If you need a cake in a pinch (or a day) your local grocery store is the place to go. If you have a certain design/theme or icing and cake flavor combos in mind, a custom cake shop is what you’re looking for, which requires more advance notice. Here are a few facts you should know when examining your choices.
Grocery stores typically do not bake in-house, and order their cakes from a food supplier, keeping them in the freezer until needed.
“This limits your flavor and size options,” says Betty Black, Essence Cakery. “But, on the flipside, provides the advantage they need to quickly pull a cake together.”
The icing stores use is generally a pre-whipped, non-dairy topping in two basic flavors: vanilla and chocolate. The pre-whipped icing can accept light color tints, but it’s hard to make a design with the texture and consistency, according to Black.
Grocery stores usually do not make specialized items for their cakes in store, but usually will have a standard set of deco packs in stock that have been ordered from their supplier.
All this being said, you couldn’t simply walk into a custom cake shop and expect them to put your creation together in a day with the same quality, along with all the intricate details it requires.
“Custom cake shops are just that: They are all about the customization of each and every order,” she says. “Cakes are not baked until they are ordered, which ensures the customer has a multitude of choices in size, flavor, filling, icing and design.”