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There is a protocol to the handling, cutting and serving of wedding cakes. This is hardly surprising because just about everything in a traditional wedding is governed by etiquette and protocol. Many couples, no matter how formal or informal the wedding is, most wedding couples try to observe wedding cake protocol. Protocol for wedding cakes includes the following:
If you hire a wedding planner to take care of the details, don't skimp on asking them about wedding cake details. Before you begin ordering wedding cakes, take the time to do the research and get the answers to your questions. These questions can also help you decide on a baker.
You can expect that your cost for a wedding cake will start around $3.00 per slice on traditional cakes. Depending on how many guests you are expecting (the average wedding is usually 200 guests), cost for the wedding cake will be about $600 to $1,000.
There are ways that you can cut your wedding cake costs. While many wedding cakes are works of art in their own right, the cake itself is part of the ritual feeding that the bride and groom do during the wedding reception. The cake is then cut and served to the guests as a ritual sharing of the couple's future bounty. But to save costs on wedding cakes can provide couples with more options in their wedding planning especially if they are not in love with the idea of the awe inspiring work of art. Here are some suggestions:
Wedding cakes in the Southern part of the United States actually refers to two cakes – the traditional wedding cake that is cut by the bride and groom and served to the guests and the Groom's Cake. The most famous groom's cake in popular culture is likely the red Armadillo groom's cake served at Shelby's wedding in the film Steel Magnolias.
The groom's cake is based on the legend that pieces of the cake are placed in boxes for unmarried female guests to take home and place under their pillow. The hope is that when they sleep they will dream of the man who will eventually be their husband. Of the wedding cakes served, it was the groom's cake that is traditionally served to the bridesmaids by the groom himself along with a glass of wine. Other traditions have the groom's cake as being saved and served to friends during the first dinner party after the couple returns from their honeymoon.
If you elect to add a Groom's Cake to your order for wedding cakes, here are a few suggestions:
If you or someone you know is considering making your wedding cake, there are a few things you need to know about making wedding cakes. Here is a guide to help you plan making your own wedding cake:
Spend time talking to your baker and looking through their albums of wedding cakes. The type of cake you choose will also play a large role in your wedding cake designs. Ultimately, whatever design you choose – the tradition of sharing love, life, fertility and prosperity continues when you share your wedding cake with your guests.
Your wedding cake design should mesh with your own personal taste and style. It should also fit in to the theme and menu of your wedding reception. Since you need to order your wedding cake and choose your wedding cake design about 3 months before the wedding, hold off on making your decision until after you have picked out the place for the reception, the décor, the colors and the style of dress you are going to be wearing.
When deciding on a cake keep the following in mind:
* How many guests?
* What's your budget for a cake?
* How many tiers or what design?
* What colors and decorations should be included?
* What will you be using as a cake topper?
* Will the cake be the main dessert or part of a sweets table?
Bring the answers to these questions when you interview pastry chefs. Take along sketches, ideas, and pictures from magazines. Also take color samples to leave with the pastry chef.
Keep in mind: Your cake should be ordered 6-8 weeks in advance. Your pastry chef should take care of all details, including getting the cake to the reception hall and setting it up.
Chances are when you are picking out your wedding cake design; you're also going to be looking at the wedding cake toppers. Do you go for the traditional wedding cake topper of bride and groom or do you go for something more unique and reflective of whom you and the groom are? Picking out unique wedding cake toppers you might even choose your wedding cake toppers based on what flavors are hidden under the layers of frosting. Remember, wedding cakes are delicacies that offer an explosion of flavor like mousse-filled chocolate cake and raspberry cream cakes.
When choosing your wedding cake toppers you can also reflect the theme and décor of your wedding and wedding reception. Some fun ideas for wedding cake toppers include:
Wedding cake designs are fascinating to the guests and whether the cake's flavor is exquisite or not, the wedding cake itself is a work of art and very much a part of the décor of the reception.
The modern look of the wedding cake is ever evolving and some couples skip the idea of traditional cake altogether and can actually design their cakes around ice cream cakes, cheese cake and even cupcake trees.
