It sounds too good to be true – you and your intended, and maybe a couple of close friends or relatives, spending a few hours eating the layer cakes of your dreams. It’s called wedding cake tasting and it’s one of the most fun preparation chores when you’re planning a wedding.
The idea is this: bakers or vendors who want to supply your wedding cake on the big day generally offer a tasting session. There is sometimes a small fee associated with the wedding cake tasting, but often it’s on the house. Or a number of flavour samples are provided for free, with charges accruing for additional combinations. Sometimes sample cake slices are regular size, but often they are miniature versions of the typical serving. Additionally, many vendors supply mix and match deconstruction samples – in a variety of icing, filling and cake options. A consultant will set you up with the best matches based on the information you provide in advance, and then you’ll discuss price, portion size and other logistical details.
Why do wedding cake suppliers offer this service? Because wedding cake commissions are competitive, lucrative and prestigious (especially if bakers are able to showcase their creativity). Bakers and cake vendors want your wedding event business. So tastings have become a popular semi-social outing for brides vying for the cake that best suits their vision.
Sounds great, right? It is. But here are a few tips to keep in mind anyway:
- Eat before the wedding cake tasting – things taste different when you are hungry and you’ll get a more accurate reading of how guests will experience your cake if you are not ravenous. Drink lots of water to offset the sugar rush.
- Taste cake, icing and fillings separately – the baker/vendor will likely set it up like this, but ask to be sure. It’s fun to eat cake but your palette will tire quickly. Small tastes of the different components can be very helpful. The supplier will also have complete cakes and slices to view, or will, at the very least, provide pictures.
- Bring samples from your wedding plan re: look, aesthetics, colour palette etc. These can take the form of swatches and/or images on your mobile. You’ll also need to provide some logistical details – how many guests, the venue, the date, etc.
- Be prepared to discuss size, flavours, size of slice, ingredients, allergies, special designs, budget, etc. Defining some of these details with your partner and party (or wedding planner) ahead of time will make the whole process even more pleasant. And they will help the supplier to choose options that are within your budget. If you’ve thought it through in advance, the cake sugar haze likely won’t have too any negative consequences.
- Take detailed notes and take pictures. Once the combinations start adding up, it might be hard to keep them all in your head. Some vendors supply a template to help you keep all the flavour combinations straight. Use it.
- If a friend or home baker is making your wedding cake, you should still have a tasting, even if it is very casual or happens over several sessions. Some bakers might even send you home with cupcakes in the requisite flavours so you can share and discuss the options with family.
More than any other single item, the cake is a focal point at many wedding celebrations. They are a lot of work to make, and can be pricey, so do everything you can to ensure you will be happy with yours.