Saturday, January 18, 2014

Before we visit LET THEM EAT CAKE...

          I am very excited to announce  that Rules for the Frugally Fabulous Reception Spring 2014 Contest will be announced in the next two weeks.

The winner of the contest will receive :

A copy of Frugally Fabulous Wedding Receptions 

1. Menu planning assistance 

2. Adjustment of recipes to fit your guest count
3. A shopping list organized by grocery department 

4. Schedule for menu item preparation 

5. A master list for all the serving pieces you will need
6. A suggested buffet layout based on your menu.
7. One-on-one Skype consultation

Contest rules will be posted before the end of January on my Pinterest board and here on my blog. Sign up to follow both so you don't miss a chance to win one of these packages. A winner will be chosen at the end of each quarter and the consulting service must be completed within one calendar year of the award.

And now...on to  LET THEM EAT CAKE


Number 3 in a series where I am sharing ways to reduce the amount of money you spend by looking at each specific part that contributes to the total budget of your reception.

How to Save Money on Your Cake includes lots of great options and alternatives that range from making and decorating your own cake to buying individual layers of wedding cakes at a national discount chain.

1. DIY. Yes it is possible.

There are instructions and step-by-step pictures to for making the beautiful white cake with the blue ribbon you see in pictured above.  The baker has included some fancy designs on the side of the cake illustrated, but you could use fresh flowers instead.  If you are not a fan of fondant, follow her instructions for constructing the cake and use her luscious butter cream recipe instead.  There are many additional sites listed in the sure and check them out.

                                          Arsty Crafty Mom's Home Made Wedding Cake

Frugally Fabulous Pinterest DIY Wedding Cakes also has links to numerous sites with recipes and instructions for baking and decorating  wedding cakes. let's look at other possibilities that you might not have considered.  These can save you lots of money, without adding additional stress to your life.

Con Paulos

2.  Have a friend who is experienced in decorating cakes "gift" you a cake. Some sites advise not to do this, but I have seen it done many times with wonderful results...including my own. This cake consists of specialty lemon cookies with a Bavarian Creme Frosting and would be perfect if you prefer cookies over cake.  You could have several of the cookie cakes constructed using different types of home-made or gourmet cookies.  One of my dear friends was an accomplished "hobby" baker and was able to duplicate the cake I saw in a magazine.  If you aren't as lucky as I was, see the list toward the end of this blog for some other resources that might be able to accomplish the same goal. 

3. Or, order a small elaborately decorated 2 tiered wedding cake for the "cake cutting" photos, but serve your guests from sheet cakes you have ordered with yummy fillings and a great tasting frosting.  These can be ordered from your local box store,  bakery, or you can DIY.   Or, just decorate all of your own sheet cakes.
Tamra Smith

This started                                                                              
Instructions for Frosting Roses


                        as this

4.  Order Decorated Sheet Cakes

5.  Order a variety of cakes from a gourmet bakery

 To formalize the presentation put a few of the cakes on a stand
 If you are serving a variety of different flavors of cakes, use matching or coordinating stands to unify the presentation for stencils

6.  Order a plain frosted cake
Use a designer stencil to apply butter cream frosting on the sides.  Place flowers similar to those in your bouquet on top. 
Stencil colored butter cream on the sides and top

7.  Ask several friends or friends of the family (who might have already asked if you need any help) to make their favorite cake.  Set up a "cake bar" and let guests serve themselves to the cake of their choice after you have "cut the first slice" from one of the cakes.  And yes, traditional cheese cakes would be included.



Sweet Luna Deserts

Aren't these fun!  What's nice about cake-pops is that the "pop" is coated in melted chocolate, which prevents the cake from drying out if they are made a few days in advance.    For a dramatic display a holder of some sort is helpful.

Bellagala Minneapolis
Place the pops on plates as illustrated here.

Cake mix can be used for the cake portion so they are definitely economical.  I made a batch for the holidays one year and found working with liquid chocolate something that one needs to practice.  So play with these first.

Here is the link for the instructional video for these goodies, featuring Bakerella , the author of Cake Pops 
                                   Cake Pop How To

9 And Then There Are:

Wedding Cakes Layers from Walmart.

At the time this picture was taken each layer was selling for $7.48
Put some pretty flowers on top on each cake and place on cake stands - you are set.

Caution:  Don't try to stack these cakes on top of each other without cake boards and some sort of support within the cake...The link above to Artsy Crafty Mom shows you how to assemble the cake in layers using lollipop sticks if you would like to stack the layers.


10.   And from yummy cakes we move to Yummy Cupcakes 
                These displays are from which is an excellent resource if you are                                                            considering any type of  DIY cake

Uploaded by PeggyMichel
Approximately 45 cupcakes   

Uploaded by Joey
Approximately 92 cupcakes
 There are several challenges to cupcakes for a DIY reception.
     Transporting a large quantity of decorated cupcakes to the venue 

   The time required to set up the display.

The secret is to plan 

Uploaded by Michellew
Approximately 74 cupcakes
You can also set up a side table to hold additional cupcakes if you have a large number of guests to serve.


