Cutting the Cake

Whether it’s a four-tiered skyscraper or 200 cupcakes, odds are your guests will be looking forward to a bit of cake before your special day is over. But what kind of cake? How tall should it be? And what flavor should the filling and icing be? These are all important questions, but the most important question of all is … what kind of cake do you want.

Today’s wedding cakes are as varied as the people ordering them, and trends continue to evolve. While the three-layer stacked cake is still the most popular, gone are the pillars and separated layers, as well as the loops, drapes and figurine toppers that adorned cakes 20 years ago.

Unlike cakes of yore, brides want their deserts to be dazzling and delicious. No longer is white cake and round tiers the steadfast rule. Now you can expect chocolate, strawberry and butter pecan in all shapes and sizes. One of the easiest places to set your cake apart from the rest is in the frosting. White frosting is still incorporated in many a wedding cake, however, more brides are letting their fancy run wild. For beach themed weddings along the coast, cakes often incorporate blues of the ocean and sky, or sand colored shells.

Like anything, the more detailed and work-oriented your cake becomes, the more it’s going to cost. Prices are usually based on a per slice basis and can range from $1 to $10 or more per serving depending on where you go to purchase it. Local grocery stores, bakeries and private cake makers all have a variety of offerings and varying prices. In general, it's safe to say that a simple three-tiered cake for 100 people can cost between $200 to $400. Those looking for something comparable to the works of art found on TLC’s Cake Boss should set aside a considerable chunk of the wedding budget – extras don’t come cheap. Keep in mind that the cake topping isn’t included in the cost and can add another $100, as can other additions like ribbons, seashells or real flowers.

As with any vendor, it’s a good idea to check for your baker’s references before committing. They should all have pictures they can share as well, giving you a solid idea of what you can expect. In addition, a taste test is generally offered to help you make a decision on flavors. Bridal fairs, where local bakers will have samples on hand, are a great opportunity to taste a variety of wares in one place.

If your wedding is during the peak season along the coast, between May and October, make sure you place your cake order at least six months in advance of the big day. That way you can make sure you get to have your dream cake, and eat it, too.

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