As with all aspects of your wedding, you need to decide how important it is to your wedding. The more important the aspect, the more money you may want to invest in it.
For some people, a wedding cake is a centrepiece of your wedding reception and a part they can’t wait to design and then devour on their big day. For others, it’s just a cake. A necessity to conform to a wedding tradition.
Image: Laura Charity Photography
How many guests?
How many guests you will need to cater for is one of the first questions I will ask you. This number will dictate how many servings the cake will need to provide. Your cake is generally cut in the evening unless you are serving it as a dessert, so the number of servings will be your day and evening guests.
Once you have a rough estimate of the number of guests, we can begin looking at what size cakes will work best. Sometimes the number of portions may be in between two cake sizes. At this point, you need to decide if you want all the cake to be eaten at the wedding or if you want to have extra to take home, freeze for later, share with family or enjoy in bed the morning after your wedding (so many couples have told me they do this!).
Now consider how much you would pay for a slice of cake from a bakery or cafe. Just a simple slice of cake, buttercream and jam filling, and buttercream coating. Maybe £3.50, £4.00? If you bought one slice each for 100 guests, that would be £350-400. For a cake with no decoration, no personalisation, not stacked, delivered or set up on your day. No design and no tasting beforehand to make sure you love the final product. Just a slice of basic, maybe even mass-produced cake.
Now imagine having a cake that has been designed just for you. A cake that encompasses all the important aspects that you have carefully chosen to be a part of your big day. That has handcrafted sugar flowers to match your bouquet and dyed ribbon to match your colour scheme. A cake that not only looks beautiful but is also made from the finest ingredients and tastes amazing. A cake like this is going to cost a lot more than £4.00 and so it should. So much time, experience and love are put into that cake. A cake like this is going to cost way more than a chain cafe.
Image: Laura Charity Photography
The first step is deciding what finish you want on your cake. Fondant, buttercream, semi-naked or ganache. Different finishes lend themselves better to certain designs and also, weather conditions. For example, in the middle of summer, a semi-naked cake has no protection or stability. Fondant or ganache finishes will be much more suited. We can also put a layer of ganache under a full-covered buttercream cake if having a buttercream cake is a must-have.
Fondant cakes are covered in a layer of white chocolate ganache and finished with a thin layer of premium fondant. So don’t be worried about steering clear of fondant because you had years of eating centimetre-thick icing on birthday cakes. It will be around 2mm thick and if you choose a middle piece, it will on be on the top.
Sugar flowers are my speciality! They are one of my favourite parts of making a wedding cake. I can make them match your bouquet or a specific colour. We aren’t at the mercy of nature, seasons or even limited to flowers that exist. This is where we elevate a normal cake to a piece of art.
Fondant cakes take more skill, process and ingredients costs, so will have a higher starting price than those for a buttercream, semi-naked or ganache cake. A smaller, simple cake will cost less than a larger, more detailed cake. So set your budget according to what you want for your day.
Image: Charlotte Elizabeth Photography