Wedding Cake Prices, Tips for Ordering Wedding Cake

wedding cake

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Questions and answers from two professional chefs, The Austin Wedding Cake Lady and Chef Andrew Neide of Wedding Cakes by Design

Find local wedding cake bakers, bakeries and cake designers.

Q – What are the average wedding cake prices? How to price a wedding cake? What I can expect to spend per slice?

A – Chef Neide – Wedding cake prices, depending on your location, can be all over the place. Most start at about $3.25 – $5 per slice for vanilla pound cake. Rolled fondant is usually about 1.00 additional.

Austin Cake Lady – Average wedding cake prices in Austin, Texas are running about $3.50/serving. Rolled fondant cakes are normally more expensive and can run as high as $10-$12; however, not very many Austinite cake budgets are in the $1,000-and-up range. Our cakes are homemade, and they average between $2 and $2.50/serving. Larger cakes are typically cheaper than smaller cakes.

Q- When should I order my wedding cake?

A – Chef Neide – Start to think about styles, designs and flavors about 6 months to one year in advance, if possible.

Q- How do I know what size cake I should order?

A – Austin Cake Lady – It’s important to know what size cake to order because I found that this varies from vendor to vendor. We use the internationally standardized figures by Wilton, the biggest cake decorating company in the world. They suggest the equivalent of a 2″ cube of sheetcake to equal one serving. I’ve found over the years that we always come out just about right with their figures. Some vendors will suggest a piece of both bride’s and groom’s cake for each guest.  I don’t. That’s way too much cake, unless the vendor is making serving sizes a little smaller. Over the years I have found that those who want a piece of each cake are offset equally by those who want no cake at all. A few extra servings is great when you order–and don’t forget to count your photographer, DJ, catering staff and others in attendance who usually have some cake after the guests have been served.

Q – What kinds of cakes are popular? What’s new and different this year?

A – Austin Cake Lady – One of the hottest wedding cake designs right now is the square cake, both offset and straight versions Scrollwork designs are really the ‘in’ thing, with considerably more embellishment than we’ve seen the past couple of years, even in Martha’s new books!. Magazines and brides’ orders are reflecting a new popularity for gold or silver dragees (edible beads) inset into the frosting.

wedding cake

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Chef Neide – I’m getting many brides asking me to recreate the look of their gown and incorporate the lace, beading and style of that gown into the design. It’s a lot of work but the end result is worth it.

Q- What shape is better; round or square?

A – Chef Neide – You’ll get more cake slices out of a square or rectangle (it will feed more guests) than you will out of a round cake. So, for large weddings I always suggest square or rectangular shapes.

Q- What is rolled fondant? Does it taste good?

A – Chef Neide – Fondant is a sweet, thick, creamy sugar paste used in candies and icings. It traditionally has a vanilla taste and should be about 1/8 – 1/16th of an inch thick. Personally, I love the taste but it is very sweet so you should definitely try it.

Austin Cake Lady – The smooth look of rolled fondant which originated in Europe is popular, but buttercream frosting can also be smoothed to look like fondant without the chewy, gummy, waxy taste that some folks dislike in fondant.  The cost of buttercream will also keep your budget smiling and your cake will taste much better.

Q – Can I have real flowers on my cake? If using real flowers, does the baker place these or do I need to ask the florist?

A – Chef Neide – Yes! First buy the suggested flowers from your flower shop and then have your pastry chef place them on your cake. Check with your wedding cake designer since there may be a cost to do this.

Q- What is a groom’s cake and how is it incorporated into the reception?

A – Chef Neide – The groom’s cake is an old southern tradition; usually a fruit cake or chocolate cake, but cheesecake and red velvet cake have become a popular choice. The style and flavor can be selected by the groom but should be smaller than, and not as grand as, the wedding cake so as not to be in competition. Model the design of the cake after the groom’s interests or hobbies. Cake can be served at the wedding rehearsal dinner, at the reception or boxed and given to guests to take home.

Q- Can I taste samples of wedding cakes? How long does it take to do a cake tasting?

A – Chef Neide – Yes, I would suggest that everyone have a cake tasting. Some bakers do charge a fee for the tasting sessions though. Please ask in advance so there are no surprises.

wedding cake

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Q – Will my chef deliver my wedding cake or will I have to pick it up?

A – Chef Neide – Some bakeries and cake designers do not deliver, but some will. Some charge for delivery. The cost could be as much as $50 per half hour. So, be sure to inquire.

