Top Wedding Cake Tips For Soon-To-Weds

Do you think you know everything you need to know about wedding cakes? The Knot is one of our favorite wedding websites, and they’ve put together a list of top wedding cake tips for all you soon-to-weds to check out.

Mitchie & Kenneth's Wedding Cake and Custom Cake Topper.
Mitchie & Kenneth’s Wedding Cake and Custom Cake Topper.

On Selecting a Style

The Knot says:

Deal with the cake after all decisions about dress style and reception decor have been made. These elements can serve as a blueprint for the design and structure of your wedding cake.

Choose a cake that’s compatible with the style of the venue, the season, your gown, the flower arrangements, or the menu. If you want colorful accents (such as sugar flowers or icing ribbons), give your baker fabric swatches. The cake should be part of the wedding, not a glaring sideshow.

You don’t need to worry about your wedding cake package until you’ve nailed down your wedding reception date and venue, your theme/motif/color palette, and your guest count.

Mind Your Magazines

Brides come to us with all sorts of pegs for their cakes and cupcakes– most of which have been found online.

Keep in mind, magazines (like The Knot) have food stylists, editors, and assistants working nonstop to keep the cakes looking perfect. These people spend hours fixing the sweating, dripping, leaning, or sagging that can happen to a cake after it’s been sitting for a while. And if what they do doesn’t work, they can fix it with Photoshop. They also have the luxury of creating cakes from stuff that isn’t edible — most cakes in magazines are iced pieces of Styrofoam, which certainly doesn’t taste very good. So don’t expect your cake designer to be able to replicate exactly what you see in print.

Of course, whenever we accept a cake order, we simply do the best we can!

On Sizing Up Your Cake

The Knot says:

If the reception is in a grand room with high ceilings, consider increasing the cake’s stature with columns between the tiers. (A “stacked” cake is one with its layers stacked directly atop each other, with no separators.)

This is particularly true with venues such as hotels, or venues similar to, say, Tagaytay Highlands. You can do a number of things to give your cake some extra height, so don’t forget to ask us about that.

This 5-tiered wedding cake has extra separators made of candy flowers to give it some more height. We made this for a wedding at Tagaytay Highlands.

Buttercream or fondant?

As far as wedding cakes go (at least here in Tagaytay), your two safest bets are buttercream or fondant.  But which one should you go for?

That’s the main question. Buttercream is often much more delicious. But if you love the smooth, almost surreal-like look of fondant as much as we do, consider frosting the cake in buttercream first and then adding a layer of fondant over the entire confection.

Consider The Weather

The Philippines is generally predictable when it comes to weather, in that we only have to prepare for two weather conditions– heat or rain.

As mentioned, buttercream and fondant are your best bet for wedding cakes– they retain their shape for a prolonged period of time (i.e. from the moment it leaves the shop, to when it’s set up at your wedding reception, and way after you call it a wrap).

If you’re using a fondant cake, avoid moisture– rainshowers, fog, and high humidity can ruin the cake.  If you’re going for a buttercream cake, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight.

A 3-tier wedding cake creation, with a custom cake topper, by Sofia's Cakes Tagaytay-Amadeo Road.
The Cassidy Design. A fondant wedding cake in classic white, with a custom bride-and-groom cake topper.

Encourage Cake Collaboration

It is not uncommon for us to work with florists and event stylists when decorating the cake, and even your cake table or dessert station.

If you want to garnish your cake with fresh flowers, find out if the cake designer will work with your florist, or if you are responsible for the blooms. If the florist is running the show, will she have time to adorn the cake? Be wary of elaborate floral accents if your reception space decor is labor-intensive.

Get Him Involved!

You know what we need to see more of?  Groom cakes.

The popularity of the groom’s cake, traditionally a Southern custom, is on the rise. The bride’s cake — the one cut by the couple at the reception — is traditionally eaten as dessert. The groom’s cake is usually darker and richer (often chocolate) and nowadays crafted to show off the groom’s passions and obsessions. Give slices to guests as a take-home memento or cut and serve both for dessert.

Chel & Lan's Wedding Cake, with custom bride-and-groom topper.
Chel & Lan’s Wedding Cake, with custom bride-and-groom topper.

Pricing Out Your Cake

When it comes to wedding cakes, the biggest consideration is actually how much labor and expertise it takes to put together your chosen design.

The more complicated the cake (based on intricate decorations or hard-to-find fillings), the higher the price tag. Fondant icing is more expensive than buttercream, and if you want elaborate molded shapes, vibrant colors, or handmade sugar-flower detailing, you’ll pay for the cake designer’s labor.

On Finding Ways to Save

The Knot says:

Order a small cake that’s decorated to perfection but can only feed a handful plus several sheet cakes of the same flavor to actually feed the guests.

