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Building a Better Relationship With Your Wedding Cake Baker

March 19th, 2012 by Jeannine

 
Building a Better Relationship With Your Wedding Cake Baker

The next installment of my “Building a Better Relationship” series involves creators of edible art. I’m talking about wedding cake and cupcake bakers. Here are some important things to know in order to have a great working relationship with your baker.

Find the right cake decorator

So you want a wedding cake… well the internet is the best place to start. A simple Google search will bring you to hundreds of websites of local cake decorators and each one has their own distinct style. Look through their portfolios and see which decorator fits your style. It also won’t hurt to see if their pricing is on the website, some post it and others keep it a mystery, but don’t let that scare you away from them. Find a baker who you get along with, has delicious cakes, and decorates the way you like. If you want a show-stopping cake, it’s probably best to go with someone with more experience and has proven that they can build structurally sound cakes. If you want something simpler, you can go with a mid-range to a lower budget baker, or even grocery store cakes if you really want to save money. Some brides have gone that route, believe it or not, and they were perfectly happy with it. Once you find the right baker for you, book well in advance. Bakers I’ve spoken to recommend 4-6 months before your big date. As with all vendors, make sure they are licensed, health-inspected, insured, and make sure to have everything in writing… to protect yourself.

Be considerate

When a baker prepares for a cake tasting consultation, a variety of cake and buttercream samples are prepared just for you. If for some reason you can’t make it, do your best to give them a heads up that you need to reschedule. No shows end up in wasted time, effort, and cake. Also, be clear with your baker as to how many people can attend the tasting. You and your groom, plus one guest is the norm but make sure it’s ok with your baker.

In addition to this, being considerate also means not flip-flopping on flavour and design choices. It’s best to know right off the bat what it is you want because planning a wedding cake takes time, especially for the elaborate ones. It’s also best to listen to your cake designer in case the new design won’t work. He or she will make suggestions of course, but be open to them especially if there’s a time crunch. They can only do so much in little time, plus there are also other orders they have to finish. To help prevent this from happening, be certain on the style you want before meeting a baker and answer all the questions they ask you so that both parties are on the same page. Find photos on the internet or magazines, and bring colour swatches to your consultation if you can, so your baker will be able to tell you right away if your cake is doable or not. It will help them give you a better idea on how much it will cost too.

Be realistic with your budget

What drives the cake cost up are the number of servings and how elaborate the design is. The popularity of tv shows such as Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss has gotten a lot of people hooked on creative cakes (myself included). What they don’t tell you is how much those cakes actually cost, and they can be quite expensive. The more complex the cake, the more time, labour, and materials will go into it, thus increasing the cost. It shouldn’t be a shock to find out it costs a lot, sculpting cake will take a long time and for bigger creations, more fondant will be needed. Sometimes other mediums like modeling chocolate or gum paste are required too. Even multi-tiered traditional cakes can add up the cost due to the extra cake, icing and decorating time. Let’s not forget intricate designs… it can take a long time to roll and cut out hundreds of fondant flowers or pipe detailed swirls around a multi-tiered cake and have it look perfect. Just remember that time = money. Bakers will always give you suggestions and alternatives to keep the cost down for your perfect wedding cake, so listen to their advice.

No copycats

Cake designing is an art in itself and it’s frowned upon in the cake community to ask them to replicate someone else’s work, so it’s advised that you don’t ask for that. Of course, bring photos of cakes that you like and they will create something unique for you in the style that you want.

No low-balling

Each baker prices their creations based on ingredient cost, labour, design, and experience. If the price is too high, they are more than happy to recommend ways on how to keep the costs down. If you’re still not happy with the price point then it’s probably best to find another who will satisfy your budget needs, there are PLENTY in Vancouver :)

Communicate

As with any vendor, the lines of communication must be open. Acknowledge their emails, even if you don’t want to book them. If you don’t want to pursue a business relationship, a simple “thanks for the info” will suffice and it won’t leave them hanging wondering what’s going on.

And last but not least…

The bakers advise not to deliver and setup the cake yourself. Leave it to the pros because it’s so easy for a cake to tip over and if it does, you’re in a bind on your wedding day. They will also know where and how to place any other decorations on the cake so that it will look perfect.

Read other “Building a Better Relationship…” articles here.
Photographer | Wedding Planner

Feature photo courtesy Shutterstock

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