How to choose the design for your wedding cake

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and one of those precious memories that you will want to treasure forever! Whilst many of details may be forgotten, there is one element that can really make your day unforgettable and that is your cake! But it’s one of those of those things are really difficult to choose along with your wedding dress! So where do you start?

Wedding cake traditions

It is predominantly a Western tradition that a newly married couple stand together, hand on hand, and cut the cake together, however this has been adopted across multiple cultures. This is because cutting the cake is a symbol of unity and togetherness. Many other traditions have fallen by the wayside but the symbolic nature of the wedding cake is one of the reasons why they are still so popular in modern culture.

So… what sort of cake should we go for?

Wedding cakes come in all shapes, sizes, flavours and colours.  The most popular flavours include fruit cake, chocolate cake, sponge cake and even cream cakes.  It is totally up to each individual couple what they choose to select.

The date of your wedding is also an important factor to consider, particularly in the warmer months.

A chocolate cake may not stand the tests of time on a blistering hot summer’s day, and a buttercream finish may also be less appropriate in the warmer months.  Likewise, a strawberries and cream cake could seem out of place in the middle of winter and even if you do manage to get hold of the fruit, as it is out of season, you may find that they don’t taste as sweet as they should.

The design of your cake is only limited by your imagination.

Some couples design the cake around the theme of their wedding, while others choose more unique looks with decorations that define who they are.  Where possible, your cake should be as individual as you, whilst I would advise you to take the advice of your cake-decorator, shop around a bit.  Some bakers may turn ideas down simply because “they” can’t do it.  If however, you find that all decorators are finding your choice a little difficult, then it may be best to reconsider your design as largely, your baker will have a lot more experience than you as to what is practicable.

My best advice is to order your cake as far in advance as possible to give your baker plenty of time to try and accommodate all of your requests so that you are not disappointed. The earlier the better.

What colour should we go for?

The colour of the wedding cake would normally tie in with the chosen wedding colours in general. Often the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses would feature in venue decorations, the bride’s bouquet and accents and decorations on the cake itself.  Your wedding planner if you have one would normally give advice on this.

What size should I go for?

Usually wedding cakes will have to be fairly large as they must accommodate the number of guests you have invited.  Due to this fact, multi-tiered cakes have become traditional and these can either be separate cakes put together with a stand or stacked directly on top of one another.  They normally start with a smaller cake at the top, generally about 4 – 6”, which traditionally can be kept by the couple to eat on their first anniversary (see more about this in the article – how to store your wedding cake), and they gradually increase in size, ending with a very large cake at the bottom, sometimes even as big as 14-16”!   The chart below should give you a guide as to the sizes you would need to serve your guests but this needs to be discussed with your cake-maker as some sizes are not suitable for particular designs.

Another option for multi-tiered cakes – should you be finding it difficult to decide, is to have each tier feature a different flavour! This way you get the best of all worlds!!

Wedding Cake Servings Chart

Tiered Wedding Cakes

Sponge Round

Sponge Square

Fruit Round

Fruit Square

Dessert Portions

6”8”10” 72 95 120 155 50
8”10”12” 120 145 180 240 75
6”8”10”12” 132 180 200 265 85
8”10”12”14” 200 240 280 375 120
6″8″10″12″14″ 212 260 300 395 130

Sponge and Chocolate Cake is cut at 2”x1” Fruit Cake is cut at 1″ square

Who should I hire?

There are several companies on the market who provide beautiful cakes.  It is important however, that the cake also tastes good! Your guests will certainly remember how let down they were after viewing a magnificent cake that tasted, dry or oily or too sweet!

It is usual for companies to have one to one meetings with the intended couple and to work together as a team to decide upon the perfect cake for the perfect wedding day. These sessions often include tasting sessions which may or may not be at a separate cost.  It is wise to be wary of companies that do not allow you to sample their work before you make your purchase.

Remember that they have been through the process many times before and it is wise to take their advice.  Your dream wedding cake, may be totally impracticable or the colour or design you want not easily achievable without incurring huge costs.  If you are steered away from something there is often good reason.

And lastly, as with all purchases, it is good practice to shop around! May the best man/woman/company win!!

Delivery service

Often your chosen wedding cake provider will offer to deliver your wedding cake to your chosen venue free of charge. However, this is not always the case – check before you make your final decision as dependent on how difficult your design is to transport, you may find that this can dramatically increase the cost of your delivery.  I once had to deliver a cake with a huge bottom tier of 24”!! This needed serious man power and several trips, as well as hours of on-site assembly.  Of course these costs needed to be added to the charge!!

Having your cake delivered will not only help to ease the various pressures of planning and organising your special day, it will also give you peace of mind. It removes any worries regarding picking it up and potential problems with transportation. It takes great skill and experience to drive a wedding cake to the venue and set it up in one piece – you would be surprised!! Remember, these are very valuable and costly goods at the end of the day – if it gets damaged in transit, it’s highly unlikely you can walk into a shop and buy a replacement!

Natasha xx

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