How to Decode Wedding Cake Prices
Are you baffled by the price of wedding cakes? Curious as to why something created with eggs, flour & butter can cost more than the price of gold? If you are worried that you are being fleeced for a bit of sponge cake, here is the low down on wedding cake prices.
You may or may not be aware of how cake prices are calculated. The usual method is on a per slice or per serving basis, that is you order a cake with enough portions to give one to each guest, you will probably order a little extra as well. As a guide you can expect to pay an average of $1.50 - $8.00 per serving, so you would be wise to calculate your cake budget within this range, before falling in love with the world’s most expensive cake.
Here is a guide as to what exactly goes into the creation of your wedding cake & how that has an impact on the cost.
Why Size Does Matter
Simple economics states that the bigger the cake the bigger the price. This doesn’t just apply to the diameter of your cake but also to the height. You could pick a small 7″ cake but if you have six tiers, it is likely to cost as much as a 12″ cake with two tiers. So think carefully about how wide & how tall you want your cake to be.
As a standard, choose a three tier cake. The more work you create for the baker - baking, icing, decorating etc, the more it will cost. If your budget is tight keep it simple & don’t ask for anything fancy, such as tilted tiers or intricate scrollwork or a fabulous cascade of hand crafted sugar flowers.
You will find that sheet cakes are the most inexpensive option. However, if your budget is tight you can have the best of both worlds. Order a lavish cake which you can put on display at the reception. Then after you have done the cake cutting ceremony, you can serve up pieces of cutting cakes or sheet cakes to you guests. These will have been stashed away in the kitchen & once cut your guests will never know it isn’t the same cake they were looking at a moment ago!
What’s In the Mix
The main part of your cake - is the cake! But the choice of flavor or type of cake can make a world of difference to the price you are quoted.
The cheapest option is a basic sponge cake, either plain or flavored with vanilla. Other flavor choices can include orange, lemon, chocolate or even carrot. Personally I think you can’t go wrong with a sponge cake, as it will appeal to most people’s tastes.
At the other end of the scale is the cheesecake. At luxurious cheesecake will indulge your guests but will cost you $8 or more per slice because they are more time intensive to make.
I could write an endless list of all the types of cake there are to choose from. Traditionally the cake of choice was a fruit cake. Probably because the top tier was always kept for the christening of the couple’s first born child. Any other type of cake was unlikely to be still edible by the time this occasion came about. But there are no hard & fast rules about the type of cake you should have & really it should come down to personal taste & preference.
Just remember, the more time it takes to make, the more expensive it will be & the more stuff that goes into it - fruit, nuts, alcohol etc. the more expensive it will be.
A Question of Topping
Love it or hate, it wouldn’t be a wedding cake without some form of icing & decoration. The choice you make should reflect your personal taste & your budget!
BUTTERCREAM. Remember this from childhood? The archetypal cake topping.
Pro: Tastes delicious, is easy to use & is inexpensive.
Con: Difficult to get the perfectly smooth finish that is so popular these days & it won’t stand up well in heat.
CREAM CHEESE. The traditional topping for carrot cakes.
Pro: Cost wise it is the same as buttercream & tastes just as delicious.
Con: It isn’t possible to create intricate designs.
FONDANT. Like an edible playdough, findat is the trendiest topping on the block at the moment!
Pro: Good cake designers can do anything with fondant. Pleats, folds, flowers, hearts, anything it possible.
Con: It is the most expensive choice & the least tasty.
It’s Hip to be Square
Square cakes are bang on trend at the moment, but they are also the most expensive.
To get a square looking even when you apply the frosting you need to build up the edges. So, this means more work, which means more time, which means - yeas you’ve guessed it! More money.
So that’s it. Everything you will need to know about the basics of wedding cakes & how there prices are calculated. Whatever your choice, it should be a personal decision & one which reflects your tastes. Armed with this information you can approach your cake designer knowing exactly how to get the perfect wedding cake for your money.
By: Georgina Clatworthy
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