Weducation Wednesday: Let Them Eat Cake!
Top Tips for Wedding Cake Tasting
This might be one of the most fun experiences you’ll be a part of during your wedding planning process. Cake. Am I right! Here you get to spend an hour or two eating all the delectable, sumptuous and sensational flavors and combinations of confection and filling and frosting. What’s not to like!
Clearly tasting cake is pretty straightforward. You arrive. You eat cake. You say yes or no. Well, we’re here today to walk you through how this process is more than just showing up for the sweets and saying what you like and what you don’t like. So, let’s jump right in with what you need to know about your cake tasting.
Before the Tasting
This may seem like a no brainer but there are details you’ll want to bring to your baker before your time together. Where is your reception and what time does it start? What is your head count? Determining your overall wedding budget and how small or how big of a slice of the budget pie, I had to, I know, the cake will take is also something to consider before your cake tasting. You don’t want to fall in love with a five-tier confection design that is out of your budget, just like when you went wedding dress shopping. Same principle.
You’ll also want to have some inspiration images of how you want your cake to look. Are you going Glam? Rustic? Modern? These details will help your baker guide you to the design of your dreams. Also, what type of decoration do you want? Stunning sugar flowers? Architectural details? As important as what you want, is what you don't want too. Clear communication will all help get that cake conversation started.
Most importantly, how do you want your cake to taste! Do you love carrot cake? Is the flavor important to you as a couple? Talk about it! Most bakers have a set menu of flavors you’ll choose that include the cake, the fillings and the frostings. You’ll also want to share any food allergies or food restrictions too.
Also, are you thinking about serving your guests some more sweet treats? Like cupcakes, cookies, mini-pies or doughnuts?
You'll want to have that conversation now with your baker to confirm he or she can create these elements of your dessert bar!
I may have a controversial opinion about this next piece. I feel it’s best that you and your soon-to-be-spouse are the only ones who attend the tasting. I know, I know. You have your squad. Your entourage. Your people. This is your special day. And it’s your special cake. Enjoy this part of planning with just the two of you. Perhaps you’re choosing a flavor that is reminiscent of a date or a vacation. Best to stick to what you both love.
During the Tasting
Before you take that first bite, you’ll talk about the vibe, the theme and the feel of your wedding day. These details will help pull your overall design together.
And as you’re chatting you’re getting to know your vendor and he or she is getting to know you better. When you form a connection with a vendor it makes the process more fun and smoother.
Also, you’ll want to bring any accessories that you’ve already purchased or are borrowing, like say your parents' cake topper, with you so the baker knows what he or she is working with. This is a place often overlooked as a way to let your personalities or your love story shine. This cake topper was a custom creation and an inside joke between the Bride and the Groom. And it wasn't an expensive piece that broke the wedding budget.
If you’re on the fence about the idea of a topper or a stand or some baubles it's best to wait until your cake design is set so what you eventually choose fits the look and the feel of the creation.
And on that note of letting your personalities shine through in an unexpected place, check this out. A Groom's cake is a wedding day detail that is all about him. His passions. His loves. His hobbies. They all shine. The tradition of a Groom's cake dates back to England in the 19th century and is a cake that's entirely influenced by the Groom. One of my Brides surprised her Groom with this:
The Groom is a musical fellow. The fondant creation is a representation of the cover art of Van Halen's album, "The Best of Both Worlds." Eddie Van Halen is the Groom's favorite guitarists.
Okay, phew! You're probably asking is it time to take a bite yet? Come on! Well, nearly. Put down that fork. Keep these things in mind before that first taste.
You’ll want to arrive on a full-ish stomach. Have a small snack. You know when you go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and you end up buying a bunch of items because they look tasty and delicious and you want to eat it all? Same idea here. You don’t want your hunger to make your decision for you.
Cake is sweet. Drinking water in between each bite can help ease up the sugar implosion on your palate between all those bites. It’s also a good idea to space out your cake tasting consultations if you’re looking at several vendors.
Tasting the individual parts of the piece of cake allows you to really get in on the specific flavors of the cake, the filling and the frosting. Then, combine the three so you can get an understanding of how they taste together. The combination you have in your mind before your consultation might not taste as well as you thought and you might be surprised that you went a different direction!
Now, dive in!!!! Finally!!!
After the Tasting
By now, your baker has a really good grasp on what you’re looking for in terms of aesthetics and flavors. You may have come to the tasting with a really good idea of what you want. Or you may be open to ideas. My best advice is to listen to your baker. He or she is a professional and knows what works and what doesn’t and wants to make your cake memorable and wonderful.
So, what questions do you have for the baker?
It’s always a good idea, going back to that budget, to ask what the delivery fee is, especially if your venue is out of town or a destination. You’ll also want to know what, if any, the setup fee is. Are you providing fresh florals for your cake? You’ll want to talk about the coordination piece between the florist and the baker so when the cake is delivered the baker, if he or she is tackling this task, knows where the pieces will be to decorate.
Your baker will most likely get you a quote and in some cases a sketch shortly after the tasting. From there the baker will most likely require a deposit which also secures your wedding date. Then you’ll probably receive a contract. Read it and if you’re good with it, sign and date and get it back to the vendor. You’ll make your payments.
Then, you, your spouse and your guests will enjoy the treat you and your baker brought from dream to reality!
Until next time!
"Boop Boop" cake picture: Marc Millar Photography | @marcmillar
Groom's cake picture: Jimmy Bui Photography | @jimmybuiphotography