Saturday, June 16, 2012

      Dream cakes, yummy cakes, cakes to die for.  It's what all of us romantic gals would like to have at our wedding reception.

After finding your dress, for some, the cake is the next significant item that display your taste and style, especially at the reception.

Some of my favorite spots to hunt for delicious designs are 
But there are countless others on the web.  Just Google - "wedding cake designs" and it will bring up "images for wedding cake designs"  you will see more cake than you ever imagined.  Unless you're like me...I can imagine a LOT of cake.

      If you are looking for a particular color, or style, or with a particular fruit, flower, or element, include that in your search and it will narrow the field.  For instance, when I was looking for designs that incorporated hydrangeas for a spring wedding I simply titled my search "wedding cake with hydrangeas" and hit about 10,000 images within seconds.  Closing your search inside quotation marks helps to gather only images with both wedding cake and hydrangeas and not cakes AND hydrangea pictures.


     True, the tiered layers are so impressive, however, even celebrities rarely need as much cake as what 7 layers provides.  Did you know that there are frequently "dummy" layers under that icing.  True.  This is one way of getting a look you've fallen in love with (after the groom of course) without all the expense and the extra cake you would be eating for months. Your cake decorator/baker can work with you to determine which layers would be actual cake to have a sufficient amount for your guests and then your "save" layer for your anniversary.  There is a plethora of cake flavors and infusions that add to the wonder and confusion of choosing cake, but if the cake is coarse or dry, it doesn't matter what flavor it is, it will be a disappointment at your special celebration.
      As you plan your wedding, consider the age and type of guests not just the number when calculating cake with your cake decorator/baker.  The average cake serving that bakers calculate by is a 1" x 2" slice.  Typically, young female guests (teens- 20's) eat little or no cake, while males in the same age range may eat their slice and the slice only picked at by the female next to them.  Also, professional acquaintances will typically eat a smaller amount than close family and friends.  Also, whoever cuts your cake needs to be aware of which layers to cut (and which are just for presentation) and what is the anticipated size you want them cut.  I've been at weddings and cut cake for the bride and we ran out of the standard 1"x 2" slices, and I've been at weddings where we cut slabs twice that size and there was plenty (and some ate 2 pieces and took one home for a midnight snack).  These are just thought to keep in mind.  Whether or not there is other food prior to cake time; is that food finger/cocktail food, or is it buffet or full plated dinner?  These can have an impact on how quickly guests will devour the cake.

      Lest I digress, the object of the search would be for you to find a photo(s) to take with you to your cake designer/bakery when ordering your wedding cake.  Not every bakery can produce all the wide range of designs out there.  Some specialize in a variety of flavors, others may specialize in gum paste (sugar) work - such as life-like flowers - or traditional buttercream roses and string-work.  Be sure to tell them what you are looking for, get their input and suggestions but don't be sold into something that may not be your best option.

      The popularity of cable channels TLC and the Food network as spurned a huge surge in the appearance of new bakers, cupcakeries, and would-be "Aces" & "Bosses".  References are valuable.  Alaska has an online blog called the urban spoon where customers and critics provide feedback on their experience at different eating places.  It never hurts to check them out because I've found both extremely positive and extremely negative on a variety of bakeries and establishments all within the same blog.

     Price is the next major hurdle for brides.  I am, by nature, a pretty frugal shopper.  I research for quality and reputation of a service or product, compare prices, and shop for bargains. Do the same when shopping for cakes and catering.  TASTE it. Get a reference from someone who has eaten it.  Like I said, due to the popularity of so many "cake" shows and wars on television you will find you have a lot of choices, even in Alaska.  Remember too, the old saying that "you get what you pay for" but as any smart bargain hunter knows, sometimes you get all you want and then some at a great price.

      Wedding cakes are priced a bit differently than your standard bakery round or sheet cake.  The charge is by the number of servings and can go up with the degree of detail or intricacy of your design.  Most bakeries have a basic price list online or you can call and ask for a price per serving prior to your visit/consultation with the cake decorator, but after discussing your design, be sure to get a quote on what additional charges may be if there is sugar work, string work, or other details.  Delivery fees may apply, but are minimal if you are purchasing within your own city.  Cakes are created on a board support but if you want a special stand or arrangement for your cake table, this may include an additional charge as well. 

     The range prices per/serving for Alaskan wedding cake is from $2 - $12.  Even wedding cupcakes aren't necessarily "less expensive" (unless they are homemade) these range from $2 - $5+ each.
The $2 price is typical grocery chain bakery price, but you should be able to score a delicious, beautiful cake for around $3 - $4 without venturing into the highest range unless you are independently wealthy and money is no object.  :-)

For more ideas for planning your wedding in Alaska -

Sweet Whimsy & Company
Wedding & Event Planners
Gina Auldridge, consultant

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