The wedding cake as we know it actually began as a loaf of bread, which was broken over a brides head in hopes of ensuring fertility and good luck. Now, times and traditions have changed drastically, and with all the different options out there, it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin! Thankfully, the amazing Jeff Stoveld from Top of the Hill bakery helped me learn a little more about what goes into choosing the perfect cake.
Although the wedding cake was once the subject of a lot of superstitions and traditions, these days the cake is more often used as a decor element rather than as something symbolic. Cakes can be created in almost any flavor, colour, design and price range that you can imagine. The average cost of a wedding cake hovers around $700, but with a big budget and a great imagination, the sky is the limit!
Some couples choose to cover their cakes only in butter cream, although most will then add a layer of fondant over top. Although the fondant does help to give the cake a nice smooth finish, it is used somewhat for aesthetic reasons as opposed to taste, as only about 60% of people actually eat the fondant and the other 40% peel this layer off. Fondant is also used to make edible decorations to go on the cake. Molding chocolate is another, slightly more expensive option as well.
The other option for edible decor items is pulled sugar. Pulled sugar is extremely intricate and time consuming work and therefore comes with a much higher price tag. However, if you want to go with a simple cake with one striking focal point, it might be something to consider. Be careful though, it is incredibly fragile and would shatter like glass if dropped. Look at the statement that can be made on a simple cake with the addition of the pulled sugar bow in the image above!
Other ways couples are trying to up the wow factor of their cakes is by adding more height with additional layers that are made of Styrofoam. However, it is a common misconception that this will end up saving you a lot of money. Although you will see a small decrease in the cost, most of the work that goes into a cake is on the exterior (and is done on the Styrofoam too), so it’s often not really all that cost-effective in the end. Some couples are even taking this one step further and choosing to rent a cake for the decor, but then serving more basic cakes or a different dessert different altogether to their guests.
In the past, the top tier of the wedding cake was often saved to eat on the one year anniversary of your wedding. While some couples are still doing this, people are realizing more and more that a cake left in a freezer for a year doesn’t necessarily make for an enjoyable treat. Instead, lots of couples are opting to serve their entire cake, and then to go back to the bakery on their first anniversary to have their top tier re-created using pictures from the original.
When choosing a cake, make sure you sit down at a consultation with your baker and go over exactly what you’re looking for. With a little planning and some creativity, it should be no problem to find your perfect cake… and eat it too!