakes can topple rather
easily if the table is tipped or abruptly jolted, transforming a beautiful photo opportunity into a
not so beautiful pile of frosting.
WEDDING CAKE TABLE TOP DECOR
A color coordinated table top and drape combination can greatly enhance the
presentation of your wedding cake. Additions like candles with mirrors, fresh
flowers, etc. can also create a stunning presentation. If using flowers be sure that
they are of the non poisonous variety and that they do not come in contact with the
cake unless the flowers are specifically selected for that purpose and washed to remove
WEDDING CAKE MONEY SAVING TIPS
Consider a decorated dummy wedding cake for the display and sheet cake(s) for actual guest
service. Some "larger" decorators have very beautifully decorated display
wedding cakes available
for rental for that purpose. Display the "dummy" wedding cake while using simple,
frosted sheet cakes for service to the guests. It can enhance the appearance of your
presentation while saving you a bunch of money.
Consider a smaller decorated display wedding cake with sheet cake(s) for actual service.
HEADACHE SAVING TIPS
Once you have selected the supplier, get a written contract that specifically
outlines the design and color of the cake, number of serving portions, included accessories,
specific delivery and set up times, details and charges, rental item return requirements, etc. Also,
notify the wedding cake supplier of the contact name of a person who will be on site at the
reception location at delivery time should they have any questions.
During set up of the wedding reception location, have
someone place a card on the cake table indicating "Cake Table" since on occasion
the cake has been discovered on the "Gift Table" or "Punch/Coffee
If the cake table is to be decorated by someone
other than the cake supplier, be sure that it is scheduled to be completed well in advance
of the scheduled cake delivery time.
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