As you look that the three pictures please notice the presentation.  If the table shape matches the cake shape it enhances the presentation.   Very simple; round cake = round table, square cake = table with square corners. say - I don't have time right before the wedding to bake and decorate a cake.
I bet you didn't know that professionals bake the cake in advance and freeze it.   Ahhhhhh...that makes the task a little less daunting yes?  But it still feels like more than you want to bite-off.  Read on and see more options for DIY possibilities   And are not going to spend $700.00 on a cake for 150 guests.

Project Wedding

Search DIY Wedding Cakes on Google and Pinterest

This cake features lace doilies as the inspiration for the decoration.
to see numerous ideas for cakes that actually look like they can be decorated by someone without formal training. 

 Unique and Different Cakes

Photo: © 2012 Ann-Kathrin Koch Photography

"Cheese Cake"

The combinations are endless.  This would be perfect for a vineyard wedding.

  All I can say is "OH YUM!"

Where else to look for someone to create your dream cake?  

Note:  Ask to see the portfolio of anyone you interview...they should have a picture collection of all the various cakes they have created.

 a.)  A local supplier of cake decorating supplies; frequently they offer classes and can refer                    you to an accomplished "student" who is trying to build a business.

 b.)  Craig's List - Services - Event

 c.)  A local Junior College or Culinary Academy.  Call and leave a message for the head of                   the Culinary or Pastry Department.  Ask if they can refer a recent graduate, or                                 advanced student who might be interested .  

d.)  On-line wedding planning web-sites with vendor listings by region

WHAT NOT TO DO - from a popular on-line wedding magazine.  And....I am adding my own observations to the comments.

1. Don't choose an inedible color. Reds, royal blues, purples, and hot pinks are least favorites. They will stain guests' lips and tongues, and even worse, if the groom smashes cake in the bride's face, it can permanently stain her wedding gown! A safer option is to use those colors in other ways like fabric ribbon or the flowers.   Okay
2. Don'f ask a friend to bake the cake. We said it before, and we'll say it again, it's better to politely decline the offer than be disappointed with the cake later. Plus, do you really want someone who is uninsured, unlicensed, and uninspected? (I think she means the kitchen isn't inspected -  not the baker.  At one time I had a commercially licensed kitchen - the health inspector looked at the kitchen but if he inspected me - I wasn't aware of it.   If the friend is experienced - why not?  People would be amazed if they knew how many bakers started out rogue in their own kitchens.
3. Don't choose a traditional cake topper. Unless you want to incorporate you mom and dad's or grandparent's bride and groom cake topper as your "something old," avoid it. What is traditional these days?  If you find a cake topper you like - use it.  I had a client who described her cake topper to me...a bulldozer pushing autumn leaves over the side of the cake.  Which I arrived at the venue I was quite surprised because the cake was 4 layers high and the bulldozer was similar in size to a Match Box car.  That bulldozer probably cost the bride about $250.00 extra.  But - she was thrilled.  And that is what is important.  
4. Don't pick up the cake yourself. It may be more budget-savvy to pick it up yourself, but leave it to your cake baker that way he/she has the appropriate boxes, packing materials, and tools for touch-ups. large and ornate is the cake?  I once picked up a 3 tiered, completely assembled cake for a client - and held my breath as I drove through traffic.   The cake needs to be set on a very flat surface (not the back seat of the car), with something underneath it that will keep the box from sliding - perhaps a large towel.  Many people who bake cakes don't charge extra (especially if they are building their business) because they want to make sure the cake is displayed beautifully.
5. Don't overlook the cake stand and table. It's not just about the cake, it's how the cake is presented. Be sure to designate an area in your reception space.   It's not just about the cake, or the's about the pictures that are taken of you and your sweetie as you cut the cake.  WHAT IS IN THE BACKGROUND?????
6. Don't forget to schedule a time to cut your cake. Normally, the cake is cut an hour before the reception ends, but if you don't want to interrupt the dance floor, cut the cake at the beginning of the reception after you make your grand entrance while all eyes are still on you.     I disagree with this so strongly that I originally wrote NO NO NO.  But then decided to tone it down a notch.  If you cut the cake, people are going to expect to be served.  However, if you have a DJ he needs to take a break at some point in time. And, people need to let the meal settle before they eat cake. Cut it too early and the clean up crew is going to be tossing a lot of plates with uneaten cake on them into the garbage.  You don't have to wait until things really get rocking....but wait for at least an hour after everyone finishes eating. 
7. Don't forget to eat your cake! After you've made your rounds of thank you's, it's important to take some time to sit down enjoy your dinner and a drink (or two) as well as a slice of cake.   Okay.   But just in case you get so engaged visiting with your guests that you don't sit down and enjoy your dinner, arrange before-hand to have a little "picnic and desert (wedding cake)" packed to take with you.    

And because I think you need as much information as possible to make a decision like is another negative view about DIY wedding cakes.

On an ending note:  I feel I need to apologize for the erratic formatting this week.  Some time things just won't do what you want.  Which means it is time to look for new blog software.

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