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Choosing Your Wedding Cake Baker


We talked last week about a bunch of steps to take BEFORE you choose your baker. Now here are some tips on how to choose one. Check out Part One of this series right here.

When we last left one another you had made some appointments for a tasting. Cake tastings are one of life’s little joys of planning a wedding. Because they give you cake…to eat…and it’s usually free!

And with that let’s go ahead and

get the obligatory Gilmore Girls Quote out of the way:

RORY: Is it right to be sampling wedding cakes when Sookie’s making ours for free?

LORELAI: What is right anyway, you know? Who defines right? And if eating cake is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I love Lorelai and if I met her I would probably follow her blindly into a hole in the ground–but in this occasion she is wrong. Dead wrong. There are a couple of tasting no-nos that I am going to go ahead and throw out there for your shopping pleasure.

  • Don’t book a tasting with a baker that you have no intention of using just to get free cake.  You’re wasting your time, and not to get all Jillian Michaels on you but don’t you have a wedding dress to fit into in a few months?  Chill out on the cake.  It may shock you that I am poo-pooing the notion of free cake, but it’s just wrong.  While the bakers don’t necessarily lose a ton of money on free tastings, they are taking time from their day to prepare for them.  Generally, bakers will have one day where they do all their tastings and if you take a slot you are taking time away from someone who really wants to be there.
  • Don’t bring your entire family and bridal party.  Again, bakers have to prepare for this occasion and typically prep enough samples for two people.  I read a blog where the bride brought NINETEEN people to the tasting.  19?!  It’s just ridiculous to expect your baker to cater to that number…for free!  Two…three people at max.

Some bakeries do charge for tastings because the system has been used and abused.  So make sure ahead of time to ask if there is a charge for the tasting.

A couple of different things might happen at your tasting.  You might be presented with mini-cakes or small slices that represent their most popular combinations. These are generally pretty small and only offer a bite or two.  Or you may be given various pieces of cake and various dollops of frosting or filling.  Personally I like the various pieces option because it allows you to mix and match flavors and see what you like best.  Sometimes you might even get to take some of them home to mull over even further–because let’s face it–the inside of the cake isn’t nearly as important as the outside.

Now here is where we get down into the nitty gritty of how to choose.

  1. Make sure the cake samples taste good.  This is important because it is such a myth that wedding cake tastes bad.  If the samples aren’t that great and the frosting isn’t doing it for you just go ahead and scratch them off the list.
  2. Look through their portfolio of work.  Flip through the portfolio and point out what you like about each cake.  See how receptive the baker is to your ideas.  If you love hexagon cakes and they are thinking up a million reasons you should go for square tiers, then the two of you probably aren’t a good match.  Allow them to get to know you by sharing what you like.
  3. Show them your pictures.  Remember those from last week?  Ask them to share their thoughts on your pictures.  What can they do with those pictures?  How can they combine them and make an awesome, unique cake that represents you. Because remember:  no true cake artist wants to replicate somebody else’s work.
  4. Tell them EXACTLY what you want.  You’ve done your research and you have a fairly good idea what you want by now.  Tell them your vision for the cake and see how they respond.  They will probably offer up suggestions and improvements; listen to them.  They are professionals and have done this dance before.  There may be some things you aren’t thinking of in terms of logistics.  This is a good opportunity to listen to their advice and see how their vision meshes with yours.

The most important thing you can ever do when meeting with your baker is to listen to your gut.  You truly want that connection between client and baker to be there.  If you get a funny feeling in the back of your stomach, then maybe this isn’t right.  Or, if you feel like they aren’t understanding what you want, walk away.  Your gut is probably right and I think every baker would tell you to do this.  You aren’t being mean by doing so.  You are saving both of you a lot of time and headache on what is supposed to be your most important day.

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