How To Choose Your Wedding Cake
From The Tasting to The Cut

By Maria Yeonhee Ji

When it comes to wedding confectionary, the cake is the piece de resistance - an iconic and edible symbol of celebration. However, as with many other aspects of wedding planning, organising a wedding cake isn’t always a cakewalk. To aid you with the process of navigating what can be a messy dive into the world of buttercream, ganache, and frosting… here is a simple guide to choosing your wedding cake. 

PART ONE/ CONSUME ALL THE CAKE INSPIRATION

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Image sourced via LiMa Cakes

CREATE AN INSPIRATION BOARD.

The sheer talent and range in the artistry of wedding cake creation will easily leave you dazzled and overwhelmed. Collect images of your favourite designs on a platform like Pinterest, Instagram folder, or even a simple folder on your laptop. With an inspiration board, you’ll be able to see what features tend to draw your eye again and again over time, and give you a better idea of what your dream cake might look like. It’s also a useful thing to take along to your cake designer in order to communicate your vision/ideas if describing cake features isn’t your strongest skill. 

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Image sourced via The Cake That Ate Paris

BE AWARE OF SOME POPULAR CAKE TRENDS.

Having some idea of the popular cake trends of the day can an easy way to narrow down your options to some contemporary designs. Of course, there’s no rule about having to pick a cake that is trendy (at the end of the day, it should reflect you and your partner’s tastes first and foremost). However, if you do want a design that’s a little in vogue in the cake world, current trends include cakes of quirky geometric shapes; minimalist buttercream cakes with sumptuous floral arrangement decor; white on white decoration; gilded accents; and wafer paper detailing.  

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Image by Amy Galbraith Photography 

FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE JARGON.

This isn’t so important if you’re happy to leave the majority of the designing to the professionals, or if you’re simply going to pick a ready-to-order design from an experienced wedding caker’s menu. However, if you want to personalise your design or take things to new heights (figuratively or literally), you may want to brush up on common cake terminology so that you can discuss in depth the various ingredients, textures, and decorations you’d like incorporated in the final product. 

PART TWO/ THE WEDDING CAKE TESTING

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Image by The Kitcheners 

KNOW YOUR EVENT FUNDAMENTALS.

Prior to even researching the different bakers out there who might be able to create your wedding cake, you should confirm the main wedding details such as date, venue, guest count, budget, and time of reception/intended cake consumption. These logistical details are necessary to inform your baker’s design decisions and to allow them to scale their creations to suit your needs. 

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Image by Samantha Donaldson Photography

THINK ABOUT YOUR THEME.

Avoid rushing into deciding on a cake design until all the details surrounding your wedding theme are finalised. Once you have a confident idea of what your wedding’s aesthetic will be, you’ll be able to pick a cake design that will complement the details. Depending on how prepared you are for the initial meeting with the caker, you can also take to your prospective vendor(s) an inspiration board communicating your wedding’s overall atmosphere, fabric swatches of specific colours or accent hues you’re intending on incorporating into the decor, and images of the kinds of floral arrangements and installations you will have on the day. 

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Image by Lynn Lewis Photography

FIGURE OUT YOUR FLAVOURS.

As exciting as it may be to think about the cake’s exterior (icing, texture, toppings, and florals make the possibilities endless), the most important aspect of cake selection is the flavour(s). There’s nothing quite as underwhelming as a pretty slice of cake that tastes of artificially-coloured disappointment, so put some effort into figuring out the flavour(s) you want. If you opt to work with a vendor that frequently creates cakes for weddings, they will be able to provide some suggestions about reliably successful cake flavours. For example, popular flavours for wedding cakes at The Caker include dark chocolate, lemon raspberry, and plum lime coconut. 

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Image sourced via Bake the Cake

THERE MAY BE A TASTING FEE.

Though the thought of a wedding cake tasting marathon may seem like a whimsical and indulgent exercise, most bakers do charge a tasting fee. This means that it’s wise to be a bit judicious with where and how many places you decide to conduct tastings so as not to blow a portion your cake budget on the tastings alone. Do some research beforehand about cakers in the area close to your venue (the further away they are, the higher your delivery fees are likely to be) and check out their recent work or portfolio. Then make a list of your favourite bakers in order of preference so that you can work your way down the list in the unlikely event that the tastings reveal their gorgeous Instagram-worthy cakes to be not so flavoursome upon consumption. 

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Image by Grace & Jaden Photography 

DOUBLE CHECK THE CONTRACT & BOOK YOUR BAKER WITH A DEPOSIT. 

A baker is like any other vendor for your wedding - make sure you get a detailed contract and double check the fine print. A comprehensive contract should include at the very least: contact details for both signing parties; event details; specific details (e.g. number of servings/slices, number/shape of tiers, flavour, fillings, icing type, decor, topper) about the cake you have agreed upon; an approximate sketch of the design; information about the price of the cake (cost per slice) and any additional fees that may be incurred (such as delivery/set-up of the cake, cutting costs, and rental returns of the stand/knife etc.). Make sure it’s very clear as to how and to whom payments are to be made, and what dates these payments are due. And of course, you should always read the cancellation and refund policy carefully so as not to avoid costly fees should you change your mind about your choice in vendor. 

PART THREE/ THE CUT

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Image sourced via Olga Kulikova

CONSIDER THE TRADITIONS & THE ALTERNATIVES.

Not all couples want to go through with the many traditions around the wedding cake. From cutting the cake together, to feeding each other the first bite, to saving the top tier or single slice for the first wedding anniversary… think about whether these traditions are ones you’d like to incorporate into your evening or if ditching them for more convenient or contemporary alternatives is a better fit.

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Image by MacDougall Photography

GIVE YOUR CATERERS A HEADS UP.

If you do like the idea of having a cake cutting moment, make sure to let your caterers know that you’re ready approximately 20 minutes ahead of time. That way, they can replenish any empty champagne glasses in the room and prepare any cake cutting apparatus that may be required.  

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Image by Dan Evans Photography

SAVOUR THE SLICE (OR THE MEMORIES).

Some couples opt to save a slice (or more traditionally, the top tier of the cake) to eat at their first wedding anniversary. If this is a tradition you’d like to keep, remember to completely remove all the decorations and wrap the slice in airtight packaging (otherwise your cake will become dehydrated and undergo oxidation). A modern take on this tradition that still helps to bring back the sweet memories of your wedding day is to simply order from the same baker a smaller re-creation of your wedding cake to have on your anniversary. 


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