So far we have talked a lot about finding the right cake maker, and how your wedding cake will look. But this is only half the story.
We still need think about how your cake will taste!
It seems to be a common theme that when I meet with my couples to discuss their wedding cake, they are divided. The bride is very keen on how the cake looks, the groom is more interested in how the cake tastes.
And that’s what we are going to talk about today. Cake flavours.
Gone are the days when the wedding cake was a fruit cake, all of it. With marzipan and thick royal icing that needed a chisel (there’s good reason why the cake knives used to be so big and heavy!) Although I do still, occasionally, do fruit cake for weddings, it’s usually a sponge cake. I don’t really know when the change from fruit to sponge started, but I’m very glad it did. I’ve nothing against fruit cake, but maybe not four plus tiers of it!
It’s true that fruit cake will last for a long time. And a very boozy cake will last even longer. We all know how long a Christmas cake will keep. But I can’t remember a couple ever wanting to keep the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening cake, as was traditional. Saying that, some couples do freeze their top tier to bring out for their anniversary. There will be more about storing your leftover wedding cake in the coming posts.
Back to the cake flavours. I’m often told by couples that choosing the cake flavours is one of their favourite parts of the wedding planning process. Who doesn’t like to eat cake?!
But how do you narrow it down?
Firstly, there’s no reason why you can’t have each tier of your cake a different flavour. So if you are having a four tier cake, then you can have four flavours. And yes, you can mix fruit cake with sponge cake if you want to.
A lot of couples worry about making sure they choose flavours that will please their wedding guests. While there is nothing wrong with that, and it’s worth bearing in mind, my advice is to have the flavour, or flavours, you want. It’s your wedding, the chances are that you’re paying for it. So have what pleases you, in taste as well as appearance. I had one couple who chose the whole four tier cake, to feed over 100, all in coconut and lime cake with pineapple buttercream. It was their favourite flavour from my list, and that’s what they wanted. When I asked if they were sure the bride said ‘It’s our wedding, they will get the cake we choose!’
However that might be a bit extreme.
My advice would be to have a look on your chosen cake makers website and have a chat with them. I have a list of the most popular flavours on my website, and will happily go off list if you have something very specific in mind. Find out what seems to be the most popular flavours for wedding cakes are that your cake maker offers. And then think about what your favourite cake flavours are.
Also arrange a cake tasting and consultation with your cake maker. I offer two options. A full consultation with a tasting box of three flavours, in person. Or a tasting box by post. The postal boxes are a great option if you are getting married a long way from home. Based in the South West I get this a lot. And I hated the idea of my couples not being able to try the cakes before their wedding.
Now you may think that a cake is a cake is a cake. But there are literally thousands of recipes out there, and each cake maker will have their preferred recipes. And so one persons chocolate cake could taste very different to another. Therefore it’s important to make sure you’re happy with the taste of the cakes before the big day, to ensure no disappointments.
Often I hear that couples don’t get to have any cake on the day, as there is so much else going on. If you have the venue save the top tier, then you know you won’t miss out. Why not have the smallest, top tier, in your favourite flavour. Then ask the venue to save that for you. I offer a 4in ‘take to bed’ cake for this very reason. It’s a separate, mini wedding cake, that is not offered to guests. Instead it’s boxed and left for the newlyweds to enjoy.
Another consideration is dietary requirements of any guests. A good cake maker will be able to deal with this so you don’t have to worry about it. I regularly do gluten free, dairy free or both. And they don’t have to be separate from the rest of the cake either. These days your really can’t tell the difference between ‘free from’ and regular cakes. Vegan cakes can be a little more specialised, so make sure you ask your cake maker early on about any vegan options.
So here is your checklist for choosing your wedding cake flavours:
What are YOUR favourite flavours?
You can have each tier a different flavour, including fruit cake. So you don’t have to be restricted to one flavour.
Think about what your guests would like, but don’t sacrifice what you want.
Check if there are any dietary requirements among your guests. And make sure to discuss this with your cake maker.
Don’t be afraid to ask to go off list. A good cake maker will be able to accommodate any special requests.
Do a cake tasting. Sometimes the flavour you think you want might change when you try it. And you might end up liking something you didn’t think you would.
Most importantly? Enjoy it!