Choosing a custom cake
While nothing beats a birthday cake lovingly made by mum or dad, many busy parents are happy to hand over to the professionals. A custom cake is an investment but well worth it. A spectacular cake that captures the spirit of the party and the guest of honour will not only be the centrepiece of the event, it is likely to be the thing your child remembers about the party as the years go by or that will feature in the photos when they cut the cake.
So, what are the things to consider when making this important decision? Genevieve from Cake Chemistry by Genevieve in Sydney shares her expert tips here!
Before the design ideas start flowing and emails go back and forth, it’s important to decide how much you want to spend. This is likely to be influenced by the significance of the occasion and the scale of the celebration. Or, you might want something extra special just because!
A custom cake will generally cost more than a design you choose directly from the decorator’s website/portfolio. The additional cost of a custom cake is due to the time taken to communicate about and to design the cake. If a custom cake isn’t in your budget, most cake decorators also have a range of pre-designed cakes which are less expensive if no alterations or additional communication is required.
Other factors that impact cake cost are:
The number and size of serves you require
- -There are price differences with additional tiers. This is because the process of creating each individual tier and then assembling the cake correctly to ensure it remains stable is time consuming and time is generally the main influence on cost.
- -Price differences for different width single tiers may be less significant depending upon the cake design as the time taken to create say an 8 inch diameter cake vs a 10 inch diameter cake of the same design is similar in many cases.
The style of cake e.g.:
- -Fondant cake
- -Semi naked cake
- -Naked cake
- -Buttercream cake
- -Sculpted (3D) cake
The price differences are in part due to the cost of ingredients but are mainly due to the time taken to construct each different cake style.
For example, a single tier fondant cake needs to be baked, ganache or buttercream prepared, the cake trimmed and filled with ganache or buttercream then covered in a perfectly smoothed coat of ganache/buttercream.
Any sculpting required is done before this process. Once the cakes are covered in fondant, they are smoothed and edges worked on. Then decorations which may themselves have taken many hours to create, are applied. This is the process that may take from hours to days (generally days!).
The type of decorations also influences the cost:
- -Handmade decorations (e.g. sugar flowers, fondant characters )
- -Pre made toppers (e.g. plastic figurines, ‘Happy Birthday’ )
- -Fresh flowers
- -Hand panted cake
- -Stencilled cake
- -Hand piping
- -Meringues, macarons, fresh fruit, candy
- -Edible gold or silver leaf
Cake flavour also influences the final price:
- -Cost of ingredients
- -Time to prepare
Other things to consider when choosing a cake
Some design factors to consider are:
- -Party theme. There are thousands of themes but most decorators are up with the main trends and themes pretty quickly
- –Colour scheme of the party
- -Cake style (see above…fondant, semi naked etc…)
- –Age range. For example, kids tend not to want fruitcake and may prefer a buttercream cake to a fondant cake.
- –Weather. A buttercream cake for an outside party in the middle of summer may not be a great idea.
- -What the guest of honour wants of course!
- –Allergies and food intolerances. Always let your cake decorator know before selecting flavour/s.
Choosing a cake decorator:
- -It’s easy to get a feel for the kind of designer you like just by flicking through a stylish party or cake magazine.
- -Choosing a decorator often comes down to location but may also be influenced by whether they deliver.
- -Word of mouth. Friends and family may be able to recommend someone who has made them an amazing, delicious cake!
- -Does the decorator also do coordinated cookies, cupcakes etc?
Make sure you provide your decorator with some ideas, images and any other items of inspiration where possible. A few images of cakes you like will always be very helpful. A copy of the party invitation, tableware etc may also help create a cake that fits perfectly with your style and theme.
When you initially contact a cake decorator for availability and a quote, be as specific as possible. “Could you make a cake for my daughter’s birthday and how much will it cost?” is difficult to accurately answer. As already discussed, there are many different types of cakes with different prices ranges and most decorators will need to know the date to check availability.
Feel assured that the greatest reward for a cake decorator is seeing the reaction of a client to their cake. We’re always after a big WOW!! We are almost all perfectionists and a little bit obsessive about smooth sides, sharp edges and precise detail. Your cake will be amazing!!
Thanks Cake Chemistry by Genevieve for sharing these must know tips when ordering your kids party cake. As you can see, her work is stunning – so if you’re looking for a Sydney based cake decorator for your kids party – ensure you contact Genevieve!