How Much Does a
Wedding Cake Cost?
The wedding cake plays a significant, and visually prominent, part of your wedding reception.
Choosing the right one that not only compliments your wedding style but tastes amazing is essential, and that comes down to choosing the right person for the job.
Below are some of the things involved in making the wedding cake that you may not have considered and it hopefully provides an explanation for the cost of your cake and the effort that goes into making it.
Becoming a qualified pastry chef and cake decorator takes time and money. A Certificate III in Patisserie is a good starting point and is delivered in conjunction with a one-year pre-apprenticeship through TAFE, with an approximate cost of $5,000. The price of training through other private education providers starts from $11,000.
From there, additional training is required to learn how to create flowers, designs, airbrushing techniques and more to the highest standard. These courses start from $200 each.
But, in saying the above, there are some phenomenal cake makers out there who are, for the most part, self-taught and amazing at their craft so make sure you check out their work.
As mentioned above, additional training can be undertaken to learn new skills and refine those already known to the chef/decorator.
Professionals also practice to improve their skills and keep up with new trends/styles. It is vital that these skills are practised and kept up to date because styles do change.
Who had ever heard of a ‘naked wedding cake‘ five years ago?
Meetings about Design & Flavour
Many cake decorators/bakers offer free consultations to help couples design their cake.
These meetings can take between 30 minutes and one and a half hours and cover everything from the number of guests and how will the cake be served, as in dessert sized or coffee sized pieces (which dictates the size of the cake), the shape, colour, style, type of cake and flavour.
These meetings may also include a small sample of cakes to help you decide on the final taste.
There are so many options to consider before you decide on the wedding cake.
The list of equipment needed to produce a wedding cake is extensive and ranges in size and price.
A cake decorator continues to buy new mixers and baking equipment such as cake tins, moulds, cutters, modelling tools, wire tape, edible paints, edible dust, edible glitter, edible glue, boards and ribbons.
And I haven’t yet mentioned the ovens (which start from $3,000), cooling racks, food dehydrator, wraps or boxes for transportation.
The list is endless!
Professional cake decorators source only the freshest, highest quality ingredients to bake a cake from scratch, and include fresh fondant and gum paste for making edible flowers.
Sourcing the best quality ingredients improves the taste, appearance and quality of the cake and don’t come cheaply.
The Time It Takes to Make & Decorate
Many couples are completely unaware of just how time-consuming preparing a wedding cake is.
There is not only the time involved in shopping for the ingredients but also lots of preparing and mixing of those ingredients prior to baking and decorating.
Baking time can take up to six hours depending on the type and size of each cake/tier being baked. Once each tier is cooked, there is an equal amount of cooling time. Each tier must be completed cooled prior to being sealed in a wrap to maintain freshness and moisture. If the tiers aren’t sealed, they will dry out and end up like a brick and no one wants that!
If your cake is to be decorated with edible flowers, this is where a significant amount of time will be needed. Each stage must dry before the next stage can begin. Take a rose for example. The cone (first stage) needs at least 12 hours to dry before petals can start being added. Each petal needs to be dry before adding more to create an open rose. Creating edible decorations like flowers can take 3-4 days to complete. Moisture in the air stops the petals etc from setting so a food dehydrator can be used to speed up the drying of edible flowers.
As with edible flowers, humidity in the air is a real problem. To help with setting the lace, it can go into the oven on low heat to set, then transferred onto a cold silicone mat to enable the release of the lace.
Cakes covered with buttercream can only be prepared the day before the wedding and must then be kept refrigerated until approximately two hours prior to being presented, cut and consumed. Buttercream cakes can often lead to a lot of last-minute running around and finishing touches, so this may increase the price of your cake.
Typically supplied by the wedding florist, fresh flowers are only added the day of the wedding. Obviously, the timing of this is crucial as you don’t want all of your guests focusing on you, and of course your beautiful wedding cake, only for it to have dead or dying fresh flowers on it.
The Cake Board
If the board is to be covered in fondant, this must be done ahead of time to allow the fondant to dry before placing the bottom tier onto the board. The cheaper, and simpler, alternative is to wrap the board in decorative foil/paper.
Are there Cheaper Options?
One way of ensuring a visually impressive masterpiece whilst reducing the cost of your wedding cake is by using fake tiers.
The fake tiers are decorated to match the rest of the edible section of the cake so none of the guests will know that your seven-tier work of art only has two tiers of the edible cake.
Whilst time and ingredients are used to decorate the fake tiers, the cake decorator won’t be using additional ingredients and baking a cake, so is able to reduce the price.
So, what is your Wedding Cake REALLY worth?
Well, if we really have to put a figure on it, a wedding cake can cost anywhere between $200 to $1,800 (and even more) BUT, as you can see, there is so much that goes into designing, baking and decorating your wedding cake that the prices are completely justifiable.
So please consider all of this when questioning how much your wedding cake will cost and appreciate that, if they are any good, your wedding cake supplier will pour their heart and soul (as well as their time. blood, sweat and tears) into the wedding cake that will be PERFECT for your special day.
And at the end of the day please remember………
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
Many thanks to Delwyn Goodyer from Del’s Cake Designs for her insight into all that is involved in creating the perfect wedding cake.