Advice, Food & Drink

Finding the perfect wedding cake

As with every element of your wedding, there are many options. And just as many trends! So you pop to Pinterest, and your head explodes!! So we spoke to Claire from Claire’s Sweet Temptations to break things down and bust some myths.

Firstly the most important information any cake designer you contact will want to know:

1. Date of the wedding. Possibly the most important as I get booked up way in advance. Myth buster: A 4 month lead time is not enough for the cake!!!! Don’t listen to that ‘advice’ as you may find your dream cake maker can’t do your date.
2. The venue. I need to know this to work out logistics. I can take a wedding cake 500 miles, but I need to know.
3. A rough number of guests the cake is for. And it only needs to be an estimate at the early stage. But a cake for 300 will cost more than one for 30. So again, I do need to know.
4. Style. Again you don’t need the exact design nailed down. But there will be a price difference between a naked cake, and a fondant cake dripping in sugar flowers.

Myth buster: Having fake or dummy tiers will make the cake cheaper. No, it won’t. The same time, skill and materials go into decorating a dummy cake. The purpose of dummies is to add height and size when you don’t need a huge cake but want the look.

Naked, semi-naked or fondant?

The trend for naked and semi-naked cakes is still very much with us. They are lovely, especially the semi-naked. But cakes have traditionally been covered in royal or fondant icing for good reason. To stop the cake from drying out too quickly. So if you know the cake will be on display for hours, consider a fondant one. Or at least a semi-naked or fully butter creamed one that will have some protection. Ask your cake maker for advice if you’re worried about anything.

How big should a wedding cake be?

That will depend on how you’re planning on serving it. The trend recently is to serve the cake as dessert, in which case you’ll need slightly bigger than the 1x1in serving that you would use for a buffet or serve with coffee. Again, talk to your cake maker. I have a handy chart that I use that is on my website. Also, think about if you’d like any cake left over for yourself or to give to any family members who couldn’t make it. As I mentioned before, you can add dummy tiers to give you a dramatic, wow looking cake, even if it’s a small wedding. 

Most importantly, have fun! And don’t be afraid to make your cake truly personal. It’s your day. Have it your way!!

Here are just a few options you could choose from for a wedding cake, and you can see more on Claire’s Sweet Temptations website.

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This one is full buttercream, beautifully decorated with flowers. Buttercream is the most popular cake filling, but it can also be used as the covering – it reminds us of making fairy cakes as a child and getting to lick the spoon of any “leftovers”. It can be tinted most colours and it’s possible to get lots of textured effects with it.

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Here’s a semi-naked cake, like a naked cake with a thin coating of buttercream on the outside to create a smooth clean finish with sharp edges which still allows for the lovely cake layers to peek through.

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This cake is covered in royal icing which is less popular these days. It sets quite hard and so it can be a little bit hard to cut through. Claire advises that it’s also very time consuming to use which will increase the cost, however, it’s great for piping fine detailed decoration.

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This is a fondant cake which is the most popular covering for wedding cakes. Fondant is very versatile, it can be tinted to any colour and it’s easy to manipulate. The disadvantage is that it can make a large cake quite heavy. 

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This last one is a fontant covered cake with sugar flowers. Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

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