August 31, 2015

The best thing you can possibly do before you go cake shopping is work out what your budget is, it makes your choices clearer and let’s be frank it’s not a nice feeling to spend more than you can afford to. If you are on a limited budget, then it’s very important that you get the best value you can, this might be readjusting your thinking from the dream cake you had in mind, but it should still mean that you have a great tasting lovely cake, here are some of my tips to help you work it all out.

1. Understand how decorated cakes are priced

The most important thing to know is that the design of the cake affects the price more than the size.  The cake price is calculated not only on how much cake and materials are used but also how long the decorators spend decorating.  So if you want to keep the costs down, simplify your cake design, and ditch the figurines, masses of sugar flowers, complex shapes and piping. This small cake below took 2 days to make and cost $770, it fed 30 people, the cost was due to its piping, number of sugar flowers and shape, all of which are time consuming.

Planet Cake

Planet Cake

2. Value vs. Price

Cake decorating is a craft, and this is in part what you are paying for.  I can assure you that although prices may seem high, most decorators I know make very little money, they do it for the love of it.  Therefore if you receive a very cheap quote there could be a few reasons why this would be so: a) They spend less time decorating your cake  b) they use cheaper ingredients or c) they are inexperienced. Therefore it comes down to a value versus price argument, only you can make that decision.

Source: Cake Wrecks

Source: Cake Wrecks

3. The trick to making a wedding cake look like a million dollars when you are on a budget

If you want to get bang for your buck go with a reputable cake maker to ensure that your cake tastes beautiful and is iced perfectly and have your cake decorated with fresh flowers by your florist.  I also recommend choosing height over detail. Think of it this way, only a few guests will truly appreciate intricate lace piping and delicate sugar flowers, however, all the guests will notice a big cake.

Taller cakes look better in photos, they act as a centrepiece and they have an impact in a reception room. For impact I would recommend a 3-4 tier cake decorated with fresh flowers over a two tier cake with intricate piping detail; you may be surprised to learn they are probably around the same cost. 

Source: The Belle Magazine

Source: The Belle Magazine

4. Serving your cake as dessert

Take the cost of your cake and divide it by the number of wedding guests, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you could be saving money on dessert and have a dazzling wedding cake at the same time. For example, a four tier cake decorated with scattered sugar flowers and some lace piping would be around $1200, for 120 guests this would work out at $10 per head for dessert. The only thing I caution you to do is please check with your venue as to what the cakeage charge would be to plate your cake.

5. Taste vs. Price

I am just going to put it right out there early doors, if your cake tastes like crap, everyone will talk about the fact that your cake tasted like crap. Sorry but it’s true, don’t sacrifice flavour for a few $$. Great tasting cakes rely on quality ingredients, cheaper cakes are made from a pre-mix to keep costs down, there is nothing wrong with a good quality pre-mix, however the cheaper ones tend to have a salty aftertaste (take note next time you eat one).

Therefore quality pre-mixes or baked from scratch cakes will cost a little more, to mitigate the extra expense, serve your cake as dessert or instead of a hard fondant finish opt for a fresh finish of buttercream or royal icing which are cheaper.

6. Just Do it yourself!

Okay, so finally we come to the last tip which, of course, there are pros and cons to, the pros are obvious, you save hundreds of dollars!! However let’s be realistic about your nerves, are you a laid back kind of person? If so then you might want to give it a crack if you are highly strung or a little OCD please leave your cake to the professionals or you may be spending your cake savings in therapy fees.

There are a few things to bear in mind, whether it is you or a friend that makes the cake.  Firstly, keep your expectations realistic and if you are having a friend make your cake, I beg of you to be kind with your design requests (if you are that friend say NO if you don’t feel comfortable with a particular cake design).

Please bear in mind that cake decorating materials can be costly depending on the design, for a 2-3 tier cake expect your material costs to be around $80- $100. By keeping your designs simple, your chances of success greatly increase, making a cake with a fresh finish and fresh flowers is extremely doable. However, if you are working with fondant icing for the first time, make sure you have a trial or better still attend a class.

TIP: We sell DIY cakes in our online store, these cakes are already iced either in fondant icing or a fresh finish so that you can dress with fresh flowers or decorate yourself. View Planet Cake DIY Cakes