Cake tastings are the sweetest part of wedding planning! Who doesn't like cake? As delicious as it seems, though, the cake tasting process can be somewhat overwhelming. There are many bakeries and cake shops in the New Jersey-New York City area and they all handle cake tastings differently. I created this blog post to give you general information on the various ways bakeries and cake shops will conduct cake tastings so you know how to be prepared.
How long is the appointment? You can expect the average appointment to last around 45 to 60 minutes, but you should not be made to feel rushed. This will include tasting cake samples and considering your design options. It's possible that the appointment may go a little longer depending on number of cake samples and design process.
How do we know what kind of cakes we will sample? Some bakeries will ask that you choose a limited selection of cake and filling combinations before your visit (typically, it's 3 kinds of cake/filling combinations, some may offer more). Others offer cakes and fillings based on your preferences. Some places have a predetermined plate of flavor varieties in the form of mini cupcakes for you to try. Likely there other flavors of cakes and fillings that the bakery or cake shop makes that you won't be trying and you should ask what the policy is for trying additional samples. If there are food allergy concerns, i.e., peanut or other food allergies, please be sure to communicate this prior to your visit.
Why are we asked to pay for a cake tasting? Very often you will find that a bakery or cake shop will charge a fee for a cake tasting. The policy varies with each business. Some charge only for certain types of cakes (non-wedding vs. wedding cakes) and/or for a certain serving count (i.e., less than 75 servings). Most bakeries will apply the cake tasting fee against the final balance of your contract if you book your cake within a certain number of days. Cake tastings at any level - basic or extensive - are costly. Cake tastings require several hours of employee labor, materials (food costs) and sometimes several hours of a cake designer's time. Charging for a cake tasting acts as a bit of insurance that the potential customer is seriously considering the bakery's services and not just scheduling cakes tastings 'for fun.' It is always a good idea to confirm each bakery's cake tasting fee policy when you schedule your appointments.
Will someone design our wedding cake, too? Yes, the person that you meet with will help you design your wedding cake, too. You should not need to make a separate appointment to meet with a cake designer. If you are visiting a bakery that supplies your wedding cake through your venue's catering package, most likely you will be required to select your cake design from a book of preset designs and may not have too many choices of design options without significant additional charges.
Should we bring anything with us? Items of inspiration are always helpful in the design process! You should feel welcome to bring to your potential cake designer items such as other cake photos, color swatches, dress photos or wedding invitations. Also, a notebook or note taking device is helpful to jot down information.
Are there pictures or cakes that we can look at? There should be books of past work and/or cake displays at the places you visit that can act as inspiration. But don't fret if you don't see your dream design. The cake designer will help design something to fit your style. What you do need to look at is the neatness of the company's work and creative ability.
Do we have to nail down a design at the appointment? No, you don't! If you and the cake designer have a general concept to start with then the exact design details can be worked on along the way.
Can we bring someone with us? Every bakery has its own policies regarding the number of people they will accommodate at a cake tasting, so be sure to ask. Most limit this to a total of 3 or 4, including you and your fiance. You will always want to bring with you the financial decision maker(s), i.e., the parent(s) or relative(s) who will be paying for your wedding cake. This will help to streamline the booking process and gives the parent or relative an opportunity to know first hand that you're getting more than 'just a wedding cake.'
What if we are on a budget? The budget amount that you have set aside for your wedding cake is vital information that you will want to convey when you make the appointment. Knowing this information ahead of time will give your bakery or cake shop the opportunity to more effectively help you with design options.
Are we required to book our wedding cake at the cake tasting? A cake shop or bakery will offer you the opportunity to book your wedding cake at the cake tasting appointment. You should never be made to feel pressured to book your wedding cake at an appointment. If you have several places in mind that you wish to interview and would like to attend all cake tasting appointments before making a decision, you should ask the establishment's policy regarding date availability and holding a date open. Most will not hold a date open, but may allow you a day or two days of extra time before releasing the date to others. But, like your spouse to be, if you know that's the right one, then go for it!
Most of all, you should be able to relax and enjoy what your potential bakers have to offer, feel free to ask questions and have a great time!
Ready to schedule your cake tasting? You can do it right here!