Couples are often surprised to learn that their dream wedding cake may cost them anywhere between $500-$900. How does milk, sugar, butter, and flour get to be so expensive so fast? This article can serve as a basic overview to the wedding cake creation process and may help you to realize that a delicious, memorable, custom wedding cake is worth every last penny.
High Quality Ingredients
A delicious custom cake can’t be made from an out-of-the-box cake mix. The most delicious and high-quality ingredients have to be sourced from commercial wholesalers. Some flavors of cake require particularly fresh ingredients like fresh fruit. Nobody enjoys a dry, stale, or bland piece of cake. Sometimes the taste of a cake is more memorable than even the most elaborate designs.
Baking the Cakes
Baking a cake is a scientific process. Getting the perfect cake density to be able to support your decorations while maintaining an enjoyable moist texture requires very precise ratios of ingredients. Even when the mixture is just right, each size of pan needs to stay in the oven for a different amount of time. It’s not a passive process—the baker or decorator has to check the cake every few minutes in the last portion of the baking to make sure the middle gets fully baked.
Structure & Sculpting
Most custom wedding cakes today have between two and four tall tiers. Each tier of cake has two 2” layers of cake with a layer of ganache or filling in-between to help with structure and flavor. After the cake layers come out of the oven they have to be trimmed and smoothed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the decorations. Non-standard cake shapes require the cake decorator to cut and sculpt out the desired shape from a larger rectangle or circle cake sheet.
Buttercream & Fondant
Each tier of the cake gets an initial layer of buttercream icing applied which is often referred to as a ‘crumb coat’. Adding a thin layer of buttercream helps to provide a smooth surface for fondant and other decorations. This step requires meticulous smoothing and shaping to make sure that there are no odd bumps or bubbles on the finished product.
It’s important to keep the decorations simple, but still breathtaking. Often times the fondant decorations are assembled weeks before the rest of the process begins. Depending on the complexity of the cake, the decorations may be the most time-consuming step in the process. 100% edible sugar flowers and hand piped buttercream lace make for a beautiful compliment to almost any event venue or wedding dress. A truly memorable cake should be custom designed to match the personality and style of the bride and groom.
It’s hard to move—let alone transport—a seventy-pound fragile piece of art. Complex problems require complex solutions, and sometimes the best solution is to transport the cake in several pieces and complete the assembly on-site of the event. When time is short it takes a professional to make miracles happen.