Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twosome Tuesday: Wedding Cakes

While we're on the subject of cakes...
#1:  Since the guest list for the night-time reception planned by Princess Sassy and Prince Steadfast totals 315 people, there is no way we can afford to feed them anything more than cake and punch.  Our cake options included homemade, Costco, specialty bakery, store bakery, or some combination thereof.  Since baking and decorating a large wedding cake would mean most of the work being done at the last moment, we X'd that off the list.  The bride's and groom's contempt for Costco fluffy, too-sweet frosting and the limited choices of cake, eliminated that one easily, too.  Specialty bakery prices seemed to be around $4 per serving and up, which meant $1200+ in cake.  Wow.  

--Let's stop and talk 'serving' for a moment.  Did you know an official serving of wedding cake is 1" x 2"?!  In other words, approximately 2 bites.  None of use felt we could invite
Wilton's Wedding Cake cutting guide
38 pieces out of a 10-inch cake!
 three hundred people,  and offer them no more than 2 bites of cake.  So we knew we'd want to be more generous with serving size, which means ordering approximately 500 - 600 'servings' of cake, so we might be talking about over $2000 in cake...Impossible.

We happened onto a possible answer.  While visiting Central Market to pick up bags of wheat and oat groats, I wandered by their bakery and began a conversation with a very helpful counter person.  She talked to me about their wedding cakes, and handed me an informational sheet that had the baker's name and contact information, as well as cake, frosting, and filling options, and pricing. Not only will they prepare two, 4-tier 8" cakes, each with 2 different fillings, for the bride and groom (and friends/family) to try for free, their highest priced wedding cake is $3 per serving.  They also offer sheet cakes at $1 per serving.  So we will be able to get a classic, 3-tiered wedding cake to serve approximately 100 for $300, plus 4 full sheet cakes for $400 more.  So our 500 servings will be $700, instead of $2000+.  

They will have a variation of this
"Love's Embrace" cake style.
No flowers, some separation, a 3rd tier...
and the side design in their wedding colors
It was a challenge for the two to narrow down the many choices of cakes and fillings, to form combinations they thought would work together and upon which they could both agree.  They decided we will be testing a champagne cake with champagne and raspberry fillings and vanilla buttercream frosting, as well as a chocolate cake with mocha and raspberry fillings and vanilla frosting.  None of use have ever had champagne cake and are intrigued. 

The store is an hour's drive from home and the reception will be an hour's drive in another direction.  But Prince Stoic will do pick up and delivery for us that day.  Princess Sassy and Prince Steadfast have chosen a divided cake (with short pillars in between each layer), as opposed to a stacked cake, so that it will be easy to move and carry, and can be set together only after safely reaching its destination.  This style of cake will also stay neater and dressier looking as it's disassembled for serving.

Cake by Cecile Gady
Cakework.com, San Francisco
Shown on Brides.com 
#2:  Princess Bossy has made and decorated cakes before, including one for a friend's wedding last year.  She is convinced she wants to make her own and her inspiration is this beauty shown on Brides.com Most Beautiful Wedding Cakes gallery.  Her groom wanted orange-flavored cake with white icing, and she likes chocolate with chocolate ganache.  So it was an easy choice for Princess Bossy to plan the larger, bottom layer in chocolate, and the top 2 in orange with an orange filling recipe she's yet to find.  She hopes that her cake-baking aunt will have a winner on file.

The cake Princess Bossy
made for her friend's wedding
Those of us who have been through our own weddings, and helped with others, have tried to persuade her to reconsider, and leave the unnecessary last minute stress of cake making out of her agenda.  So far, she is sure she will be fine.  She won't be the first bride who has made her own wedding cake, I'm sure, and she will have others of us to help if she sticks to this plan.  With her reception for a much smaller crowd, and a bit of other foods to keep everyone happy, this plan of hers could work.
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