Our new maple cake stand, sized to display wedding cakes
When you’re navigating the world of wedding cakes, it can be hard to know where to begin. Who better to guide you through the process than Betsy Thorleifson of Brooklyn’s own Nine Cakes? The bakery, founded by Betsy in 2008, whips up gorgeous custom cakes for all kinds of special celebrations. Here, Betsy answers our top wedding cake questions.
1. Fondant or buttercream?
I generally prefer buttercream because it creates a soft, natural feel to the cake. Even if there is a clean and smooth finish, it still looks delicious and like cake you want to just devour! Fondant works better for particular designs, aesthetics, or decorative techniques that can't be achieved with buttercream.
2. How far in advance do you really need to order your cake?
For our studio, it really depends on our schedule and what time of year it is. We have a limited amount of space--so the advance timing required is purely a logistical/scheduling issue, not because it takes months to make your cake. I generally recommend 3-6 months in advance.
3. Do you see today's couples preserving the top tier of the wedding cake to enjoy on their first anniversary?
Yes, some couples are keeping with tradition of saving the top tier of their cake. I've heard back from couples that it's not too bad a year later!! I've also just made couples fresh cakes to celebrate their first anniversary.
4. How many times can I change my mind about the flavors before committing?
We confirm all the details two weeks before the wedding, so as many times as you'd like up until that point! I find most couples prefer to finalize their decisions regarding flavors and design, and generally don't change their minds too often. With all of the details and decision making that goes into planning a wedding, I find most people would rather cross items off their list than continually revisit and second guess their choices.
5. How heavy are all the tiers of cake and what kind of cake stand works for each style?
It really depends on how many tiers the cake is, how many servings, and what flavor (the chocolate cake is much heavier). I've made seven tier cakes that I need an extra set of hands to move. A cake stand with a solid base works well for cakes, and should complement the aesthetic of the cake.
Hardwood maple cake stand, thin base.
6. If I don’t have a clear vision of what I would like, can you offer some design ideas based on my theme and budget?
Definitely! There are generally various options to stay within a vision but keep it within a budget as well. Usually it means less sugar flowers or intricate details, but we can still achieve a beautiful centerpiece.
7. What is your favor wedding cake flavor?
In the spring and summer, I love our almond cardamom cake with fresh raspberries and vanilla buttercream. For a fall or winter wedding, I love something a bit richer and decadent--chocolate cake with hazelnut and salted caramel filling, layering in a bit of chocolate ganache because there's no such thing as too much chocolate goodness!
8. What's your advice for handling unexpected challenges on the big day?
I think one of the most important aspects of working with food and owning a small business is flexibility and making quick, graceful decisions. Everyday there are multiple decisions or instances that require quick nimble decision making, it's a matter of rolling with all the happenings.
Check out our selection of hardwood cake stands for a sturdy, gorgeous way to display your cake.