One of the best — not to mention tastiest — experiences you’ll have while planning your wedding is tasting cake.
If you’re a dessert lover, eating slice after slice of cake is a job you’re sure to relish. As vital as your taste buds are to choosing the cake, filling and frosting flavors you love, there’s a lot more to wedding cake tastings than just eating.
If you want to be prepared for this sweet job, read on to learn everything you need to know about wedding cake tasting.
How to Prepare for Your Wedding Cake Tasting and Consultation
Wedding cake tastings are not only fun and delicious, they’re a vital part of the planning process. But there are a number of things you need to do before the eating begins. To ensure successful wedding cake tasting appointments, you should first:
Do Your Research
To kick things off, you’ll need to do some Internet recon on the best bakeries in your area. Read reviews and make a shortlist of your top contenders that specialize in desserts for weddings. Once you’ve decided on which bakeries are in the running, it’s time to get on the phone and schedule some cake tasting appointments.
Book Six Months in Advance
Your wedding cake may not be the first thing on your to-do list, but make sure all of your cake tastings are booked about six months before your wedding. Your venue, menu and wedding theme should be set in stone by then — and that means you can better coordinate your cake with your overall wedding vibe. It also gives you ample time to find the right bakery.
Ask About a Tasting Fee
Keep in mind, wedding cake tasting appointments are not always free. It’s best to ask each bakery before scheduling a tasting so there are no surprises.
Most larger bakeries charge a fee for the tasting and consultation. That price will go up if they have to feed more than you and your fiancé, so carefully consider if you actually need to bring your mom or maid of honor with you.
Some bakeries may also serve you two or three flavors for free and then charge you a fee for each additional tasting.
If none of the bakeries you chose offer free tasting appointments, be sure to ask if they will apply the tasting fee to the price of your cake if you choose them as your wedding vendor.
Have a Budget Set
Before setting foot in a bakery, you should know what you’re able to spend on your dream wedding dessert.
Whether you want something small, a multi-tier confection or are in the market for two wedding cakes — one for the bride and one for the groom — make sure your wants match your wedding budget.
Once your baker knows how much you have budgeted, he or she can help you choose an amazing cake in your price range.
Have Some Flavors in Mind
Whether you adore the richness of chocolate cake or want the tangy taste of lemon, let the bakery know before your consultation what flavors you’d like to sample. You should also think about frosting. Do you want a fondant covered cake, buttercream frosting or cream cheese icing? Letting the bakery know what you’re partial to will help them to be better prepared for your cake tasting appointment.
It’s also a good idea to let the bakery know if you have any deal breakers. If you despise fondant or can’t stand the cookies and cream trend, letting them know will ensure you’re not served something you loathe.
Think About Style
It’s also wise to think about the design of your cake before the consultation. You should consider:
- If you want something simple or elaborate.
- The color scheme the cake needs to match.
- If you want specific decorations such as sugar flowers or ruffles, hand-painted details or edible bows.
- If you want a round, square or specialty shape.
- How many tiers you want.
Having photos of what you want can really help the baker visualize your dream cake. Even if you haven’t found any pictures on Pinterest or Instagram, giving a detailed description should be enough. You can expect to receive a sketch from the bakery within a few days of your wedding cake tasting appointment.
How to Have a Great Cake Tasting
Diving into multiple slices of cake is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. To get the most out of your wedding cake testing session, however, there are a few little tips and tricks you may want to keep in mind.
Set Aside Enough Time
A typical cake tasting will take between one and two hours. No, you won’t be eating the entire time, but you will be talking to your baker about flavor combinations as well as cake design, structure, presentation and other key elements.
Drinking water in between different slices of cake is essential. This will cleanse your palate and allow you to fully taste each and every flavor. It’s also a good idea to taste each element of the cake separately and then together. You may find you love the cake flavor in one slice but prefer the filling and frosting from another option.
You may even love multiple cake flavors. If you fall in love with the red velvet cake with chocolate ganache and Swiss meringue buttercream but also can’t get enough of the vanilla bean cake with raspberry jam and raspberry-infused frosting, who says you need to choose just one flavor profile? Many couples choose more than one flavor for their wedding cake. If you decide to go this route, your baker can walk you through what flavors work best together for each tier.
Discuss Your Vision
Once you’re done sampling the baker’s wares, it’s time to talk about the size and style of the wedding cake. While the cake tasting itself helps you choose flavor combinations, the consultation is about sharing your vision and listening to suggestions from the baker.
Even if you think you know exactly what you want, it’s still a good idea to find out what the bakery offers for decorations. From sugar flowers to fresh flowers to a geode feature or ombre fondant, there are sure to be a wide range of options to choose from. Once you see pictures of the bakery’s previous wedding cakes, you’ll be better able to decide what style you want for your wedding.
What Comes After the Wedding Cake Tasting?
Now that you’ve chosen flavors and discussed some sweet design ideas with the bakery of your choice, there are a few questions you should ask before signing a contract.
What ingredients do you use in your wedding cakes?
This is important to ask if you have allergies, dietary concerns or want your baker to avoid specific ingredients.
How much do you charge per slice?
Bakeries always charge by the slice rather than by the cake. Finding out the cost per slice and multiplying that by your number of guests will tell the approximate cost of the cake.
How much does a sheet cake cost?
Many couples opt to have a small wedding cake for the cake cutting ceremony and then serve sheet cake to their guests to save money. A sheet cake is often half the price of a traditional cake.
Will the cake withstand hot temperatures?
If you’re getting married in the summer or live in a warm climate, this is an important question to ask. You may have to make arrangements to keep the cake cool.
Here are a few more details to ask your baker about:
- When will our wedding cake be made?
- Is the delivery fee included in the price? If not, what is the fee to deliver?
- What time will it be delivered to our reception location?
- Do you do the setup and staging? How much does that service cost?
- Do you provide a cake stand and cutting utensils?
Once all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction — and you’ve found a bakery you like — it’s time to sign the contract. Just make sure the contract matches up with the information you’ve been told by the baker before putting pen to paper.
Your wedding cake is a vital part of the wedding planning process. Not only does your cake offer a major focal point at your reception, the cake cutting ceremony is a special memory you’ll always cherish. If you want to make sure your cake is everything you dreamed it would be, scheduling wedding cake tasting appointments at reputable bakeries is as must.
Whether you choose red velvet, cookies and cream or coconut, with the aid of our helpful wedding cake tasting guide, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect wedding cake flavors for your reception.