Austin Cake Lady – The most important question that any bride can ask a cake vendor is, surprisingly enough, not whether or not the cake is frozen (we never freeze our cakes!) but how and by whom the cake will be delivered. Will it be delivered by an experienced decorator who can repair any ‘box bump’ or ‘oopsie’ that sometimes happens as a result of the vibrations during delivery? Or will it be delivered by a $10/hour driver who sometimes delivers the wrong cake or even a frozen cake to your wedding reception?
We never deliver a cake already stacked. Each tier is in a separate box with a non-skid mat underneath the cake. We transport cakes on 4″ foam ‘beds’ with more non-skid rubber on top of the foam. Those are our ‘babies’ and we treat them as such!

Q – I’d like to know how to cut a wedding cake. Is there a proper way?

Andrew Neide – First, be sure to have a good cake knife set. You need to cut the cake 3 inches long by 2 inch high, based on a cake that feeds 100. It’s harder to cut a round cake then a square cake; you get more slices out of square.

Q- What are the best cake toppers? Are there special toppers for use on different types of cakes?

A – Austin Cake Lady – Fresh flowers for a topper still outrank any other kind of toppers and the boy-girl-type toppers are being sporadically used to set on mirrors in front of the cake instead of on top. Popularity of the monogram toppers are on the rise. Still, some couples choose figures depicting their hobbies or lifestyles.

Q – If I have a wedding cake picture, can I ask to have a wedding cake design using the photo as an example?

A – Chef Neide – Yes, most chefs will design a cake based on a photograph. However, some really enjoy the challenge of creating something unique, just for you.

Austin Cake Lady – I’ve published  1,000 wedding cake pictures online and each has a price per serving and a complete description of that cake.  Feel free to browse and enjoy whether or not we’re your vendor of choice. We love what we do and hope that it shows.

wedding cake

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Q – I have heard a lot about cupcake wedding cakes. What are these and are they elegant enough for even the most formal wedding?

A – Austin Cake Lady – I don’t do wedding cupcakes, but a few brides like them and I’ve seen some very pretty and elegant versions that are good enough for the best of venues. However, the starting price is normally higher than a slice of great wedding cake if they’re truly good-quality ‘miniature cakes’ and can run as high as $10 each or more. There’s something about a huge wedding cake that makes it the focal point of any reception. I don’t recommend “sheetcakes in the back” for the classy venues because guests normally look forward to a piece of “THAT” big cake!

Final words of caution from the Austin Cake Lady — when you’re choosing your cake designer (or any vendor for that matter) choose only those who invite you into their shops or their homes. If they don’t have a shop and can’t invite you into their homes, there is usually a reason. We actually had one vendor who had filed Chapter 11 who was still selling cakes and collecting money from brides and NOT delivering the cakes. Stick with experienced vendors who have been around for several years at least. I have noticed over past decades that about 80% of new vendors are usually out of the business within the first two years, and only the hardy survive long term. We truly don’t have ‘magic wands’ that make magnificent cakes appear–the cake business requires passion and dedication, not to mention hard work!

 

 

Read more about wedding cakes and locate wedding cake designers, bakeries in your area

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About the Author
Team Wedding, founded in January 2000, is a network of wedding related directories and niche wedding websites designed to alleviate wedding planning stress and to give brides and grooms the one-stop-shop experience they need in this busy, modern world. Top Wedding Sites, is the Internet’s first directory of the top ranked wedding sites, voted on by brides, grooms and others interested in hosting a wedding. Plan your wedding fast, easy and in the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere you can get an internet connection.

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  1. donna

    If you are a wedding cake designer, please feel welcome to post your location along with your cake prices. If you’re a bride, and you have prices from your local baker, please post them here.

  2. donna

    What is a wedding cake layer called? Is there a special name for the cake layer?

  3. Tim

    It is important to remember that the average cost for a wedding cake is all based on how big the cake is, how many people it serves, the type of cake you want and the detailing you want on it. The best way to find out cake prices in your area is to go to several local bakers and get “quotes” for the type of cake you want.

    Hope you find a great cake, at a great price.

  4. Danielle

    That’s way too much cake, unless the vendor is making serving sizes a little smaller. Over the years I have found that those who want a piece of each cake are offset equally by those who want no cake at all. Thank you.

  5. Top Wedding Sites

    You really can’t rely on knowing how many guests might not want cake, so be prepared to serve every guest. Plus, they usually just serve it and guests who may not want cake will take it to be polite (or they should).

