Finding a wedding cake baker to make a gorgeous, show-stopping cake for your big day seems simple enough. A cake is just flour, sugar, and fondant after all, right?
But wedding cakes can be more complicated than your average party cake. As such, you’ll want to do your research and go with a seasoned pro.
Don’t choose your wedding cake baker without asking the following 10 questions.
A wedding cake is more complicated than your average cake because of the additional layers and structure that it takes to keep your cake upright and looking beautiful. Plus, all the embellishments usually go on a wedding cake that makes it look beautiful. An experienced wedding cake baker will know how to deliver and set up your cake at your wedding venues flawlessly.
Start by asking your baker about their experience making wedding cakes. Ask how many weddings they usually do in a month or a year, and ask to see a portfolio of sample wedding cakes they’ve worked on. This will give you a better idea of their style and abilities. They may also be certified or licensed or have a pastry school certificate they can show you, too.
Be sure to ask any potential baker to share the contact information for one or two previous clients. References are important because you’ll get to ask the couple if they were happy with the baker’s services and if anything could have been improved/changed. This will give you peace of mind knowing you’re going with a true professional.
Confirm the baker you go with can create a custom cake you’re happy with that’s also within your budget. Most bakers price their cake per slice, but yours may charge per number of guests. Or, they may price the cake based on customization, like what flavors and fillings you choose or how many layers the cake is.
There may also be time and labor costs—delivery, setup, and other items like the wedding cake stand. Ask about all fees upfront, so nothing comes as a surprise. You can also be specific about your budget upfront and get everything in writing (more on that below) to confirm the baker will stay on budget as you work together.
Once you confirm your baker can stay within your budget, you can discuss what your cake will look like. This is the time to tell your baker everything you’re hoping for.
Remember, some bakers will offer fake “tiers” of cake and bake a sheet cake for your guests (so only the bottom layer of cake that you cut into will be real.) This may give you more design flexibility and cost less if you’re on a limited budget.
Your tasting may be included with this initial conversation, where you’ll go over all the details about your cake. Or, your baker may set it up for a later date. Some bakers charge clients for a tasting, while others include it in the total cost. Ask how many flavors you and your partner will sample and any other questions you have about the tasting, too.
You might love chocolate, while your partner loves red velvet. Ask your baker what cake flavors they offer. Also, ask about frosting and filling options, like buttercream or lemon curd. A wedding cake is usually large enough to have a few different flavors and fillings represented.
In addition to your favorites, ask the wedding cake maker hat they recommend for your cake. This is their area of expertise, and they can offer seasonal suggestions, like pumpkin chai spice cake for a fall wedding or lemon or lilac cream filling for spring nuptials.
Be sure to ask if your baker can accommodate a gluten-free, vegan, or kosher cake. If you have any other special requests, like a special decoration or design representing your family’s culture or religion, bring it up now.
Talk to the bakery or your baker about how they plan to deliver the cake. (They may need to work with your wedding planner to coordinate this with the venue.) Professional bakers should have a plan in place to safely and securely get the cake to your venue and set up without you having to worry about a thing.
Some bakers are busier than others. Check your wedding planning timeline and ask how far in advance you need to secure the cake, so you can make sure everything is in order in advance of your big day.
Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to read all the fine print. If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that you should always get some sort of insurance policy in case you need to reschedule or cancel the event.
Still can’t decide between fondant and buttercream? Check out Zola’s Expert Advice for even more wedding cake inspo.