Cake Design 101

Have your cake and eat it, too! We've got everything you need to know about designing your wedding cake.

A wedding cake is more than just the highly-anticipated dessert at the end of a wedding meal. It is really a unifying, central element of the event that pulls together the wedding’s theme and décor. It’s both a sweet showpiece and the last, lingering taste of the evening. And if you’re following tradition, the wedding cake is a dose of wedding day sweetness to be shared by the happy couple as they celebrate their first year of marriage.

But just how do you decide what this fantastical confection will look and taste like? That’s where your cake designer comes in. We spoke to Sugar Couture’s Penny Stankiewicz for all of the crumb-coated details, from the first consultation to the final dab of frosting. 

All in Good Time

You should plan your first meeting with your cake designer 4-8 months prior to your event. However, don’t plan a meeting with your baker before you’ve chosen key elements like your date, venue, wedding dress and color palette. These details will determine both the kind of cake you get and what the design will look like.

You should also have an estimate of your guest count, since the size of the cake will be based on the number of servings. Keep in mind that, though a 12” three-tier cake sounds small, “cakes have dimension, they have detail, and their true presence is about much more than size,” says Penny.

Bring inspiration

Focus on visuals that are related to both your wedding and your aesthetic, including the invitation, color swatches, floral inspiration, dress photos and anything else that represents the style of your wedding. Anything from fashion and jewelry to pages from interior design magazines can be helpful if they’ve helped to dictate how you’ll be decorating your ceremony and reception or how you’ve chosen other details for your big day.

Believe it or not, pictures of other cakes aren’t always that helpful when you’re looking for a custom-designed confection. It can be hard to move away from a cake you love on paper to something that really represents your event if you have pictures of other cakes mixed in with your inspiration. “But,” says Penny, “I do think its really helpful if the couple has done some research and looked at other cakes, to get ideas of what they want, and often more importantly, what they don’t.”

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