Miscakes: 10 Ways to Avoid Common Wedding Cake Mistakes

Today I am turning the blog over to our guest blogger Erica O'Brien of Erica O'Brien Cake Design, who you might remember from the exclusive announcement I made last week introducing her new line of couture cupcakes. Erica is one of the many talented cake designers from across the US and Canada I've had the priviledge to meet via twitter.

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From Erica, "Brides are often at a loss when it comes to their cake, so I have compiled a list to help brides focus on the important aspects of their wedding cakes and avoid the typical cake pitfalls."

1. Too Big. Your cake should be proportionate to the number of people you’re serving. A five-tier cake is not appropriate for a wedding with 100 guests. Sometimes, the larger the cake, the more that can go wrong.

2. Too Small. Again, make sure your cake is in proportion to your wedding. Your baker will know how big your cake should be based on the number of guests. And don’t assume some of your guests will pass up the cake. It’s better to have extra cake than to run out.

3. Ask Questions. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask questions. It’s your wedding and your money. Asking how long before the wedding the cake is baked, whether the cake is ever frozen, and who delivers the cake are all valid questions and your baker should be happy to answer them. There are many resources available on the web with suggested questions to ask your baker.

4. Rethink the Top Tier. After a year in the freezer, your cake will taste like just that: a cake that’s spent a year in the freezer. It’s fine if your baker includes the top tier with the cost of the cake, but don’t pay extra for it. Instead, consider buying a nice bottle of wine on your honeymoon and drinking it on your fist anniversary.

5. Whatever You Do, Don’t Make Your Cake! And don’t allow your mother, sister, or best friend to make it. You (and your mother, sister, and best friend) will have enough to do the day of your wedding. Leave the cake to a professional.

6. Don’t Expect a High-End Cake on a Low-End Budget. Generally speaking, when it comes to wedding cakes, you get what you pay for. A cake that costs $7 per serving should be made with better quality ingredients by a more highly skilled cake artisan than a cake that costs $2 per serving. Be realistic about your budget and what you can afford, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Hoping that a $250 cake will taste and look the same as a $1200 cake is a set-up for disappointment.

7. Bring Design Ideas. It’s best to meet with your cake designer after you have a few things in place, such as the venue, flowers, and invitations. That way, she will have a good idea of the look and feel of your wedding, and can work with you on the design concept. Coming to the table with nothing, or leaving it all up to the designer, can prove very frustrating for both of you. It’s best to bring a few photos of cakes that appeal to you. Some designers will replicate a cake exactly while others prefer to create original designs.

8. Plan Ahead. A reputable cake designer will only accept a limited number of commissions per weekend so he can spend a lot of time with each cake. Many wedding cake bakers book up early, especially during the wedding season, so plan to secure your baker at least six months in advance. Be wary of a baker that accepts a last minute order, and always insist on a tasting.

9. Color. If you want a specific color on your cake, don’t leave it to chance. "Tiffany blue" can mean many things to many people, and color on computer monitors can vary greatly. Instead, get paint chips from your local hardware store to give to your baker. Be sure to look at them in all kinds of lighting—daylight, fluorescent light, evening—to be sure it’s the color you want. A good cake artist should be able to match it exactly.

10. Stay Calm. Know that if something goes wrong — whether with your cake or any other aspect of your wedding — chances are you’re the only one who’ll notice. Instead of getting upset and letting it ruin your day, have a drink, laugh it off, and enjoy yourself.

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Thank you so much Erica (of Erica O'Brien Cake Design) for being a guest blogger today and sharing with us ways to avoid the common wedding cake mistakes. To see more of Erica's lovely cakes, please visit her online, where you can also see the amazing and mouth-watering list of flavor choices. Erica began creating wedding cakes way before she got married - and I love this comment she's made, "I've only made one of the mistakes above: I made my own wedding cake". But, seeing that Erica is a cake designer, we can't really fault her on that one :)