What size wedding cake do we need for our wedding?
This is the question I get asked a lot as I am sure you can imagine. I know that some cakemakers have a formula for working out how many portions are needed and hence what size cake a couple should have but that’s not something I am particularly keen to use and, I don’t know what it is anyway!
When discussing ideas and sizes with my couples I always suggest that they bear the following in mind: -
· If you order a cake for 80 guests, then there is no way to make sure that each of your 80 guests all get a piece for cake. You can’t control what people eat unless it is served up to them, say at the sit-down meal.
· The number of portions your cake cuts into will depend on who cuts it. This is usually the venue, or the caterers and they are unlikely to measure each piece to 2 x 1 or 1x1 inches exactly. If you order a cake for 80, then 80 should be the minimum number of portions you get from it.
· If you have different flavours on each tier you may get a guest having a piece of each flavour whilst some will have none. If you are having children to your wedding they will pick at cake throughout the evening.
· Do you wish to have cake left over to take home or send out to guests? If so, then this needs to be factored into the cake size.
· What is your cake design, this will often lend itself to a specific size cake?
· What is your budget? What can you afford?
· Do you feel that you should have a piece of cake for every guest? Many of them you will have been fed and watered during the day, do you need to provide them cake as well? Not everyone expects or wants a piece of cake.
Two tier wedding cakes can be fun and fabulous.
· Are you having any other desserts for your buffet, or a sweetie cart, candy floss machine etc.? Overdoing all the sweet things will lead to items being uneaten.
· Are you planning to serve the cake in the evening or as a dessert after the sit down, perhaps with the speeches, again each scenario leads to different cake size?
· Are you thinking of having a fruit tier? Fruit cake is worked out in smaller portions of 1 x 1 inch rather than 2 x 1 inch sponge cake portions, so you are likely to get more portions from a fruit tier should you want one. Also don’t be told that a fruit tier must be the bottom tier, that can often lead to excess cake being left, it’s fine to have a fruit tier as the top of any other tier of the cake if the cake is constructed properly.
· Will you instruct the venue to cut all the cake? Even if you have a cake large enough for all your guests, your guests can’t eat it if it’s not cut and left in the kitchen for you to collect the next day. Be specific as to how much you want the cake cut and if you are worried about not getting any for yourselves then ask the venue to put some of each flavour aside for you.
· The inclusion of fake tiers will give you a large cake with without having a cake that provides more portions than you want or need. However, the cost of the cake is mainly in the decoration rather than what is on the inside, so there may not be a reduction in price or, only a small reduction in price for each fake tier depending on who you choose to make your cake.
· Think about your flavours, if you decide to have an unusual flavour such as peanut butter for example, I suggest you have this as one of the smaller tiers rather than one of the biggest, unless you specifically want too of course. With unusual flavours you may find that a lot of your guests don’t eat it so you may end up with lots left. I would suggest sticking with traditional flavours such as vanilla, chocolate or lemon for the large tier as these are usually liked by most people and most likely to get eaten, but of course the choice is yours.
· If you really feel you want a smaller wedding cake, but a small cake isn’t going to give you as much cake as you want then you can always have a cutting cake. Cutting cakes are cakes that are iced but not decorated and are taken straight to the kitchen and sliced up and served with the actual wedding cake later to make up the number of portions. This can often work out cheaper than having that extra tier.
· The depth of your cake tiers can also make a difference to how many portions your cake cuts into. Speak to your cake maker as to how she suggests that the 8- or 6-inch-tall cake tiers are cut and roughly how many portions they will give. However, you do need to make sure that this is fed back to your venue. When I make 8-inch-tall cakes, they usually consist of effectively two cakes in the middle with extra supports and a cake card between, so although its 8 inches tall you don’t get 8-inch-tall cake portions.
So, my take on it is that couples should have a cake that fits their budget and design. It is not obligatory to provide cake for your all your guests and you can’t control that in any case. Should a couple order a cake that will provide insufficient portions for their guests, for an example they have 140 guests but only a want a 2-tier cake then I will make sure that they are aware of this and ensure it is included in the contract.
Remember your cake maker is there to advise and guide you, but you shouldn’t be forced in to having what you don’t want or paying over your budget, but you do have to be realistic about what your budget can buy.