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Planning Your Wedding Cake?

What to consider when planning your wedding cake.

This is what we believe to be of consideration for when you start to shop for your wedding cake whether you choose A Cake Story as your cake creator or someone else. We have tried to keep the information as concise as possible, if you need clarification on anything please get in touch.

Contact your cake creator

  • At least 6 months prior to your wedding
  • Advise them of all the relevant details such as
    • date
    • venue
    • number of guests
    • cake flavours preferred
  • Send through photos of the cake concept you have in mind (these can be sourced from Pinterest / Instagram)

Cake design

  • The following may influence your cake design
    • venue | wedding gown | colour palette | the season | floral arrangements | stationery
  • Work within your cake creator’s strengths – look at their portfolio
  • Prepare a mood board with material and colour swatches to help create a consistent theme
  • Scan Pinterest and Instagram for photos of cake concepts that match your preferences
  • Try to be realistic, the cakes shown in glossy magazines or even online may have been Photo-shopped. Your cake creator will not be able to replicate exactly what you have seen – each cake is its own unique creation
  • Try to remain calm, flexible and open to advice

Match the height of the cake to your reception area

  • Take into consideration where you will be holding your reception – in an intimate room or a grand ballroom
  • A 2-tier cake may get “lost” in a large open area whereas a 5-tier cake will dominate a small room

Budget

  • Be honest about your budget and what you can afford
  • Wedding cakes can be quite pricey
  • Time = Money. Highly decorated cakes can take a lot of time to produce. Be mindful that if you would like sugar flowers, these are very time consuming to make
  • Semi-naked and buttercream cakes are less expensive than fondant covered cakes
  • The number of guests attending will determine the size of your cake. A wedding cake portion size is approximately 5cm x 2.5cm
  • A 2-tier cake (15cm | 20cm) will feed around 38 guests
  • A 3-tier cake (15cm | 20cm | 25cm) will feed around 80 guests
  • A 4-tier cake (15cm | 20cm | 25cm | 30cm) will feed around 136 guests
  • If you have your heart set on a large centerpiece cake, but only have a small number of guests, the height can be increased using polystyrene dummy tiers. Be aware that these will take just as long to decorate as the real cake tiers
  • Be prepared to put down a Save The Date Fee when ordering your cake (or even sooner if you are comfortable to do so). This “reserves” the cake creator’s time for your cake. If you delay to do this and someone else books the cake creator in the meantime, you may have to hunt for a different cake creator

Wedding cake options

At A Cake Story we offer you various options for achieving your dream wedding cake. The information below is not set in stone – if you would like to discuss the various options please get in touch.

Option 1 – All Cake
  • This option means what it says – the cake is all yummy cake
  • This is the traditional way of creating your wedding cake
  • This option is for you if:
    • You want a whole cake on show
    • You intend to provide portions to every guest – cut from the cake
    • This suits all cake styles
  • This option is not so good for you if:
    • You have only a few guests but still want an impressive cake
    • As a rule, for example, a 3-tier cake will yield 80 portions. If you have invited 30 guests to your wedding, there may be quite a bit of wastage over but you could offer this to your guests to take home
Option 2 – Cutting Cake
  • This option can achieve the same visual effect as option 1, but the only edible element is the top tier. The remaining tiers of the cake are decorated polystyrene dummies.
  • This option is for you if:
    • You don’t intend to provide a cake portion for every guest
    • You only want a cake for the cutting ceremony and for photographs
    • You want to have an impressive wedding cake on show
  • This option is not for you if:
    • You want a “Naked Style” or buttercream cake
Option 3 – Cutting Cake and Sheet Cake
  • This options combines the “Cutting Cake” concept of Option 2 with the ability to provide a cake portion to each guest
  • At A Cake Story our sheet cake portions are approximately 4cm x 4cm x 4cm
  • They can be decorated to tie in with the overall theme of the wedding cake
  • The sheet cake is delivered pre-cut, decorated and boxed, ready to be plated and served to your guests
  • This option is for you if:
    • You have a large number of guests
    • You want to enjoy a “cutting the cake” moment in your ceremony followed immediately by a “cake and toasting” moment. If your Option 1 cake must be taken away to be portioned, it could take quite a while for it to come back – the magic cake moment could have been lost in the delay.
    • You want to take the cutting cake home to enjoy privately. Everybody gets to eat sheet cake at your ceremony
  • This option is not so good for you, if:
    • You want a “Naked Style”or buttercream cake

Wedding cake styles

At A Cake Story we offer buttercream cakes | fondant covered cakes | ganache covered cakes | semi-naked style cakes and specialty cakes.

