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Wedding Cake Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How soon before the wedding do I need to book a cake designer?
    Generally, you should book your cake 6-12 months before your date. It is usually best to start considering what you would like soon after you've chosen your reception site and the style of your wedding. It may help to look at photographs in magazines, book and of course for video clips of featured weddings for inspiration.
  2. There are so many icing options, how do I choose?
    Ask your cake designer if they offer a tasting session so you can better decide which icings and fillings to choose. Here are a few terms for you to familiarize yourself with:
    •  Butter cream
       A smooth, creamy icing that stays soft so it's easy to cut through. It can be colored and/or flavored. It is also used to create decorating techniques like piping, swags, and other borders, as well as decorative rosettes. It can be used as filling too. Keep in mind that Butter cream is made from butter, which is one reason why it tastes sooooo good, so it tends to melt in extreme heat or humidity.
    •  Dragees (pronounced “ Dra-jeys”. Means “sweet, treats”.) 
      Usually round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold and used for decorative purposes. The balls look like ball bearings or BB's. You remember, they’re those little metallic balls that we sprinkle all over the holiday cookies.
      -TWM Tid-bit: A classic, more popular version of dragée are Jordan almonds or sugared almonds which are whole almonds coated with a sugar shell and made in various colors. Handing out these candies dates back centuries, and is meant to ensure prosperity, fertility, happiness, and good luck. A lot of couples hand bags of these out to their guest as wedding favors.
    •  Fondant (pronounced fon' - dent)
      A sweet, elastic icing that's literally rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake. It is used for flowers, decorative details, architectural designs, and has a porcelain-like finish. It gives the cake that real smooth, satiney appearance.
    •  Ganache (pronounced guh - nosh')
      A sweet, rich chocolate, denser than mousse but less dense than fudge, which can be used as icing or filling. Because it is made of chocolate and heavy cream, it will soften in very humid weather. 
      -TWM Tid-bit: Ganache is said to originate from a culinary accident, whereby a chocolatier's apprentice (what a job!) spilled cream in the chocolate he was melting. The chef called the apprentice 'Ganache', a word meaning, figuratively, 'fool'. The result was delicious, and the name stuck.
    • Gum paste (Bet you can’t guess how this one is pronounced!....”gum – paste”)
      Edible clay-like dough used to mold edible and realistic-looking fruits and flowers that will last for years as keepsakes. It can also be rolled extremely thin and used to make intricate ribbons and lacework as well as delicate flower petals. 
    • Marzipan (pronounced mar' - ze - pan)
       A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, used to mold edible flowers or fruit to decorate the cake. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets, like fondant, and used as icing.
    • Rolled Fondant Frosting
       Is that smooth-as-silk cake covering that is so popular lately. It's popular because it looks so perfect, not showing any spatula marks or swirls. It is rolled out like a pie crust and draped over the cake layer, then trimmed to fit. Taste? It is made from sugar and water, so it really has no taste. Butter cream, or another icing, can be spread on the cake layers under the fondant, to give it flavor.
    • Royal icing
      Royal icing produces well-defined icing edges and is ideal for piping intricate writing, borders, scrollwork and lacework on cakes. It dries very hard and preserves indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but is susceptible to soften and wilt in high humidity. When dry, its texture is hard and brittle -- do not refrigerate. 
    • Torte (pronounced tort or tor' - tah)
       Actually a type of cake, not icing, that does not use leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. It's made with many eggs and often grated nuts or dry bread crumbs and usually covered with a rich, very sweet icing.
    • Whipped cream
       Heavy cream beaten to achieve a thick consistency. Whipped cream does not work well as an icing, and must be kept refrigerated -- it is unstable and not recommended for outdoor weddings.
  3. How many people will my cake feed?
    Generally, three tier layers will serve 50 to 100 guests; you'll likely need
    five tiers or bigger base layers for 200 guests or more. If the reception has high ceilings, consider increasing the cake's stature with columns between the tiers. (A "stacked" cake is one with its layers stacked directly atop each other, with no separators.
  4. During the wedding, when are you supposed to cut the cake?
    Traditionally, the cake cutting follows the dinner. However, it is completely up to you as to how you would like the order of event s to flow. The cake cutting can be used to signify that the end of the reception is near (the cue for the elder folks to politely slip out) so a lot of couples will wait about an hour into the dancing to cut the cake. If you're doing it this way, you could serve an additional dessert with the meal. If you would rather not interrupt your dance party, plan to cut it at the beginning of the reception right after you make your grand entrance while everyone's eyes are on you.
  5. Who provides the flowers for my cake?
    Most commonly, it is your florist that supplies the flowers that go on your cake. This is often the most convenient for brides.  If you do choose to arrange for     your cake designer to provide the flowers for your cake, be sure to discuss     pricing with them. Just be sure to check with both of your vendors to work out the details. Encourage collaboration.
  6. How do I freeze my cake topper?
    Some cakes freeze better than others. The more delicate the cake ingredients, the drier your cake will become in the freezer. Cakes with a longer shelf life: Chocolate, hazelnut, almond, and carrot cake. Cakes that may not last as long in the freezer: white cake, cake with fresh fruit, and cakes with whipped cream fillings. If you have a cake that won't hold up in the freezer, do as many couples do and order a fresh cake tier in the same flavor as your original wedding cake for your one-year anniversary.
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