Monday, March 15, 2010

Myths & Facts about Wedding Cakes

I have needed to blog about a few issues now for a while. A couple, are questions I receive over and over. It seems that sometimes magazines or other wedding preparation sources can, on occasion, give misguided information to couples embarking on their marriage-planning journey. I’m going to touch on a few of the cake-bunk items … as I see them anyways.

MYTH 1 – You should book your wedding cake 2 months before your event.
FALSE FORGET THAT!!! Fact is you should book your cake as soon as your officiant, venue & entertainment are booked. If you wait until 2 months before your event you may be very disappointed that your date is NOT available. Especially if you have been planning your wedding since you were a little girl. Why would you wait on this important detail? You might have this idea all drawn out and then bring it to a baker and they tell you it is too complicated to complete on such short notice. Or sorry I have no space left. Or worse your limited choice of bakers leaves you with Aunt Edna saying I can do something ‘similar’ for you…. But we have all seen the Cakewrecks web site…. Or if you haven’t, maybe you should!
If you have your heart set on a custom designed cake, then book early. I will book up to a year and a half in advance. Small custom cake artists like myself only take on a limited number of commissions per year. If you were at a wedding and ‘loved that cake’ chances are someone else will too.

MYTH 2 - Ordering a fake is less expensive.

The MYTH of the fake cake being ‘cheaper’ has been around for some time. If you find a company that rents cakes as a usual course of business this may be an option for keeping costs down, if your venue is already supplying dessert. FACT is having a fake cake made for your wedding is NOT(cheaper). The majority of costs involved in making a wedding cake are labour. The time it takes to bake, ice and decorate a real cake verses a fake is no different. Your baker still has to take the time to order your styrofoam layers and pay for shipping. If sculpting is involved, Styrofoam is difficult, time consuming and messy to shape. As most bakery ordering is done at the same time, storage now becomes an issue as well. These styrofoams are now iced and decored the exact same as a real wedding cake, taking just as much time or more as a royal iced, fondanted cake now needs time to dry. What might have been an easy push to install a posy pick, now becomes a chore for a power tool to make that hole where a flower stem or decoration needs to be inserted. Don’t kid yourself a custom fake is still a custom cake.

MYTH 3 - Kitchen slab cakes cost less

There is a TRUE and FALSE answer to this myth. Certainly this can be an option if you have a very large guest list and want a very ornately decorated cake. Creating a cake to display for 150 of your guests and have the other 200 portions needed to serve hidden away in the kitchen. But the kitchen cake itself still needs to be layered and torted with filling to look just like the servings from the main cake. Not a single layered, no filling cake like you find at a grocery store. You would not want guests sitting beside each other with 2 different quality of cakes wondering why they weren’t just as special as someone else. So the per serving price is still in place but where you can save is in the d├ęcor price. You needn’t cover a kitchen cake fondant (unless you want to) and you needn’t make all the fancy decorations like the display cake.

Now these last points are not myths just some important FYIs that I often get asked about.

Can you bring me a cake to decorate?

No, this is something I cannot do. Why? Because of cross contamination. Your kitchen has more than likely processed meat in it. My kitchen does not know what meat is. I can’t take the risk of possibly bringing in outside contaminants of this sort. And there isn’t any type of cake I don’t already make here.

Can you bring me your special pans to bake in?

No. As much as this may have special meaning for you to use pans passed down from family, I can’t relearn the baking process just for one individual. I use commercial grade baking pans. I know how they bake. I know how much to fill them, most retail baking pans are 1 to 1 ½ inches high; mine are all 3 inches deep. I also know how much time they need to be in the oven for a specific type of cake. Sometimes time is of the essence and if a re-bake is necessary there might not be enough time to go through the motions all over again. I would not want to run the risk of not having the moistest yummiest cake come out of my kitchen.

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