Many brides agonise over the cake they plan to serve at their wedding receptions. Cakes are as individual as weddings themselves, so doing a little research and planning can help make your cake special.
The wedding cake is a focal point of a reception. The size of the reception will determine the amount of cake needed to feed all of your guests, so you’ll need to have a good idea of how many guests are on your list prior to finding a baker for your cake. Likewise, you’ll need to know whether you’ll want to save the top of your cake for your first anniversary. This will add expense to the cake, but it is traditional for couples to celebrate their first anniversary with a piece of their wedding cake.
Consult with your baker to determine the cakes that will work best with your reception venue. Your choices may be different for an outdoor reception in 36° heat than they will be for receptions held in air-conditioned rooms. Supply the baker with as much information as possible about your reception venue, since this will allow him or her to make good recommendations for your cake.
If you have your heart set on having a particular kind of cake, and your baker recommends against it, check with a few other bakers for a second opinion. Sometimes, bakers recommend against having a particular type of cake or frosting if they’re uncomfortable with working with that particular type of cake, frosting or combination. Another baker may be able to deliver your dream cake without hesitation. On the other hand, if your second- and third-opinions render the same verdict, consider their advice carefully.
Learn about your frosting options. Your baker will be able to fill you in on the details. Many wedding cakes are frosted with “rolled fondant” or “ready-to-roll” frosting. If you don’t want this type of frosting on your cake, consider something like a buttercream frosting. Be mindful of the temperature, and understand that rolled fondant withstands heat much better than other types of frosting do. If you go with something other than rolled fondant, your cake will need to be refrigerated until just prior to your reception.
Extremely hot temperatures are disastrous for cakes, regardless of how they’re frosted. Likewise, refrigeration can make sugar flowers droop or sag. On your wedding day, if temperatures will be problematic, consider cutting the cake immediately after you’ve arrived at the venue, and turning it over to the waitstaff for cutting and distribution. Some brides choose to serve a separate dessert and give out the wedding cake later. In high temperatures, consider using the wedding cake as the main dessert, and providing less temperature-sensitive goodies later in the evening.