Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Cake Decorating - Wedding Cakes - What you need to know before going to a cake maker in the UK
Cake Decorating :Wedding Cakes
Choosing a Cake Maker
Recommendations are always a good place to start, talk to friends, family, neighbours to ask who they would recommend. Look in the yellow pages, remember that many cake makers work from home so don't necessarily go for the big flashy adverts! Go to Wedding Fairs, it's a good place to get ideas, but remember that the cakes on display will be fake (dummy cakes), and it's easier to get a flawless finish with a dummy cake!
A shop will be registered with the local council for environmental health checks etc, and food hygiene certificates displayed. If you are using a home decorator, ask if they have been registered, and also ask to see their food hygiene certificates (they should be no more than 3 years old). (remember food business have to register in the UK, whether or not they work from a commercial premises or home)
Ask to see pictures - any good cake maker should have plenty of photographs for your to look at.
Ask if they have one any competitions etc
Wedding cake ideas.
Ask the cake maker - they should be a mine of information and ideas.
Take a look in magazines, ‘Wedding Cakes a design source’ is an excellent place to start, with hundreds of cake ideas in each issue. - available from larger WHSmith, other large book/magazine shops) about £4.99 quarterly.
Think about what you have chosen so far e.g. colour and type of flowers, your bridesmaids dresses etc. Do you want a traditional or contemporary cake? Do you have hobbies you’d like included, do you want something unusual, where is your reception being held?
If you have a lot of guests e.g 200+ and rather than a monster would like normal size Cake, but it won’t be enough for all your guests, think about this - After the cutting of the cake for photographs, your cake will be whisked away by the caterers for serving. Most cake decorators can provide a plain iced cake, in the same colour as your main cake, and this can be ready for cutting in the kitchen, your guests will never know!
Want a three tier Cake but you'll never eat it all!
Most Cake Makers can substitute tiers for dummy cakes these would be iced in the same way as the real cake, overall the cake will look real even though some cake may not be. If you’re not sure … take a look at cakes in a cake shop window - they are normally 'dummy cakes'. If you're still not sure, talk to the cake maker - they probably have photographs of mixed fake and real cakes.
What sort of Cake to have?
Traditional Fruit Cake has begun to decline in popularity with sponge cakes and even cupcakes being the top choice. Depending upon your design you can have mixed tiers e.g. one fruit, one chocolate, and one plain sponge. Remember though that it is not just you eating the cake! Many guests would like to keep a slice of wedding cake, therefore it is nice to have one tier in fruit. Again talk to your cake maker, but at the end of the day the decision is yours!
So you've seen an amazing 6 tier wedding cake, all chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache, and chocolate curls etc etc - Great, but if you're getting married in a Marquee in July, or you cake is going to be displayed in front of a window in a hotel reception - think again. The last thing you want is a collapsing cake, or a cake wilting in the sun! talk to your cake maker!
Special Diets and Allergies?
Some Cake makers will cater for special diets, but remember that nut allergies can be more difficult, we would suggest that it could be very difficult for any cake maker to say they do not have nut trace, because they would normally use marzipan and other nut products in their kitchen.
Should we use fresh real flowers on a cake?
Fresh flowers have become very popular on cakes - check with the florist though that they are happy to decorate a cake in flowers - check that they have done it before, ask to see pictures!There are some issues such as water damage to the icing or flowers wilting! It's also worth checking that if you are having exotic flowers that they are not poisonous! Take a look at sugar flowers, you can have them hand made - but expect to pay for this high skill - some cake shops sell sugar flowers ready made - they are not as fine as professionally handmade flowers but are still popular for wedding cakes.
How can I store sugar flowers & decorations?
You can safely store these for many years in an airtight container, out of direct sunlight and away from any damp atmosphere. You can also buy picture frames and Perspex containers, in which you can display your flowers.
Is it possible to keep a wedding cake tier for a Christening?
Fruit cakes can safely be kept for a few months, though people do keep fruit cake longer, most cake shops will only date a fruit cake with a best before date of 3-6 months. Sponges must be eaten within a week, but you can also freeze them for a few weeks. Again talk to the cake maker. Be aware that if you keep a fruit cake for longer than the best before date, you should take off all the icing and marzipan and put fresh on the cake - the reason - the bit most likely to go off is the marzipan, it can ferment due to moisture under the icing. The last thing you want is a mouldy christening cake!
I want a wacky cake with figures or buildings in sugar?Talk to your cake maker! They should be able to design unique cakes, make bride and grooms in sugar, make cars, buildings, pillars in the shape of people and so on.
I want my cake to taste as good as it looks
Talk to your cake maker! Ask your cake maker if it is possible to get a sample of cake- don't expect to get a chocolate cake sample with chocolate cigarello and sugar flowers! - You should be able to get a piece of cake with filling, so that you can try it.
Can I take my wedding cake abroad, as I am getting married outside the UK?
Your cake maker should be able to supply your cake in heavy duty transport boxes, these are stronger cardboard, but you still must ensure that the cake remains level and isn’t bumped around too much! It has been known for people to book extra seats on flights just to take the cake - check with your airline. Most importantly - check whether you can take cake into your destination country! For example Australia has very strict guidance on food products.
When should we order our Cake?
As soon as possible! Trained, skilled cake decorators are rare, and their talents are in high demand. We recommend booking a wedding cake 3-6 months in advance, book early.
When should we order our Cake? As soon as possible!
Cake prices vary hugely, for a standard 3 tier sponge cake you should expect a starting price of around £200 - £250, and then start adding your decoration etc on top. For a three tier fruit cake you should expect to start at around £350. If you are in London, you should look at prices starting at around £500 for most wedding cakes.
Should we make an appointment to order our Cake?It is not always possible to take a wedding cake order on the spot . A cake maker would rather not rush your order! It normally takes half and hour to and hour to take a wedding cake order, this is to allow enough time to detail your design. It is a good idea to take with you anything relevant to your wedding e.g. colour samples, your theme, where your reception is...
Do I need a deposit for the Cake?
Most cake makers will ask for a deposit to secure the date, this is usually non refundable. Expect to pay a fairly big deposit £50-£100 or more.
When are balances normally paid?Usually your cake maker would ask for the balance to be paid a few weeks in advance of collection or delivery. Some may take the balance on collection.
Should I expect to see the cake before the wedding.
This would depend on the type of cake you've ordered, if it's all chocolate you might not be able to see until the day before, if it's all fruit, you may be able to see as far as the week before.
Important NOTE - When is the cake going to be served?Traditionally the cake is cut just after the meal, with photos taken of the bride and groom, the cake is then taken away for cutting and is served with the tea and coffee. Many hotels will persuade you have the cake cut at the evening buffet - this sounds good, but when your guests have eaten a large meal at 3-4-5pm and then have possibly been drinking, the last thing they want to eat at 8-9-10pm is wedding cake. You need to decide whether your cake is for display, or if it is a big part of your day and you have your guests enjoy it! If you want your cake cut at the reception, put your foot down and ask for it to be cut at the reception!
For more cake decorating items visit http://www.cake-links.com/