If you want to save the top layer of your cake for your first wedding anniversary, be sure to package it thoroughly. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then place it in a baggie, put the baggie in a small box (so it won't get crushed in the freezer), wrap the box in foil and put it inside yet another freezer bag.
Buttercream cakes usually costs between $1.50 and $2.25 a slice. The frosting is naturally buttercream, but the layers can be any flavor except filled flavors and can be constructed to a max. of 4 layers. This type looks great decorated with spun roses and sugar flowers.
Torte Styles usually cost between $2.25 and $3.50 a slice and are typically filled cakes (black forest, lemon, etc.) and usually have a fresh cream frosting that makes stacking impossible. The layers themselves are usually the decoration and they are best displayed in a "fan" arrangement.
The most expensive and most popular wedding cakes are the fondant varieties that usually cost between $3.50 and $5.00 a slice. Fruit cake is most often used but the layers can be of any flavor. This cake is best used in layers and can stack up to about 11 layers. The weight of the fondant frosting keeps it all together. Fresh flowers or silk ribbon are the decorations of choice.
A groom's cake is an 'auxiliary' cake that sits beside the main wedding cake. It's usually richer than the regular cake and is often chocolate. If you're torn between getting a little funky with your main cake and keeping it more simple, use the groom's cake as your opportunity to be more creative.
Don't get stuck in that plastic figurine rut---use something unique on the top of your wedding cake. How about the porcelain or ceramic figurine from the top of your parents' or grandparents' cake? Fresh flowers, spun sugar designs, and marzipan figures also look great.
To make your wedding 'look' even more cohesive, try to work some aspect of your wedding decor into your cake design. Bakers can use pearl beads, frosting and other decorations to create the lacy look of your dress, the drape of your pew bows or some other part of your wedding theme.
Want to add an extra special touch to your wedding cake? Try serving it with one or more of these accompaniments:
-sauce such as raspberry, strawberry or chocolate
-sorbet, sherbet or ice cream
-bananas or chocolate covered strawberries
-vanilla custard sauce or chantilly cream
If your heart says "Viennese table" but your budget says "forget it", consider having all the layers of your wedding cake made in different flavors. It can then be cut and plated buffet style, giving a choice of three or more varieties. Do remember that there can be an additional cost for each flavor.
A very popular addition to many cakes is the fountain. Know the costs in advance so you've factored it in prior to your trip to the bakery.
Usually fountains are rented from the baker or caterer and the average prices run from $20.00 to $50.00 depending on the style you select. Also keep in mind that a deposit is often required for the fountain at an average rate of $100.00 to be refunded after it's return.
You can however, find options to help lower your budget. Party Rental stores and large wedding wholesalers usually have a much wider selection and typically charge up to 25% less. So shop around, a little leg work could really pay off!
Did you know that some bakers will actually let YOU bake the cake??!! Ask if they offer a "decorating only" service and take advantage of the savings. This can be an excellent way of "up-grading" your cake selection. Most merchants will insist however, that they provide the decorating medium (artists can be temperamental) so don't plan on supplying a few cans of Betty Crocker "Ready to Spread!"
Before deciding on what kind of cake to get, ask yourself the following questions:
How many guests will be at your reception?
Where will the reception be held? Is the reception inside or outside?
What time of year is the wedding?
What do your flower arrangements look like?
What is the look and feel of the wedding (informal or formal? frilly or more streamlined?)?
What is your budget?
More common in Canada than the U.S. is the "Fake Cake" option. It's usually a three tiered number that looks exactly like the real thing at a much lower price than the real McCoy. The top layer is often real cake but the bottom ones are made of iced cardboard or foam.
Your guests will be placated with a small boxed and wrapped piece of fruit cake provided by the baker or caterer at a very reasonable price.
But heck, if your really going to fake it, go whole hog...get some appropriately shaped styrofoam blocks from your local craft store and see if you have what it takes to master "Cake Decorating 101!"