Let’s bust a few more wedding cake myths.
When I started part 1 I thought it would be a single blog post, until I started writing! I quickly realised that there are a lot more myths surrounding wedding cakes than I originally thought.
So let’s set a few more things straight.
A few years ago cupcake towers became a huge trend. And a lot of people started asking for them thinking that cupcakes will be cheaper that a traditional, stacked wedding cake. Actually it can often be the opposite. Cupcakes themselves are not particularly expensive individually, maybe £2-£5. But multiply that by 150 guest and it quickly adds up! The reason for this is that each cupcake will have to be decorated individually, they each have a pretty case that also must be supplied. Then you might want a fancy cupcake wrapper too, another expense, and they each have to be assembled, which can be time consuming. So a wedding cupcake can easily be £5 plus each. A cupcake for each guest will be bigger than a standard serving of wedding cake, and so there will actually be more ingredients and baking involved. Although you will end up with more cake. However this can mean that people don’t want to eat their cupcake there and then, as they are full of other things. So you’ll then also need cupcake pods or individual cupcake boxes to take them home in, another expense to factor in. In addition you can’t cut a cupcake for the cake cutting photos! Well you could try I guess, but chances are you’ll want a cake big enough to use for the cake cutting, so add that in as well.
The bottom line is that cupcakes are not going to be cheaper than a traditional stacked wedding cake. So only go with this if it’s something you really want. Not because you think it’ll be a cheap option.
In a similar vein to the myth about cupcakes, is the one about cutting cakes. Cutting cakes are basically sheet cakes or basic A4 size cakes that are kept in the kitchen to be cut up and brought out after the wedding cake has been cut. This is usually done because there are a large number of people to serve cake to, more than would be practical or desirable to do the main cake for. I often do these for big corporate events, but they can be done for weddings. They are a good idea if you want to cut the cake after the meal, with the day guests, but also want to be able to serve cake to your evening guests. Cutting cakes can be kept in the venue kitchen and brought out as part of the evening food. But it’s not going to be a way to bring the wedding cake cost down by any significant amount. If you think about it, a cutting cake will still be baked in the same way and with the same ingredients as the wedding cake. It will still need to be iced, just not decorated. So there will be a small saving, but not by as much as people think.
The third myth surrounding making the wedding cake cost less, is dummy cakes. Dummy cakes are fake cake tiers that we use to create the display cakes you see in photo shoots and at wedding fairs and shows. They are invaluable, and can be used in combination with real cake tiers to make your cake look much bigger. This is great if you are having a smaller wedding, but want a big, showstopping, cake to wow your guests. However, again, there is an assumption that having fake tiers will bring the wedding cake costs right down. Not true! Yes there may be a small saving, but it will be very small. A dummy cake has to be purchased, and they can cost up to £20 depending on size (even more if they are custom made sizes or shapes) They also have to be covered and decorated in the same way as the real cakes, taking just as much time and materials. I do dummy tiers with real tiers quite often, and it works really well. Just remember which is which when you come to cut the cake!!
I think the main thing to remember is that most cake makers are not trying to upsell or somehow con you. A good cake maker will not charge you anymore because it’s a wedding cake. We work out our prices based purely on the work and time involved in the cake we are asked to make. I have made corporate and even birthday cakes that have cost more than a wedding cake. It comes down to the old saying ‘cheap cake isn’t good. Good cake isn’t cheap.’ And a good cake maker will be able to work with you to give you something within your budget.
So what should you budget for your cake? I get asked this a lot at wedding fairs ‘How much will a wedding cake be?’ And it’s really a how long is a piece of string question. All my cakes, for whatever occasion, are priced individually according to the work and time involved. Although I do have a price guide on my website, it is just that, a guide.
If you have a set budget for your cake then it’s a good idea to let your cake maker know what it is early on. That way they can work with you to bring your ideas within your budget. I would recommend allowing at least £350 for the wedding cake. It’s another myth that the wedding cake will be the cheapest element, as I said just now ‘good cake isn’t cheap.’
So here’s a little recap:
1/ Cupcake towers can actually cost more that a stacked cake. And there’s lots of extras like cases, wrappers etc to factor in.
2/ Cutting cakes are a great idea if you have a lot of guests to feed. Especially if you want to serve cake to the evening guests as well as the day guests.
3/ Dummy tiers are a good way to have a showstopping cake when you don’t need that much real cake. Just remember which are the fake tiers when you come to cut the cake!
4/ Allow a decent budget for your cake, and remember ‘cheap cake isn’t good. Good cake isn’t cheap.’