Wedding Cake Design

A) Number of Tiers:  Before getting to the detailed aspects of the wedding cake, the bridal couple must decide on the number of tiers they want, which depends on the number of wedding guests.  Most weddings have 2-4 tiers; for larger weddings, it can go from 5-7 tiers.  There are a variety of tier shapes and sizes.  For instance, round, square, oval, heart-shaped and flower-shaped, with diameters ranging from 4-14 inches. 

B) Structure:  The structure of the cake is very important if it is going to withstand the long hours of a wedding reception but also have a nice presentation.  There are 5 different methods to assemble and present the tiered cakes.
Stacked Construction:  Tiers are placed directly on top of another and pillars are not used.  Cakes are supported and stabilized by hidden dowel rods and cake boards.
Cake Stand Construction:  This is the easiest & safest of all 5 construction methods.  The cake stand comes with plates sized to fit and the cakes are simply placed on them.
Push-In Pillar Construction:  Assembly is simple with this method, no dowel rods are needed.  Instead, elegant pillars that are meant to be exposed and plates are used.
2-Plate & Pillar Construction:  This is the most dramatic method and is very similar to the Push-In Pillar method.  Here, several single cakes are towered together using exposed pillars and more plates.
Combination Pillar & Stacked Construction:  This method combines the Stacked Construction with the Push-In Pillar Construction.

C) Style & Color Theme:      During the cake design discussion, the cake designer will take down notes of the bridal couples’ ideas and may draw preliminary sketches of the cake.  The style of the wedding cake is usually seen as a representation the bridal couples’ personalities.  Some common styles include traditional, romantic, classic, simple, whimsical, modern and floral.  Also, custom wedding cake designs can be created using creative touches that describe the bride and groom, like personalized monograms (M & N for Melissa & Nathan).  Once the general cake style has been determined, the color theme follows.  It is recommended that the colors used in the wedding reception decor be incorporated within the wedding cake.  There are endless ways to decorate the wedding cake.  Most wedding cakes are covered in rolled fondant (soft sugar dough) to give a smooth satiny finish to the exterior of the cake.  Rolled fondant can be tinted into any desired color to match the wedding décor.  It can also be cut into different shapes to create patterns and that is then adhered to the cake.  Royal icing is mainly used for decorative piping on the cake and should be used in small amounts since it dries hard.  Using flowers from the wedding décor on the wedding cake is a good way to incorporate the two together.  Fake flowers made from gum paste (similar to rolled fondant in terms of texture, but dries even harder than royal icing).  Gum paste flowers should only be used to decorate cakes and can be saved after the wedding as a keepsake.  They require a lot of skill and are extremely time consuming to make and thus will increase the cost of the wedding cake.  Most bridal couples opt to use fresh flowers instead of gum paste flowers to save some money.

D) Cake Types & Fillings:

Types/Flavors:  Classic Vanilla Cake, Rich Dark Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate Cake, Banana Cake, Coconut Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Lemon Cake

Fillings:  Buttercreams (raspberry, lemon, chocolate, white chocolate, coffee, mocha, vanilla, coconut, mint, hazelnut), Fruit Preserves (raspberry, apricot, blackberry, strawberry), White or Dark Chocolate Ganache, Fruit Curds (lemon, passion fruit, blackcurrant), Cream Cheese Icing

Other:  If you have a cake type or filling in mind that is not listed, please ask the baker if it can be done.

E) Alternative Option:

Faux Wedding Cakes:  For those who want the look of a real wedding cake for photo taking purposes, you may consider getting a faux wedding cake.  Faux wedding cakes are becoming more common.  The bridal couple can have their baker/cake designer prepare a real edible top tier and have fake tiers for the rest of the cake.  This way, the bride and groom can really cut their dream wedding cake and eat it too.  Also, if the bridal couple wishes to serve cake to the all the guests, sheet cakes (large slab cakes) that are less costly can be ordered along with the faux wedding cake.