A wedding cake is yummy: That's something you would rarely hear 25 years ago when wedding cakes were pretty but had a reputation for being dry and boring. Now wedding cakes are far more than pretty—they're exciting, creative, and sometimes even electric (think Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss). A talented pastry chef can copy almost any design a bride or groom can think of, and most of the time it still tastes great.
But just in case you're worried, most bakeries invite potential clients to participate in a cake tasting, so you can make certain that your wedding cake is something you want to eat, not just look at. There are a few things that wedding professionals know that would make life easier for engaged couples who are choosing their cakes. Check out these four tips below before you select your own.
1. If You Choose a Fancy Cake Design, Chances Are the Cake Has to Be Covered in a Fondant Frosting
Fondant's consistency has been compared to that of a rolled-out marshmallow, and most people think it's too sweet to eat. To get the look you want, and ensure the guests still want to eat it, choose a moist cake and opt for filling between the layers. Also, ask to have the cake frosted with buttercream before they add the fondant. Most guests will eat the cake out from the fondant shell, but that way, they'll still have edible frosting in every bite.
2. Adding Fake Layers to Make a Cake Taller Doesn't Really Save Much Money
The cost of a wedding cake, per tier, has more to do with the time it takes to decorate it perfectly than it does the cost of the actual cake itself. The taller the cake gets, the more complicated and expensive the assembly, even when some of the tiers are made out of Styrofoam.
3. Nobody Needs to See Every Piece of Cake Being Cut
In fact, at many venues, the cake is on a rolling table that will disappear into the kitchen after the bride and groom do their official cutting, and served from behind the scenes. For really big weddings, it's far less expensive to do a simple two or three-tier wedding cake, and have backup sheet cakes in the kitchen to be cut and served to half of the guests. Trust me, nobody will even notice any difference.
4. The Type of Cake—and Its Weight—Affects How Many Tiers You Can Stack on Top of Each Other
Something very wet, like a tres leches cake or a rum cake, cannot be stacked as tall as something more lightweight. Likewise, very lightweight delicate cakes like those sporting fluffy mousse between the layers cannot support much weight. A heavy cake topper may actually sink directly into the cake unless the chef has hidden a supporting base for it under the frosting.
Sandy Malone is an expert wedding planner and the author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional.