When it comes to wedding cakes, the possibilities are endless, which also means the choices can become a little overwhelming. If you want to get the wedding cake of your dreams, it’s key that you speak with your cake baker and ask lots of questions. Use the list below as a reference to help you decide on the best cake designer to bring your vision to life.
Background Check and Logistics
1. Is the baker licensed and insured?
Why you need to know: This may seem like a trivial question, but you should definitely confirm that you baker is licensed by the state health department. Also, many venues will require all involved vendors to provide proof of insurance coverage.
2. Who will make my wedding cake?
Why you need to know: Some bake shops house a baker as well as a designer; at others, one person constructs the entire wedding cake from batter to floral embellishments. Find out how many people work with the baker and who exactly will be creating your cake. Though the number of people involved should not determine the quality of your cake, you’ll want to discuss design elements with the appropriate person.
3. What do you do if the cake gets damaged on the way to my reception site? Will you personally deliver the cake?
Why you need to know: If your cake will be delivered, ask if the baker or cake designer will be present to assemble or to touch up decorations at the venue.
4. Will you provide cake stands?
Why you need to know: Most bakers offer cake stand options you can rent the day of your wedding. Request pictures beforehand to pick a stand that best matches your cake and décor.
5. How long before the wedding will the cake be baked?
Why you need to know: Since many bakers have multiple clients and the process is labor intensive, your baker may create your cake 3-4 days before the wedding. Of course the closer to your wedding date, the better, but a few days before the wedding day shouldn’t affect the taste or look, and may be necessary if you want an intricate design that takes more than a day to accomplish.
Price and Payment
1. How are your wedding cakes priced? Do you have a minimum cake cost?
Why you need to know: Most bakers charge a basic per-slice price—the price increases as you add on extra elements, like a more sophisticated design or more premium flavors and/or fillings.
2. Does the wedding cake price include the top tier?
Why you need to know: Some couples like to freeze and preserve the top tier of the cake for their first wedding anniversary. Bakers may or may not include the top tier in the overall price, so find out their policy and whether a top tier will increase the overall price.
3. Will there be any additional rental fees? When will these items need to be returned?
Why you need to know: Bakers may offer you a choice of cake-cutting knives, display plates, cake stands, toppers, platters, etc., which will likely require a deposit that you can get back when you return the items. Ask how much time you have to return them.
4. Is there an additional delivery fee?
Why you need to know: Having your cake delivered to the reception venue is ideal. However, many bakers will charge a delivery fee, so find out beforehand and factor it into your cake budget.
5. Can I set up a cake-tasting appointment? Is there a fee?
Why you need to know: Standard flavors will likely be available for a cake tasting, but probably not the specialty flavors. (Most bakers have the most requested flavors on hand.) For cake tastings, many bakers may charge a small fee that can be credited to your balance after booking your wedding with them.
6. How far in advance should I order my cake? What is your refund policy for cancellation? What if I’m not happy with the cake?
Why you need to know: Ideally, you should place your cake order 6-8 months before the wedding. Keep in mind that smaller bakeries may limit the amount of wedding cakes they create every weekend, so they will likely book up very fast around the more popular wedding dates.
When it comes to cancellations, most bakers will also have a very specific policy that you should review prior to signing a contract. In some cases, you may be able to retrieve some or all of your deposit or receive a credit toward another future order.
If you’re not pleased with the final product, it’s your right as a consumer to ask for a refund. From the start, just be sure you have all the details about your cake in writing to use as a reference when speaking with your baker about any inconsistencies.
Cake Designs, Filling Choices, and Frostings
1. Can I see pictures of cakes you’ve made recently? Do you customize wedding cakes or do I select from set designs?
Why you need to know: You can show your baker a picture from a magazine or Pinterest, but seeing the types of cakes he/she makes most often will give you a better idea of his/her skills.
2. What cake and filling flavors do you offer?
Why you need to know: Whether you’re looking for a fruity filling, like strawberry or raspberry, or a rich mocha or chocolate, the kind of ingredients used will profoundly effect the taste and cost.
3. Do you frost the cake with buttercream or fondant?
Why you need to know: While bakers specialize in fondant, others prefer buttercream, and some offer both. If you have your mind made up on one type of frosting, verify that your baker can make it.
4. What if I’d like real flowers on the cake? Will you work with my florist?
Why you need to know: If you want to adorn the cake with fresh flowers, find out if your baker will work directly with your florist (most will) and the best way to coordinate getting the flowers from your florist to the baker.
Often the florist will arrange the flowers for you. Just make sure the flowers are free of pesticides, and provide the baker with a sketch or a photo of the flowers as soon as possible so that she/he can incorporate them into the design.
5. What kinds of ingredients do you typically use? Do you offer organic, vegan, and gluten-free options?
Why you need to know: If your cake designer is not able to bake a gluten-free, vegan, or organic cake, she/he may work with another local bakery that does.
Featured Wedding Cake: Cake by Nicole