Wedding Cake Basics | Hiring a Baker | Wedding Cake Designs

Ordering your wedding cake may seem like a tiny detail at first, but this simple task can quickly overwhelm you once you realize just how many decisions there are to make. When I began researching this topic, I thought at first that it would make a nice, short blog post. Boy was I wrong! That short, simple wedding blog post is now expanding into a series. And, today I will be discussing how to hire the right baker who can provide the exact wedding cake designs of your dreams.White Wedding Cake with Purple and Yellow Flowers and Single Monogram Cake Topper

A search for wedding cake bakers in your area is bound to return a long, long list of bakeries and specialty shops. So, how do you choose the right one for your special day?

Well, first of all, let’s distinguish the difference between a cake designer and an ordinary baker. While your run of the mill, local baker is probably a great source for a variety of cakes and pastries, he may not be the best choice when it comes to choosing someone to prepare your wedding cake.

If you dream of a traditional, round tiered wedding cake with columns and white butter frosting adorned with red or blue roses, you may be able to get away with ordering your cake from your favorite bakery down the street.

However, if you prefer a fully designed modern cake with all the bells and whistles, you will probably need to choose an experienced wedding cake designer. A cake designer is more than just a baker. A wedding cake designer is an artist who happens to work with cake. A skilled wedding cake designer will first take your proposed cake design and sketch it out for your approval. The wedding cake designer will then take that sketch and turn it into the wedding cake of your dreams.

But, creating that perfect wedding cake is about more than just getting the right look. A skilled wedding cake designer must also be a master in the art of cake physics; especially when working with multiple tiers. After all, what good is the perfect wedding cake if it topples before it even makes it to the reception? And once the cake reaches the reception hall, it must be able to hold up to frequent jostling of the wedding cake table as well as the pokes and prods of tiny fingers whose young owners will not be able control their curiosity. In the life of the average wedding cake, the time between completion and cutting can seem like an eternity.

Guitar Shaped Groom's Cake

This guitar shaped grooms cake was a perfect addition to a purple and black rock'n roll themed wedding I attended recently.

If you’ve determined that a wedding cake designer is the right choice for you, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But in the long run, it will be well worth it. So, grab the phone, a pen and paper and prepare to make some calls.

The first requirement when choosing a wedding cake designer is that he or she will take the time to meet with you one on one to discuss your options.

If you want a specific cake designed, ask to see pictures of other cakes your wedding cake designer has both designed and created. Remember, just because a particular artist may be able to draw a beautiful wedding cake, this does not mean that he will also be capable of executing the wedding cake design.

A reputable designer will not only be willing to meet with you to discuss wedding cake designs, but she will also expect it. If she is truly dedicated to designing the wedding cake of your dreams, she will consider this meeting an integral part of the cake designing process.

To help you on your quest for that perfect wedding cake design, I have created the following checklist to help you keep track of some of the most important wedding cake design basics:

Wedding Cake Design Checklist:

  • Purple monogram wedding cake topper

    This monogram wedding cake topper may be personalized with 2 block first names, wedding date & a single block initial, which will be placed largely in the background in your choice of several colors.

    Determine how much of your wedding budget you can afford to allocate to the cost of the cake.

  • Find out how far in advance you must order your cake. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the last minute only to find out your wedding cake designer is booked up six months in advance.
  • Choose the best overall style for your wedding cake. For example, are you looking for a traditional cake or something more modern? Do prefer formal or whimsical?
  • What cake shapes will look best with your particular style? Do you want round wedding cake tiers? Square cake tiers? Maybe Hexagonal or even a mix of several different shapes?
  • What type of wedding cake topper will you be using? Be sure to incorporate your chosen wedding cake topper into your wedding cake design.
  • Ask if there is an extra fee for custom designed cakes.
  • Find out if the wedding cake designer will deliver and set up the cake. Most caterers will not be happy if they have to set up a cake that was neither made nor ordered by them. So, if your wedding cake designer will not deliver and set up the cake, you will need to be sure to plan to have someone take care of this for you.
  • Ask about additional charges such as deposits on support pillars and decorative items which must be returned to the cake designer after the wedding.
  • Get a total price up front so there are no surprises.
  • Get it in writing. Once you have settled on a specific cake, draw up a contract listing every single detail. Include the size, shape, color, flavor and design of the cake, the number of tiers, pricing and fees and delivery and setup details.  Also, list the time, date and location of the wedding reception, as well as what time you expect the cake to be delivered and set up.
  • Brown Chocolate Wedding CakeCheck it out:

    – Selecting a wedding cake: Bakers and fees

    – Eat Cake, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has some amazing wedding cake designs. Some of my favorites look as though they might have come straight out of a Dr. Seuss book!

    – There are also services online where you can post your wedding needs and allow vendors to compete for your business. I have not used this service from Wedding Reach, nor do I know anyone who has, but it seems like it might be worth looking into.

    – When choosing the right wedding cake designer, it’s also important to know how to avoid the wrong baker. Check out this wedding cake flop I featured in a previous Knot The Groom blog post.

    – Check out this video on selecting a wedding cake at Martha Stewart Weddings.

    – Scroll down to the tree stump cake with initials ‘carved’ into it. What a unique idea for a groom’s cake!

    – I just love the damask inspired wedding cake featured in this wedding cake challenge at the Tri-Valley, California Wedding Blog

    ~Mandy

    Next up: Choosing the wedding cake of your dreams

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