Photo: Courtesy of Amy Beck Cake Design
If there's one thing couples look forward to about wedding planning more than anything else, it's the wedding cake tasting. And how could you not? You get to spend an hour or two eating cake, combining cake and frosting flavors to create your perfect bite, and then make plans to eat cake yet again at your wedding. What's not to love?
While the eating part of a cake tasting is pretty self-explanatory, there's a little more to it than just indulging your sweet tooth. We talked to Chef Katy Pierson, owner and designer of Sugar in Breckenridge, Colorado, about what really happens at a cake tasting.
What do you already need to know?
Before you even get to your cake tasting, you should know your wedding date, venue, approximate guest count, and the time of day your reception will be held. "Give your baker an overview of your wedding logistics," says Pierson. Your baker will also be walking you through the pricing of the options you're considering, so make sure you've discussed your cake budget beforehand.
What should you think about before your consultation?
Have an idea of how you'd like your cake to look. Gather inspirational images, and browse your baker's portfolio. "Your wedding style, the season, and the location will help us determine how the cake is decorated, and will also play a role in the flavors," says Pierson, so make note of what design details strike your fancy. "When it comes to the appearance of the cake, do you prefer fondant or buttercream? Fresh or sugar flowers? Simple or more ornate designs? These answers will help get the design process going."
You also, of course, need to think about flavors. Some bakers will have a set selection of flavors for you to taste, while others will ask you to choose which flavors you'd like to try (and will provide a menu of options for you to choose from). "Keep in mind that some bakers charge a tasting fee that may or may not be applied toward the cost of your cake," Pierson explains.
And don't forget your entourage! "It's okay to bring additional family members or friends to the tasting, but make sure it's someone who will be helpful in making a decision. Otherwise, it might be best for just you and your honey to attend the tasting," she adds.
What do you talk about?
You'll discuss way more than flavor combos. "Your baker will want to know about the design of your wedding, too," says Pierson. "I love to hear other details, like who the planner, florist, and photographer are, and the specifics of the venue. Everything about your day will help us brainstorm design ideas and conceptualize an overall design." You'll also discuss how the cake will be presented, whether you have a family heirloom cake topper or cake stand you'd like to use, or if you're in the market for a piece to add to the design.
And of course, take some time to get to know one another. "Forming a connection with your vendors will make the process easier — and more fun! I love hearing stories about how the couple met and how the proposal went down."
What will you need to decide?
Thankfully, you don't have to decide everything about your cake while you're in a sugar coma. "But the more you decide while you're there will keep you organized and check things off the list," says Pierson. "Picking flavors and a general design concept is a good place to start. You'll also be deciding whether or not this is the baker you want to hire, and if the answer is 'yes,' you'll be signing a contract and putting down a deposit to secure them for your date."