11 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Cake Baker

11 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Cake Baker

He asked. You said yes. Now, the planning begins. When it comes to a wedding cake, it can be a towering masterpiece -- or a towering disaster. Not all wedding cake bakers are created equal, so knowing what to ask can ensure the delivered cake is exactly what you envisioned. Choosing the right wedding cake baker is crucial to ensuring that the cake looks stunning and tastes delightful. To assist you in this essential decision, we've compiled a comprehensive list of questions and tips, courtesy of our expert pastry chef, Eddy Van Damme.

  1. Does the baker have a specialty? What is his or her signature dessert? Is it something widely known and praised? Ask them what they believe their best cakes contain and why. Knowing their signature dessert and its reputation can provide insight into their expertise and style.
  2. What kind of wedding cake flavors does the baker offer? A wedding is not the time to experiment with food, so avoid trendy wedding cake flavors like green tea, rhubarb, rum, or coffee. We recommend flavors that appeal to a crowd, like strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, orange, lemon, passion fruit, apricot, vanilla, cream cheese or hazelnut. Keep in mind that the wow factor should come from the clean, uniform appearance and tenderness of the cake. Pay special attention to the cake's texture -- it should be moist and not dry. 
  3. What kind of cake filling does the baker offer? Fresh fruit-like flavors such as jams, lemon curd, and orange marmalade are always good choices for filling, as they provide a sense of lightness after eating a heavy meal. But beware! Depending on the quality, fillings can range from delicious to dreadful. Ensure the quality of the fillings matches your taste preferences, even if it means paying extra.
  4. Does the baker use fondant or buttercream? Most cakes are initially frosted with buttercream. Decide between a smooth fondant covering and other options like buttercream or a 'naked' cake look. A wedding cake is usually covered with a fondant covering to protect the cake from drying out. Unfortunately, while the fondant is beautiful, many people don't like the thicker texture and remove it before enjoying their cake slice.
  5. Does the baker use flowers made with frosting or real flowers to decorate? Your cake can be decorated with either or both. Be sure to keep the setting and location of the wedding in mind. For certain decorations, temperature is vital. Do not use chocolate decorations for a beach wedding because they may melt from the heat. Use fresh flowers instead.
  6. When will the baker prepare your cake/what is the schedule? The day before is best. The cake becomes fully firmed and properly "glued" together. If a baker has been in operation for a few years, it will be very busy during the spring and summer months and will likely have several cakes to deliver per week. Ask the baker who will deliver the cake and what will happen if the cake is damaged during delivery. Understanding when and how your cake will be prepared and delivered is crucial. Ensure the baker can manage the logistics, especially during busy seasons.
  7. Who will make your cake at the bakery? Often, one person will bake the cake, and depending on the size of the bakery, another person may prepare the filling. The assembly, frosting, and decorating are often done by the same person. Understanding their roles can give you confidence in their craftsmanship.
  8. How does the baker price the cake? Wedding cakes are usually priced per serving. Note that more complex designs or handmade decorations may increase the cost. Cakes with a paired down "modern" look are often more difficult to do correctly than ones where all sides and edges are covered with piped buttercream borders. Cakes that require more hours will cost more.
  9. Can the baker provide referrals? Be sure the bakery, whether it's operated out of a home or in a commercial space, has proper credentials for the state you live in. In Texas, home bakeries must be certified in food safety, but those in commercial spaces must also be licensed. Be sure to also obtain referrals from an event that occurred within the last few weeks to months, not from several years back. Ask your baker about the worst wedding cake delivery they ever had. Every baker has one. How did they successfully solve the problem?
  10. Does the baker have a portfolio? They should have one for you to view upon request. This is so you can view the appearance of the cakes. Does it look clean and professional? Is there a range of styles that you like? If you like certain aspects of cakes you see, be sure to tell the baker. If your baker is helpful, he/she can work with you to find exactly what you want for your cake. Be sure to communicate your preferences clearly.
  11. Does the baker provide samples? This is non-negotiable. Insist on a tasting session. It's essential to sample both the cake and fillings separately to assess their quality.

Cutting and eating a wedding cake is one of the high points of any reception. When selecting a baker, make sure you ask the right questions to find the perfect baker for your one-of-a-kind cake.

If you are having a small reception or renewing your vows and want to make your own wedding cake, we have a variety of cake recipes to make your special day delicious.