You might think this is a simple question, with a simple answer, but there are many factors to think about when deciding how much cake you'll need for your wedding day. Let's go through a few things to think about before you visit your wedding cake designer.
How many guests will there be? Will this include just day guests or evening guests too?
This can be a tricky one to decide on. Traditionally, the wedding cake is served after the wedding breakfast. If you plan to serve the cake for your day guests only, then this is the time to do it. In more recent times, it's become common to say the cake until the evening and cut it when your evening guests are present. If you are on a budget, but you want more elaborate decoration it may be an idea to go for a smaller size and just cater for your day guests.
Will all of your guests eat cake?
As a rule, 10% of your guests will likely not eat the cake, so you can usually afford to go a bit smaller. For small weddings, I would, however, advise you don't follow this rule. The cake tends to disappear a bit more when a wedding is more intimate. I've had weddings for 30, with a cake for 60, eat the entire cake with most having seconds and thirds.
Do you want leftovers to give your guests the following morning?
Again if you have a larger wedding you may find that less of your guests eat the wedding cake, as there's often a lot of other things going on. So you may find you are more likely to have leftovers spare to give away to your guests the following morning. But if you want to make sure you have spare to give away, opt for a slightly larger cake.
Do you want to keep the top tier for yourselves? Either for after the wedding or to save?
Traditionally the top tier is kept for the christening of your first child. This is something the stems back to when wedding cakes were boozy and fruity. If you have a sponge cake you can always ask your cake designer to recreate your wedding cake in a smaller size for your first child's christening or for your anniversary. I had one couple contempate another smaller cake for the week after their wedding! Sometimes couples freeze the top tier, but fresh is always best. You might also just want to save some for yourselves after the wedding, just in case you don't get any or try all the flavours on the day!
How large are my cake designers tiers?
You may also want to think about whether the cake will be part of a larger dessert table? Do you want lots of little cakes rather than one big one?larger or smaller for another. The fashion has changed in recent years for wedding cakes, and tiers are becoming much taller, particularly for buttercream wedding cakes. Our wedding cake tiers are a minimum of 6inches tall, whereas traditionally they would have been closer to 3 inches or maybe 4 inches. That makes quite a considerable difference. So when comparing prices and sizes of cakes offered by designers always keep this in mind. You might not actually be getting the same amount of cake.
Do you want a fruit cake or sponge?
Portion sizes for fruit cake are usually half the size of sponge cake. You may also find that more guests choose to eat sponge cake on the day, as it's a lot lighter but also many people prefer it.
Do you want to serve the cake as dessert?
When it comes to wedding cake there are two options, finger portions which are 1icnh square for fruit cake, and normally 1inch by 2inches for sponge cake. Here at Red Robin Pantry, our cakes are double hight, so a finger portion of sponge is 1inch squared. If you want to serve the cake as dessert you will want your cake in slices. So will need a larger cake, the size of which depends on how large you would like those slices to be. Your cake designer can help you work this out based on the size of their tiers.
OUR CAKES SERVE:-
4inch - 10 finger portions or 5-6 dessert portions
6inch - 20 finger portions or 10-12 dessert portions
8inch - 40 finger portions or 20-25 dessert portions
10inch - 60 finger portions or 30-40 dessert portions
12inch - 90 finger portions or 45-60 dessert portions
You may also want to think about whether the cake will be part of a larger dessert table?Do you want lots of little cakes rather than one big one?
Do you want a larger cake and make it a focal part of your day/or a showstopper?
Now you may only have 40 guests, but your dream cake is a statement three or four-tier. There are a few options if you want a larger cake, but don't want all the leftovers. The first is to have one of the tiers as a dummy cake. I would point out, however, that there is a common misconception that having a dummy cake is a cheap option. This is not normally the case, as though the dummy will likely be a bit cheaper than the ingredients in your cake (how much so depends on your cake designer), a significant portion of the cost of your cake is time, and decoration takes time whether it's on real cake or a dummy. The second option is to create the silhouette of a larger tiered cake, by incorporating separators. These can be anything from dummies studded with flowers to ornate metal cages that can be placed between tiers, you can even place edible flowers inside. Our two-tier wedding cakes stand at 12inches at least, this is taller than some three-tiers!
How much do you want to spend?
At the end of the day this is generally the major factor that governs all of the above. What's the budget? It is important to realistic when thinking about your budget. Work out what you need from your cake and what you want. What aspects of your cake are important to you.
Once you have an idea of what it is you want from your cake, your designer can help you choose the perfect size for your day, and the days that follow if you love cake as much as me!