The Recipe for Wedding Cake Wonders

Move over, fruitcake! Wedding cakes are as diverse as they are beautiful, so how to choose? Based in Coldstream, Rachel Spakman of Cakes& shares her tips for choosing a show-stopping creation with Belinda Jackson.

When should I order my wedding cake?
Smaller bakers with limited production take bookings up to six months in advance, so book early to get the baking date you want. “Since COVID, everything is all over the shop, and everything is now getting booked up, so for smaller operations such as ours, where I produce just four cakes in a weekend, my advice is to book early,” says Rachel, who specialises in custom buttercream wedding cakes.

He likes chocolate, I like vanilla. And there’s my gluten-free aunt…
Instead of a single flavour, consider doing different flavours for each tier. Alternatively, cupcake wedding cakes are still hugely popular, and allow bakers to accommodate different tastes, while also catering for vegans, as well as those with gluten-, dairy- and nut-free requirements. And it’s not as black-and-white as vanilla versus mud anymore: Rachel says citrus-flavoured cakes are hot right now – such as her signature lemon meringue pie cake, with lemon curd and a biscuit crumb – and her caramel apple pie flavour is a surprise winner. The most unusual wedding cake she’s baked was a lemon and elderflower cake. Especially if you’re going out on a limb, ask your baker for sample tastes beforehand.

Small wedding, big cake.
With small and even micro weddings in high fashion, you can still have your big cake and eat it. “You can either have the big cake and lots of leftovers, or incorporate a Styrofoam tier (or two) for the effect without all the cake,” says Rachel. The whole cake, including the fake layers, is frosted in buttercream for a uniform look, so you’ve got your statement cake without food wastage. After a big, sit-down meal, many people don’t want cake afterwards, but a platter of sliced wedding cake is always a lovely way to keep the celebrations going the next day.

Any cake cutting tips?
The venues usually cut the cakes up, but for tall cakes, separate the tiers until you’re left with a single cake. Then, rather than going the traditional approach and cutting from the centre to slice triangular shapes, cut across the cake in one-inch-thick slices to get those really nice rectangular pieces, says Rachel.

Also, talk to the venue about where your cake is going to be held before it’s cut. “I decorate my cakes with a buttercream finish and flowers from the couple’s florist, then deliver my cakes to the venue fully assembled an hour before the ceremony starts so I’m out of the way,” says Rachel. She requests her cakes are kept in a room that’s no warmer than 23 degrees.