As bakers continue to create cakes with innovative shapes, bold fillings, and intricate detail; the infinite amount of options are enough to put you into a sugar coma. Here's what you need to know.
When should I start looking for a cake baker?
Cake bakers should be booked within four to six months before your wedding, but keep in mind, some reputable bakers are often hired up to a year in advance. Some reception sites may require that you use their catering services, but stringent cake rules are less common. Definitely ask your caterer if someone on his staff is an experienced baker.
How do I find the right baker?
Figure out your pastry priorities, then do a little research: Ask recent brides whose cakes you like for recommendations; check out bakers' websites and see if there's a cake that looks similar to what you're thinking. Once you've narrowed it down, make appointments with a few different bakers in order to get a feel for which one fits you best.
Do you have to have a traditional cake topper?
You can top your cake with whatever you like, or nothing at all. If you have an heirloom piece -- perhaps an antique brooch -- work with your baker to add it into your top tier. Or, consider using your parent's cake topper as your something old. Look to your locale too. Other ideas: a cascade of ribbons or sugar letters shaped as your new monogram.
If you have an heirloom piece -- perhaps an antique brooch -- work with your baker to add it into your top tier.
How should I display my cake at the reception?
A round table is perfect for round cakes, but a square design may look better displayed upon a rectangular table. Next, pick out linens that will highlight the color of the cake. Finally, don't hide your wedding cake in the corner. Have it set on risers or near the entrance of your reception.
When are you supposed to cut the cake?
Traditionally, the cake cutting signifies that the end of the reception is near (that is, the cue for the elder folks to politely slip out), so couples typically wait approximately an hour into the dancing to cut the cake. If you're doing it this way, you could serve an additional dessert with the meal. If you don't want to interrupt your dance party, plan to cut it at the beginning of the reception right after you make your grand entrance while everyone's eyes are on you.
Can I just serve a slice of cake, or do I need to dress up the plate?
A delicious cake can definitely stand alone. If you're concerned that there might be some cake-haters out there, an added little sweet always makes for a memorable meal. You could have your caterer place a chocolate truffle on each guest's plate, serve raspberry sorbet cups garnished with a sprig of mint, or set out a plate of profiteroles on each table.
Will my cake survive a summer wedding?
For a summer wedding outside, opt for a heartier frosting like fondant. Another tip: Make sure your cake isn't displayed too early. When the weather is warm, a cake shouldn't be left out for more than two hours. Keep it in an air-conditioned room until it's time for the cake cutting.
How can I keep the top tier fresh for our one-year anniversary?
Let your caterer know ahead of time that you want to save the top tier. Have her wrap it in plastic wrap, and then bag it in an airtight baggie. (Stay away from aluminum foil, as it might not protect against freezer burn as well as plastic wrap.) When you get home, place your cake into a Tupperware container and then the freezer.
Cake by Ron Ben-Israel, Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, New York, NY