CAKE SIZES

Your wedding cake will be a focal point at your reception, and the cutting of your cake will be the first task you will undertake as a newly married couple.

For many couples, the size of the wedding cake is a balance of what you need and what you want, and somewhere in between will be your budget!

So how do you decide on the size of your designer wedding cake? On a practical front, the size of your cake should match the number of guests attending your reception, plus any additional tier(s) that you want kept for a future event.

The first decision to make is how you plan to serve your wedding cake. Will it be served with coffee, as an addition to other desserts, or as a plated dessert?

How does this relate to your wedding cake? Let’s look at an average three-tiered round cake measuring 15cm, 20cm and 25cm. Depending on how it is cut, the same cake can be served in different ways: 200 finger serves, 150 small coffee serves, 100 standard coffee or small dessert serves, or 50 full size dessert serves.

Your wedding cake specialist will be able to guide you to the most suitable size for your reception. There are many options available when catering for larger weddings, including having kitchen cutting cakes that are iced but not decorated and that are not displayed. This lowers the cost overall.

The grooms often think that these serving suggestions are much too small! Do remember that your wedding cake will be served after a full wedding meal, often including several courses, and your guests will likely be very well fed! Unless you are happy to have cake left over, there is no need to over-cater when it comes to your wedding cake.

For small weddings, a single tiered wedding cake placed on a cake stand is just as beautiful.

CAKE BUDGETS

For many, the excitement of putting your wedding dreams into play is rapidly curbed when faced with budgets. Unless you have a very talented baker and icer in your circle of friends, chances are you’ll turn to a professional for your cake. After all, it needs to look fantastic, taste incredible and be of a size that will cater for all your guests.

I was often faced with a look of dismay when I gave couples a price for the elaborate cake they’djust described. “Really? That much? It’s just a cake!” They fail to take into account that to feed 120 people, the cake needs to be of a certain size – and most cake designers will work out a cost based on a per-slice basis – depending on how you choose to serve your cake. You will need larger serves if your cake is going to be the dessert, and smaller serves if the cake is served later with coffee.

Substituting the wedding cake for a dessert may sound like it should save you the cost of catered desserts; however, because you will need larger serves you will need more cake. These serves are often accompanied by a crème fraiche and a berry coulis, which your caterer may charge for. Some venues will also charge a plating fee, similar to a corkage fee for BYO wines.

The couples also often fail to recognise the man-hours involved in creating those handcrafted sugar flowers they’d like, or just how long the designer will spend detailing those piped lacey trims and the intricate design work they’ve envisaged. It might be time to create something less detailed, yet equally as gorgeous, to stay within your budget.

If a Groom were to smash a piece of cake

If a Groom were to smash a piece of cake over his Bride’s head now, I doubt that it would be well received – all the more so after she’s spent so long on the hairdo and make up. It used to represent his power over her, but we’re supposed to be equal these days….. (that’s fodder for another article altogether).

All jest aside, the cake cutting tradition in modern times still carries a lot of weight, and no small amount of emotion. The ritual symbolises the couple’s commitment to provide for one another, and to nurture each other, and the beginning of a new life together.

And let’s face it, the sharing of food with friends we care for, and who care about us, is as old as time, and something that doesn’t go out of fashion.

So, while we may ask “Why have a wedding cake? ” … it seems the humble (or not so humble, depending on your budget) wedding cake is here to stay for a wee while yet.

SEASONAL CAKE

You may decide you want to reflect the seasonal timing of your wedding in your cake, and carry the seasonal theme through the rest of your celebration in relation to the venue, decor and settings, what you wear and what you eat.

Summer is the most popular time of year to marry, for obvious reasons it’s “easier”, warmer, you can wear less, waft about on dry grass, paddle barefoot in the sea, enjoy a garden ceremony, dance in a marquee …. It simply allows for more options and, as far as any cake goes, the same thing applies. Lush flowers, lots of colour, abundance, shells, beach themes … almost anything goes. Bright painted floral designs work well.

Pretty much the same applies to Springtime, although it is perhaps a more delicate time of year … softer colours, a lighter touch; birds, bees and butterflies and gentle florals. Citrus flavour cakes are more popular at this time of year, and in the Summer months, too.