Buttercream cakes

A buttercream cake is one that is completely covered in a buttercream frosting. Our buttercream cakes are covered using a smooth buttercream made with real butter. Buttercream cakes are very heat sensitive and don’t like our hot South African climate. They are not suitable for outdoor weddings or for venues without air-conditioning.

Fondant covered cakes

Fondant is a sweet sugar paste that is used to drape over cakes providing a wonderful smooth finish to your wedding cake. It is the perfect base on which to decorate. At A Cake Story our fondant covered wedding cakes all have a sub-structure of white chocolate ganache so as to ensure smooth sides. Unlike buttercream cakes, fondant covered cakes can stand up to the heat a little better.

Ganache covered cakes

This type of cake is covered in rich chocolate ganache made using couverture chocolate. You can choose between white, milk or dark chocolate.

Semi-naked cakes

A semi-naked cake is one that has a thin covering of buttercream or ganache with some of the cake underneath showing through.

Specialty cakes

You don’t have to follow the crowd for your wedding. You can choose to celebrate our South African heritage with a koeksister cake. Delight everyone with a stand of macarons or blow people away with a decadent croquembouche. The choice is yours.

Flavours and fillings

  • Besides looking absolutely splendid, your cake also has to taste really yummy
  • Choose flavours that you want and not necessarily what you think everyone else will want
  • Besides the standard vanilla, chocolate and red velvet, don’t be afraid to try new flavour combinations
  • At A Cake Story you are very welcome to come and taste our cake combinations. Please check availability via our “Book A Cake Tasting” contact form

Floral arrangements

  • Don’t forget when arranging the floral arrangements for your tables to include some extras so that your cake can be decorated to tie in with your overall theme
  • Where possible ensure that your flowers that you have chosen for the cake are food safe. If you are unsure please talk to your cake creator who will advise you. If you have your heart set on a particular flower for the cake, additional methods can be used to display them safely

Don’t forget the topper

  • There are so many interesting and unique cake toppers out there today
  • Unless the topper that you have chosen holds a particular memory for you or is of a sentimental value, you may wish to ensure that the topper works with the style of cake that you have designed
  • The weight of the topper may also play a role, cakes are reasonably soft, and so it may require additional support if it’s particularly unique
  • Because the choice of topper is a personal one, it is usual for the couple to source the topper and supply it to the cake creator – either in advance or on the day. The cake creator will site the topper on the cake at set up

Every wedding is unique and so every couple’s requirements can be different. If you are still not sure which wedding cake option or style to choose, please talk to us and we will do our very best to help.

Dessert tables

If cake is not your thing, perhaps a dessert table would fit the bill. We offer the following Sweet Treats but you are always welcome to come and discuss alternatives.

What to consider regarding the weather and outdoor weddings

  • Cakes don’t fare well in the heat especially in temperatures above 22˚C
  • Your cake should be placed out of direct sunlight at all times and preferable in the shade for outdoor weddings
  • Our beautiful hot weather will melt most cake icings
  • Fondant is a bit more heat tolerant but not immune
  • High humidity will cause gum-paste flowers to go limp and turn chocolate into puddles
  • The table chosen to display the cake on, should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the cake. For outdoor weddings, ensure that the ground where the table will sit is level
  • Be aware of the reality that cakes left sitting for an extended period can start to sweat, drip, lean or even sag

Have a delivery plan

  • Discuss all delivery options with your cake creator before signing the contract
  • The best option, and this is what we at A Cake Story prefer, is to have your cake creator deliver the cake to the venue so that it can be assembled correctly before the responsibility passes to you
  • Should you decide to collect the cake yourself be aware that the cake creator’s responsibility ends the moment it leaves their premises
  • In most cases the cake will be delivered to the venue unassembled, so please allow the cake creator time and space to assemble it. Your cake creator may require a couple of hours to assemble your cake depending on the complexity of the final arrangement

Please read our FAQ’s for additional information.

Unexpected happenings

As a final note: This is your day to enjoy, it’s going to be one of those uniquely wonderful occasions and despite all the preparation and the advance planning in the world, sometimes things just go awry.

Unless it is an absolute dire situation – don’t get upset – you and your intended are what truly matter.

Event planners, florists, cake creators et al will do their very best for you and if a mistake occurs – so be it! One day this will form part of all the fun memories of your wedding day even if it doesn’t seem so at the time.

Smile! Relax! Enjoy!

Featured Image by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

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