Frequently Asked Questions and 7 myths about Weddings

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7 Myths about Wedding Cakes


7 Myths about Wedding Cakes

7 Myths about Wedding Cakes Posted on February 23, 2013 by Amelia Carbine Every once in a while, an article will surface that claims to be cake advice for brides. Even worse are the articles that say they are budget saving advice. Many of the writers of these articles know nothing about cakes or the work that cake decorators do. If you want good advice look for advice from actual cake decorators. Here are some of the top myths that I feel need to be addressed to help both the bride and the cake decorator. 

Myth #1: Order a cake with fake tiers and serve sheet cakes instead. This myth is suggested on just about every “money saving” article you can find and I believe that is is one of the biggest offenders where cake decorators are concerned. A fake tier of cake would be a decorated piece of styrofoam or sometimes rice krispies treats depending on the cake decorators preferences. The cake is then covered with frosting and decorations so as to appear to be real cake. There are so called experts out there who say that since a cake decorator will charge less for a sheet cake, just order a sheet cake and a fake wedding cake. The error in this thinking is that the cake decorator is still baking the same amount of cake and doing the same amount of decorating. It doesn’t make sense for a decorator to charge less for the same amount of work. The only exception to this myth is if the bride orders a small cake with sheet cakes to supplement. This way, the decorator will not be spending the time and ingredients on the extra work of fake tiers. Just understand that this will mean a smaller cake that may not have the grand look you may have hoped for.

Myth #2: A buttercream cake is less expensive than a fondant cake.  Ok. This may not be entirely false. There are cake decorators out there that charge for every element of the cake. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. It is just the method that they came up with for pricing. However, I would be brave enough to say that most cake decorators don’t have an extra fee for fondant. The reason for this is that most cake decorators prefer to decorate with fondant. They would rather eat the cost of fondant so they don’t have to bother with trying to make their buttercream smooth, which is a skill that a lot of decorators have a hard time perfecting. So the best thing to do is ask your decorator if there is an extra fee for fondant instead of assuming that there is. 

Myth # 3: Save money by placing fresh flowers on the cake instead of sugar flowers.  In the long run, it might be possible to save a little money by using fresh flowers over gum paste flowers. But the money saved will not be significant enough to justify the health risk involved. Many fresh flower varieties are poisonous. Placing fresh flowers on a cake can make your guests sick. Yes, there are some flowers that are not toxic. However, unless the flower is organically grown, the flower has been sprayed with pesticides that are also harmful and can make your guests sick. The other issue with fresh flowers is that some florists don’t think to wash and sanitize the flowers before placing them on a cake. Chances are the flowers are not clean to food safety standards. For these reasons, it is worth any extra money to pay for sugar flowers. If you do need to save money, consider a cake design with just one or a few large flowers instead of a huge arrangement. 

Myth #4: Don’t let the decorator know your budget. Some people believe that if the bride tells the cake decorator their budget, the decorator will charge every penny of that budget and not give as much cake. The fact is that most cake decorators are artists first and businessmen last. A cake decorator wants to make the best cake they can. And most cake decorators would rather give you more for your money than less. In fact, I dare say that most cake decorators undercharge. But a cake decorator needs to know a budget in order to design a custom cake. Imagine going into a car dealership and telling the dealer that you want a car. Now imagine the car dealer spending all day showing you Lamborghini's and Rolls Royce just to find out that you only have a Honda budget. Be straight forward with your decorator and they will be straight forward with you. 

Myth #5: Wedding cake is more expensive than birthday cake.   Again, this could be the case for some decorators but for the most part, to a cake decorator, cake is cake and the fee is the same. Where the pricing gets more expensive is in the details. Wedding cakes tend to be larger and more elaborate. It’s as simple as that. You can always ask your decorator if they charge more per serving for wedding cakes and if they do, they might have a good reason why. For example, if they add more layers of cake and filling for a wedding cake, it might cost more. 

Myth #6: Save money by making your own cake. Unless you are a very experienced cake decorator and understand what is involved in making a cake, I would highly discourage this. I would even discourage an experienced decorator from making her own wedding cake. Wedding cakes require days of work. The last thing a bride needs is the extra stress of making and decorating an elaborate wedding cake. Trust me on this one. It’s hard enough making a siblings cake. Making your own is not a good idea. 

Myth #7: Let a friend or relative make your cake. There are exceptions to this myth. If you happen to have a friend or family member who is a very experienced cake decorator that is willing to give you a discount, sure. Just beware of those who claim to know what they are doing and in the end really don’t. There is a website called CakeWrecks that is all about cakes gone bad. The last thing you want is a wedding cake worthy of a spot on CakeWrecks. I hear all the time, stories of cake decorators getting phone calls at the last minute from brides or mothers of brides who chose an inexperienced decorator. They call in tears over the horror that is their cake and beg the decorator to fix their problem. At this point, it is too late. The decorator has cakes of her own and does not have the time to drop everything to rescue your disaster. Before letting anyone make a cake for your wedding, ask for pictures of their work. Make sure they have made a tiered cake before. There is a lot involved in making a wedding cake. Even a very simple design is very complex.  A wedding cake is considered the centerpiece of the wedding reception. Cutting corners is risky. This quote from an article that I read sums up the absurdness of these myths. “Remember, all cakes are created equal — flour, sugar, and butter — so there’s no need to spend a fortune on one.” Be wary of articles like these. Clearly all cakes are NOT created equal. That is like saying a dollar pair of flip flops are the same as a pair of Louis Vuittons. Your wedding cake is a one time purchase. If you want a Louis Vuitton cake, don’t expect a flip flop price. Of course there is an option for every budget. Just don’t risk making these mistakes.