Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Getting the Cake of Your Dreams Part 1: RESEARCH
Before ordering a wedding cake, do your homework by looking at tons of wedding cake photos both in magazines and online so you know your options. If you have a custom style in mind, make sure to get copies of the pictures! Learn a few basic terms such as fondant and buttercream. It will help you understand what you’re looking at and make it easier to describe what you want to the baker.
These first two photos are mine, with the first one being a wedding cake I made for a recent reception, and the second being my inspiration photo. The source is Colette Peters from her book, "Colette's Wedding Cakes." I scanned the photo the bride liked, changed it from brown and ivory to the navy and white she wanted, and Photoshopped the cake onto the table to be used at the reception with a red background like the bride wanted. This allowed me to show her exactly what she was looking for (some people have a really hard time visualizing), and gave me a reference sheet to work from during the cake creation process. It isn't an exact replica but is indeed what the bride had in mind.
Remember that professional cake photos have been worked over by food stylists and computer editors. The cakes look perfect not only due to Photoshop but often these are show cakes that are iced pieces of Styrofoam. Don't expect your cake designer to be able to replicate exactly what you see in print, but often they can get pretty close. However, that cake design you love in a magazine or on the internet may be shockingly expensive. Magazine designs are the top of the line in scale and style. Things like fondant, sugar flowers, and specialty decorations take more time and money than simple cakes. Most beautiful cakes take anywhere from 5 to 20 hours to decorate, which can be very expensive.
Another consideration is overconfident bakers. Take a look at Cake Wrecks (http://www.cakewrecks.com/) for examples of “Inspiration vs. Perspiration” to give yourself wedding cake nightmares. Go to the "Category" sidebar and click on "Wedding Cakes." These are some of the worst possible examples, but it is something to seriously consider. The photos below are just one example of this. Seeing photos of actual cakes your baker has produced and getting references from him is an important part of making sure what you have in mind is what will show up at the wedding reception.
Cake is food, and every cake is unique even when it’s from the exact same baker (just like kids!). Beautiful wedding cake is art and not only is every artist is different but each and every time they create a new work of art it will be unique.