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Wedding guide contributor Jennifer Hughson asked Clare Pennell of Cakes of Wanaka to share her best tips (on a knead to know basis) for choosing the wedding cake of your dreams. We only want one type of 'tiers' when it comes to picking the right cake for you...
1. Hire a professional!
The cake is one of the main centrepieces of the reception, and guests will photograph it both during the cutting and while waiting for the couple to return. A great cake is a great talking point for many years to come!
The cake needs to be supported well, have great flavour, and a design that complements the wedding theme. A professional decorator these days needs to keep up with trends and be able to use products such as gold or silver leaf, stencils, shimmers etc. Couples also need to be realistic about their budgets, as they see cakes from overseas by the best designers, and then want the same cake for not a lot.
Hiring a professional means you are hiring experience and training. No design or shape is too hard, and we are open to any suggestions. Along with a great looking cake also comes peace of mind. These days it's a case of you get what you pay for, and intricate designs generally cost more money due the time it takes to complete the cake.
2. Love your design and the taste!
The cake should reflect the couple and what they are into, and their theming and colours of the day. Flavour is also an important factor along with how your cake looks. Many cake designers will have a 'menu' you can choose from and most will offer different flavours for each tier. Dessert buffets are becoming more well known in NZ and a big trend this year is macarons in the form of favours and macaron towers, either as a cone or on a stand. Sometimes it's good to remember less is more.
3. Be inspired by the latest trends!
Vintage and lace are still hot at the moment, although a few are looking to more glamorous cakes (such as ‘The Great Gatsby' 1920s styling) as international designers are so accessible via the internet. Silver leaf and shimmers are HOT! Also more brides are coming back towards handmade flowers instead of fresh, but more as a couple of feature flowers not a cascade. Intricate piping designs on white cakes are amongst my favourite and the trends are coming back to the more classic designs. Tiered cakes are back with cupcakes disappearing. Tiered cakes offer more scope for design and also give a more modern look. We love ours with the sharp edges, thin icing, iced boards and unique designs.
4. Book ahead!
While it does depend on what time of year your big day is, booking ahead relieves stress and allows you to tick another ‘to do' off your list. If your wedding date is in winter, booking a couple of months ahead is fine, but in summer 6-8 months is a good idea. No more than 1 year ahead though as prices change and so do the designs that the couples want. Cakes of Wanaka had become quite sought after, and has enquires into 2015/2016!
5. Don't forget your guests with allergies!
Most cake companies will offer a nut and gluten free option of cake. Macarons are a great option for gluten free folks. It's less common to find a dairy or egg free option though, but you never know until you ask.
Bonus tip from Clare:
The biggest thing is not to panic! Many stress as they see that I am so busy, but there really is plenty of time. Have a bit of an idea of the designs you are after, before consults etc. These days, cake designs are like asking 'how long is a piece of string?'. I offer a service where couples can book in to 'save the date' just by paying their deposit, then closer to the time when they have a better idea of what they would like, we can discuss the final design.
Thanks Clare! Now you have the tips, you can easily pick your dream wedding dessert - piece of cake really...