Wedding cake. Need we say more? Don’t compromise on your just desserts. You’ve earned this. Lynn Mounce of Bake My Day Baking and Amanda Sullivan of Specialty Cakes by Amanda—two top-rated Thumbtack cake specialists–were sweet enough to share the inside scoop on what’s trending in the wedding cake world and how to find the perfect one for your special day.
What questions should someone ask before hiring a wedding cake specialist?
Start from scratch! Inquire how long they have been designing cakes and always ask to see their portfolio, recommends Amanda. Look for 5 to 10+ years experience before signing on for a cake tasting date. At the tasting, the two most important considerations are appearance and flavor. If the cake is dry or unappetizing, Amanda says move on to another baker
On the business end of things, Lynn strongly suggests understanding the bakery’s deposit and final payment policy. She’s seen clients caught off guard when the company becomes booked and can no longer do their wedding. Just because you’ve done a tasting and know a date is available, it may not be official until you have a deposit down. Don’t lose your dream cake specialist through a simple oversight! Once you’re clear on logistics, get everything in a signed contract.
How are wedding cakes priced?
Cakes are priced out by slice, which makes knowing your estimated headcount helpful when doing your initial consult. Lynne shares that prices range due to complexity and design, but cakes can go from anywhere from $2.50 per slice up to $8 per slice. Amanda adds that buttercream iced cakes often go from $2.50-$3.50 per slice while cakes with fondant icing start around $5 per slice.
How far in advance should a specialist be hired and consulted?
It all depends on wedding size, says Amanda. She recommends a minimum of six weeks for intimate affairs (and small cake) and six months for large weddings (and large cakes). Ideally, she says, you connect with the baker nine months to one year before your date to allow time for tasting and securing your special day on the specialist’s calendar.
Lynn urges you to be upfront about your wedding cake vision. Make sure you’re comfortable with the specialist and you’re confident they can execute your triple layer lego cake recreation of your proposal on top of the waterfall in Peru (or, you know, something more traditional).
Dates fill quickly during peak season, so if you have your heart set on one bakery, don’t delay.
What are the top wedding cake trends for 2016?
Expect to see a continuation of the naked cake trend and rustic themes carrying over from 2015, says Lynn. A fun twist she’s anticipating are a surge of non-traditional ideas such as “cakes” formed from French macarons, unique turns on cake balls, and innovative dessert bars.
Amanda agrees that naked cakes will be on display. She explains that naked means the cakes are only iced between layers or the top is roughly iced so a crumb coat peeks through. The naked cake is then topped with fresh flowers or fruit. In fondant cakes she’s seeing a lot of metallic colors while buttercream designs tend toward the rustic chic still.
How can happy couples avoid cake disaster?
Listen to your bakery! If they give explicit instructions on how to care for the cake, please do your best to ensure those rules are followed, says Lynn. She’s heard of cakes being moved last minute and being dropped or cakes melting when being moved outside. It’s not worth it to go rogue.
Keep it simple, says Amanda, and avoid disaster by having the cake specialist deliver and set up the cake. The transport is one of the most important steps in the process. You may think it will be a clever cost-cutting technique to move the cake yourself. Bad idea. Unless it’s a standard size cake, you could be in a world of trouble.
Both ladies strongly recommend having a pro cut the cake, or else make sure the friend or family member charged with the task thoroughly understands how to dissemble and cut to ensure you not only get the correct amount of servings, but also so your edible work of art isn’t destroyed.
What’s a memorable wedding cake you’ve created and what made it unique?
Lynn’s favorite experience was creating a wedding dessert for a bride who was a cake ball FANATIC. It was a fun creative process wherein she constructed a faux cake as support for the 316 cake balls gracing the top. The bride wanted a white to blue ombre “cake”, so the production and dyeing of 316 cake balls involved a lot of strategy. On-site set-up required two hours, but the couple loved the result and it was worth all the hard work.
Amanda had a delicious challenge creating a four-layer wedding cake for a couple who requested white fondant down one side for the bride and chocolate fondant down the other for the groom. Each side was to be drizzled in ganache and garnished with chocolate covered strawberries. The puzzle was to bring it all gracefully together and the result was beautiful as it was tempting.
The moral of the cake story? View portfolios, book early, secure your date with a deposit, make sure you love the taste, and then enjoy come your special day!