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Wedding Cakes: A Nuanced Take on the Age-old Tradition.


A hand addressed letter arrives in the mail, as you begin to open it you notice it is a wedding invitation. After you have your mind made up that you will be attending this event what else do you think about? What outfit you are going to wear? How long the drive will be? What will they be serving? These are all valid thoughts but the one thing you know beyond a shadow of a doubt will be that a wedding means wedding cake. This is from the perspective of your guests. Think back to any wedding you have attended; the cake is one of the main focal points during this amazing day. Not only have you spent a small fortune on the cake you have made the guests wait all day to partake in its consumption. The cake may seem like a small part of the wedding as a whole but to the guests it is one of the many things they look forward to by attending your wedding. Making the decision of what cake to get can be a daunting task when weighing out the options, numbers and flavors in order to make the majority of the guests satisfied. Take a deep breath and relax, there just might be a solution to this conundrum in the form of a simple math equation and personal cakes.

Half Slice Rule

100 Guests / 2 = 50

As a rule a thumb when attempting to figure out how much cake you need to purchase for the guests at your wedding consider the half slice rule. Most bakeries will price the cake by the slice which is normally dictated by the total guest list. When in reality you only need around half of a slice per guest, this reduces cost significantly. The half a slice rule is the guest count divided by two. An example of this is if you have 100 people attending the wedding you will only need 50 slices of cake. The half slice rule may look worryingly under proportioned but bear with me here. Out of the 100 guests not all of them will stay for the reception and out of the ones that stay for the reception some may leave before the cake cutting ceremony that takes place later after the food has been served. The guests remaining may not partake in eating the cake you spent all that money on. Using this method may help you to allocate more money to other aspects of your special day instead of using it on the cake.

Traditional Wedding Cake – 100 Guests

Cost Per Slice: $5.00

Average Total Cost: $500.00

The traditional wedding cake is considered by many to be a mainstay of any wedding regardless of food choice, guest count, or location. These cakes tend to be two to three tiers with a layer of fondant or buttercream icing as the decorative outer coating and tasty glue that hold the cake together. The fondant is a thick type of sugar paste icing that will envelope the outer layers of the cake. Using fondant can make for beautiful aesthetics due to its thick properties and ability to hold shape. The main negative point to fondant icing is that many of your guests might not like the taste and consistency of it. The buttercream icing is a fluffy and light sugary icing that is normally placed between layers of the cake and on the exterior for decoration. The buttercream in many cases is a crowd favorite. The down side to buttercream is it does not have the same form holding capabilities as the fondant. The traditional wedding cake can come in multiple flavor combinations but mainly sticking to a uniform flavor profile.

Cupcakes – 100 Guests

Average Cost Per Individual Cupcake: $3.00

Total Cost: $300.00

A nuanced spin on traditional wedding desserts come in the form of cup shaped cakes with the upper area covered in icing, we tend to call these cupcakes. Although cupcakes have been around for pretty much the entirety of human existence they are now being excepted as the main cake of choice at weddings and formal events. The cupcakes are arranged in various forms by using a decorative stand that can yield a pleasing expression that compliments the decor. In using this method, the cupcake tiered stand will look professional and inviting for the guests to partake. These personal little cakes also come in various flavor combinations using different cake batters, icings, and fillings. This means that you can order a variety of tastes that can satisfy most palates at your big day. One large upside to using a cupcake wedding cake versus traditional is cost. The cost to have cupcakes made can be significantly less per slice/cupcake than traditional cakes.

Long Short of it All

Cupcakes are a trend that seem to be gaining momentum with each passing wedding that utilizes them as that main dessert focal point. This trend is saving money and supplying guests with personal little morsels that keep waste down to a minimum. This all being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out and getting that beautiful wedding cake of your dreams but give cupcakes a look before dismissing them. Bakeries are catching up to this fad making gorgeous works of art out of the cupcakes that rival the detail traditional cakes offer all while saving you some money in the process.


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