  6. steve

    Great info on how to judge how much cake to order for your wedding. I didn’t know there was so much to it.

    Maybe on the rsvp you should ask how many people are on a diet. It will give you better idea of how many people will have cake 🙂 It seems like every wedding has to much cake.

  7. Top Wedding Sites

    No, it wouldn’t be polite to ask guests if they are going to be eating cake or if they’re dieting. Perhaps one of our Top Wedding Cake designers could offer some advice for how to best estimate the correct amount of wedding cake.

  8. Chef Marney White

    The best way to estimate the correct amount of wedding cake is to plan to offer each of your guests one slice of cake. To do otherwise would not be polite, just as it would be impolite to fail to provide a meal for each of your guests.

    If you’re even entertaining the thought of providing less than enough food for each guest, you may want to consider decreasing the size of your guest list to have things the way you want at your wedding. Many people feel the need to invite people they barely know or haven’t seen in decades, and it’s just not necessary to try and please everyone between here and the moon.

    I knew a couple where the groom insisted on getting married at a famous 5-star hotel (the bride had no preference on the venue, and just wanted to please her fiance). Their room choices were one that held 250 guests, or one that held 55. They opted for the room that held 55, and limited their guest list to family (they both had a relatively small family), and friends with whom they were in frequent contact. No one gave them a problem about it, and they were able to have the groom’s dream wedding in his dream venue, having the best of everything.

    Although that doesn’t work where both sides come from huge families, it could be another way to approach managing costs.

  9. Chef Marney White

    As to wedding cake prices, mine start at $7 a slice for genuine buttercream (not the white stuff made from vegetable shortening — genuine buttercream. Most bakeries don’t use it), and $9 a slice for fondant. Of course, I don’t use commercial cake mixes, or shortening faux “buttercream”, everything is made fresh and not baked weeks or months ahead and frozen, and I use the best ingredients from around the world. Gum paste flower art is also available, starting at $11 per slice and going up from there. Bear in mind that a custom wedding cake takes 2 to 2 1/2 14-hour days to create, fresh. I also limit myself to 2 weddings cakes per delivery day, so I can do everything custom like this.

    I am on Long Island, which is in the NY Metro area.

    You can get cakes for $2 a slice here, but they usually have vegetable shortening icing, are usually made from commercial cake mixes (which means they are not as flavorful or moist), and are usually baked ahead and frozen (which means they can be dried out, or heaven forbid, arrive frozen solid and inedible). They can’t be made fresh in an assemblyline setting, as you could never bake in volume that way. Mainstream bakeries have to sell in volume. Custom cake designers work differently. We can’t work in volume.

    As with everything else, you get what you pay for in wedding cakes, too.

  10. Chef Marney White

    Answering Donna’s questions of what a wedding cake layer is called….

    Two filled and iced layers of cake is called a tier. Tiers can be stacked without separation (which has been the current favored style for years), or can be separated by pillars, or pillars completely hidden by fresh or gum paste flowers.

  11. Rachel

    I have found that those who want a piece of each cake are offset equally by those who want no cake at all. They usually just serve it and guests who may not want cake will take it to be polite.

  12. Michelle

    It is important to remember that the average cost for a wedding cake is all based on how big the cake is, how many people it serves, the type of cake you want and the detailing you want on it. Thank you for the idea that you share.

  13. Christie

    If you’re even entertaining the thought of providing less than enough food for each guest, you may want to consider decreasing the size of your guest list to have things the way you want at your wedding. Many people feel the need to invite people they barely know or haven’t seen in decades. Thank you.

  14. Top Wedding Sites

    Yes, Christie, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an invitation from a long lost cousin or someone I knew in school and haven’t spoken to in years. It’s obvious we were added to get a gift or to fill the room. Yuk…

  15. Heather

    If you’re even entertaining the thought of providing less than enough food for each guest, you may want to consider decreasing the size of your guest list to have things the way you want at your wedding. Great info on how to judge how much cake to order for your wedding. Thank you.

  16. Top Wedding Sites

    I agree. When you’re hosting guests, and expecting them to send gifts, treat them well.

  17. Julia

    If you’re even entertaining the thought of providing less than enough food for each guest, you may want to consider decreasing the size of your guest list to have things the way you want at your wedding. Many people feel the need to invite people they barely know or haven’t seen in decades, and it’s just not necessary to try and please everyone between here and the moon. Thank you.

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