So many special elements go into creating the perfect wedding day for a couple as they say their vows, from dresses, to rings, to songs, to those attending. One of the centerpieces of the day involves the cake, which traditionally is cut with all eyes watching the bride and groom, who then feed each other and then share a beverage in entwined arms.
While some elements of the wedding must be nailed down far in advance, like the venue for the ceremony and reception, the cake is something couples can finalize just three months before the big day, explained Angie Lovelace of Angie’s Cakes & Bakery at 1300 N. Bridge St. in Elkin.
Lovelace said weather is one of the key things couples should take into account when they are planning their reception and ordering their cake. “No matter how much money you spend, it doesn’t make the icing thicker or thinner. We don’t do cream cheese icing in July when it’s hot outside and the bugs are bad,” she said.
Even if the event is inside, if the air-conditioning isn’t working and it’s warm outside, it’s going to be bad for the cake icing, Lovelace explained.
Typically, bakeries charge $3 a serving, but Lovelace said she usually charges $2 a serving or a little more. Couples need to be able to give the baker the estimated amount of servings they will need, and then Lovelace has a chart she uses to calculate the number of layers needed for the reception.
“Wedding servings are smaller than regular servings, so they need to know how big a slice they want to serve,” she said, showing off the Styrofoam cake dummies she uses to help bridal couples decide on how big the cake should be and what it will look like in the end.
Another newer option couples are taking advantage of are the use of cupcakes along with a one- or two-tiered cake, or in place of the cake. “They are easier to serve, and no one wants to slice the cake and hand it out. They are easier to clean up, too,” Lovelace said of the cupcakes. “Also, some venues are charging more for each plate and silverware setting used, so cupcakes reduce that cost.”
A long-standing tradition for many couples is to save the top layer of their wedding cake by freezing it, so it can be eaten on their first anniversary. Lovelace, who provides a complimentary one-layer six-inch anniversary cake decorated to match the wedding cake for orders who pay a 50-percent deposit, said the best way to preserve the top layer, or anniversary cake, is to leave it in the box and put as much saran wrap on it around it as possible. “Do not touch it,” she said, adding to make sure it stays in the freezer.
As far as the design and decorations for the cake, Lovelace said the sky’s the limit, and completely up to the bridal couple. “The decorations are based on their personal taste,” she said.
From wedding reception cakes, to bridal shower cakes, to groom’s cakes, and bachelorette cakes, Lovelace said she’s done everything from half camouflage/half bridal dress, half bridal with small flowers and half mud up the other side that was then topped with a toy pick-up truck, plain white with a fondant (a sugary smooth icing) rebel flag draped over it. One bridal shower cake she did, was multiple layers and one half was decorated in the bridal dress design and met the other half decorated like Batman and Gotham City.
She said some couples opt to tie in fruit or flowers — live or artificial — that match their bouquets and ceremony decorations. For flowers, Lovelace said artificial flowers can be placed on the cake in advance, whereas live flowers have to be done last minute so they are fresh for the wedding day.
Another option is what Lovelace calls “the naked cake,” which has just a very, very thin layer of icing called a crumb coating. For the traditional bride and groom toppers, or any other toppers chosen by the couple such as initials, those can be provided by the couple and brought to the bakery or left on the table where the cake will be set up to be added once it arrives to the site of the reception, Lovelace said.
For bachelor or bachelorette parties where a little risqué is involved, Lovelace said she thought she might be the only baker in the area who will do adult-themed cakes.
For rehearsals, showers, parties, groom cakes for couples ordering their wedding cake from Lovelace, they also will receive a discount on the additional cakes ordered, she said.
A number of options also are available for the flavor of the actual cakes under the icing, she said. One of the best ways to determine what flavors a couple may want at the reception is to schedule a tasting with up to three flavors. Also, if additional flavors are wanted, she’ll provide three more flavors for $20.
“We talk about the cake, the size, the flavors and design,” Lovelace said of the tasting.
The three-month window ahead of the wedding date gives the couple time to make any changes to the wedding design or flavors without feeling rushed about decisions, she said.
“We try really hard to make sure their special day is special,” Lovelace said. “I recommend the three months to make sure you have plenty of time to ensure it is right, and you get what you want.”
But for those last minute ceremonies, they can be accommodated as well, she said.
In addition to traditional cakes and the newer trend of cupcakes, Lovelace said some couples are opting to include dessert bars featuring a variety of treats to choose from for those making their wedding day special.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.