The Ten-Point Importance of the Wedding Cake
This month I spoke to professional cake designer and maker, Sophie Liggat from The Cheltenham Cakery.
Too often I see a cake hidden in the corner like an apology for being there, so we decided to write you something to show you how to make your cake feel proud to be there!
Here are your top tips from Sophie herself!
A gorgeous wedding cake sitting in pride of place atop its own designated and styled table can be the focal point of many a wedding. Normally, this carefully constructed and intricately designed masterpiece of edible art is a longstanding tradition that dates back to roman and medieval times, albeit that way back then buns and pies where the culinary order of the day.
Traditionally, however, the wedding cake was made to bring good luck to the newly-weds. It was seen as a status symbol – the larger and more detailed the cake was, the higher the social standing and wealth of the couple. Today, the wedding cake has also become another way to cement together the theme, values and individuality associated with both of the couple.
With weddings costing more than ever and an ever expanding cornucopia of choices on offer – how do couples chose what to have and who to make it? I have a favourite saying that deals well with this problem:
‘Your wedding cake will not be the most expensive part of your wedding day, but it will be the most expensive cake you will ever purchase.’
So, whether the wedding cake features low on your list of priorities or high on the, ‘I have got to have that,’ list –here are ten handy tips to get you started.
1. Choose a cake after making the rest of your major wedding style decisions.
The cake should complement your theme of the day. Ensure that you have these details finalised – that way you can turn up at your cake consultation with colour swatches, sketches and any other necessary notes.
2. Learn to love Social Media
Research tools like Google Images and Pinterest on social media are great for developing your theme or chosen colours. Save the images on mood boards and,as your ideas develop, add them to your boards or remove those images that no longer fit in with your new ideas. These boards are great for sharing with your wedding suppliers, too. They ensure that your vision will become reality.
3. Know Your Budget
Set aside your ‘maximum spend’ and also work with your cake designer to create a cake that you are happy with. Understand that multiple tiers, sugar work, cake toppers and intricate hand piping will all increase the total cost of your cake. After all, someone is spending a lot of time hand-making all of these beautiful details for you.
4. Cake flavours…. what do you pick?
So, you and your other half love rum and raisin flavour cake? However, having your entire wedding cake made with this flavour might not be everyone else’s cup of tea – unless, of course, it’s chocolate and pretty much everyone loves chocolate cake! Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t have your own flavour hit but, perhaps,pick a smaller tier in order to achieve this? Mix and match your flavours too – not every tier has to be the same flavour.
5. To Topper or not to Topper?
Why not finish your cake off with a quirky topper that is representative of the pair of you as a couple? Perhaps you both love penguins? Or, maybe, a simple and stylish topper such as one of the acrylic toppers which are gaining popularity at present. Alternatively, you may not want or even need a topper at all, depending on your final design.
6. Style Your Cake Table
Don’t forget to style your cake table – the reason that all of those, ‘Oh, so scrummy,’ cakes look so amazing in the pictures is completely due to the styling of the cake table. Prior to its being cut, the cake will be on display for quite a while to be admired by your guests and provide photo opportunities. Ensure that your cake table is well lit, and well dressed. Think sumptuous fabrics such as sequins or chiffon, glorious candles and romantic flowers. Also bear in mind that you don’t have to settle for a boring white tablecloth!
7. Book your Delivery and Set Up
Don’t skimp on having your cake delivered and set up by its maker. If you have ordered a cake for £500, why would you want to set up and organise it yourself. First,you most probably won’t have the time and second,most cakes are elaborately decorated and, as such, are often transported to venues in separate tiers and assembled on site. Don’t risk a catastrophic cake disaster in order to save a few pennies.
8. Eat Cake
Many couples just don’t get the chance to eat any of their own wedding cake! Ensure that your caterer saves you some or, alternatively, ask you cake designer to provide you with a box of cupcakes in your personal flavours that are yours and yours alone to eat.
9. I Have A Friend….
Don’t have a friend make your cake. As tempting as it may be to have a friend make your cake, how would you feel and how would your friendship fair if the outcome of the cake is not quite what you envisaged?
10. Book Your Cake Designer
So, then, you’ve found your cake maker…… don’t forget to book them! Many people find their cake maker and then go on to get absorbed with other wedding details, vowing to sort something a little later. This may mean that you’ll lose your prime choice to someone else’s booking. Although most planning guides tell you to book your cake 6-8 months in advance, talented wedding cake makers can be booked up to 18 months ahead. BOOK IT FAST!
Whether a wedding cake is high or low on your list of priorities, I hope that this ten-point checklist will serve toyou get started on creating the cake that is truly reflective of you both on your special day. Remember, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. It’s eating your cake and still having it that is the trick that no-one manages to pull off.