If you’ll have a dessert table (or another sweet) in addition to the cake, consider a cake sized for half your guests. Servings will be smaller, but the fee will shrink too.

Don’t forget to ask the Sofia’s Cakes team about the latest wedding cake promos available!

Go Mini?

Many bakers agree that the idea of a mini cake (where each guest gets his or her own) is a great idea — in theory but not always in practice. Not only does each cake require its own decoration (often as intricate, if not more, than one that’s four times its size), each will require its own box. Unfortunately, boxes don’t come in mini-cake sizes. Often the bakery must construct individual boxes in which to transport these cakes. Multiply by however many guests you’ll be having, and you’ll see what a costly, time-consuming feat this actually is. That said, if you can swing it, they look amazing being passed around by waiters on sleek silver trays (and of course, they taste just as great too).

Here in Metro Tagaytay, we’re usually asked to work with cupcakes in varying arrangements, such as towers or tiered showcases.  If this is the case, we encourage that the cupcakes used for the arrangement be package-free, so you can show off whatever custom design you have for your wedding cupcakes.

150-piece cupcake tower in turquoise blue and yellow, by Sofia's Cakes Tagaytay-Amadeo Road.
Jaclyn’s Wedding Cupcake Tower. Large turquoise cupcake-shaped cake topping the tower, with cupcakes in turquoise and yellow buttercream frosting.

Get It On Display

Especially so in this age of Instagram, and the fact that most couples invest a lot these days on top-notch wedding photography and videography, you’ll want to make your wedding cake, cake spread, and cake table picture-perfect.

Your cake will likely be on display before it’s cut and consumed. Make sure there is a designated cake table that allows the most elegant presentation possible. A round table is perfect for round cakes, but a linear cake design may call for a rectangular table. Figure out your options. Once you have a cake table, have fun dressing it up: Drape it with sumptuous fabrics and decorate it with motifs, colors, and flowers to match the cake (your florist can help).

Top It Off

Here at Sofia’s Cakes, the most common wedding cake topper we’ve been using these days is a custom polymer clay figurine.  At the request of our clients, we’ve also used fresh flowers and fresh fruit, flaglets and buntings, and even toys.

There are many beautiful and unique ways to top off your cake, so you can avoid plastic figurines (unless you’re going for cool-kitsch). If you have an heirloom piece — especially a fine porcelain antique — work with your baker to integrate it into an appropriate design. A pair of sugar or gingerbread cookies can look charming atop a country wedding cake. Finely sculpted maple sugar or marzipan figurines are quaint. Other alternatives: a bouquet of sugar flowers, a cascade of icing ribbons, or even a sugar block carved out to reveal your new monogram.

White buttercream wedding cake for a Tagaytay wedding, with a custom cake topper, by Sofia's Cakes Tagaytay-Amadeo Road.
2-Tier Mimilanie Design

Taste the Cake

As you start setting up appointments, find out when each baker’s next tasting is scheduled. At tastings, clients are invited into the bakery to sample exemplary cakes, ask questions, and review portfolios. This is an excellent opportunity to meet bakers and fully understand the range of their abilities.

For our Standard Wedding Cake packages, we even prepare a small selection of cakes for our clients to take home and sample at their convenience.

Lock Down Delivery Details

While we almost exclusively service the neighborhood of Metro Tagaytay, there have been times when we’ve been requested to deliver a wedding cake further away.

Cake delivery takes coordination. Complex cakes may not necessarily be delivered in final form. Allow time and space for assembly, if needed.

Make sure you’ve made arrangements to have your cake arrive (and set up!) before your guests get there. One to two hours before reception starts would suffice.

After the Wedding…

Here in Tagaytay, not a lot of couples know about preserving the top-most tier of their wedding cake for their first anniversary. (It’s tradition!)

If you must adhere to tradition, wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then bag it in an airtight baggie. Stay away from aluminum foil — it might not protect against freezer burn as well as plastic wrap because it’s not an airtight material.

Of course, you don’t have to do this.  Nevertheless, a quality wedding cake properly stored and frozen can retain its flavor for prolonged periods of time.  But if you feel like breaking it open after a couple of weeks, or a couple of months– go right ahead!

Think about indulging on your two-week or one-month anniversary, and treat yourself to a fresh cake in the same flavor when you’ve survived the first year.

(Original article from The Knot may be found here. Featured cake photo from Wedded Wonderland.)

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Renzie is a Destination Wedding Consultant with 20 years of event management and marketing experience. A former FM radio executive, Renzie calls Metro Tagaytay home, networking with local wedding suppliers and running a number of small businesses. In his spare time, Renzie reads about organic farming, the works of Robert Greene, as well as content marketing, web development, and DC graphic novels.

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"Let's face it-- a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me!" -- Audrey Hepburn
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