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    How to Get the Best Cake for Your Special Day

    By Ayme Dickson

    Wedding cakes are a key component to any wedding. Allow time to meet with prospective bakers so that you can find someone with a design aesthetic similar to yours, or at least someone who can live up to your expectations.

    While the media tells us of instances of bakeries that refuse to bake cakes for LGBTQ weddings, it might be advisable to find a baker for whom same-sex weddings won’t be an issue. This is supposed to be a happy occasion. There’s no sense in ruining your day with the bad taste of a cake baked by someone who didn’t want to make it in the first place.

    Your wedding cake should reflect your wedding day vision and personal style. When shopping for your cake, there are a number of things to keep in mind. All of them combined can help a lot with the cake design process. Ideally, you will want to consider them in advance so you can discuss them with your cake designer.

    Concept & Creativity

    Is there a theme for the wedding? Will the style of your wedding be rustic, vintage, modern, or something completely original? Is there a special feeling or memory you want to evoke that day? Think about the style of your invitations, your dress, and what the venue looks like. Bring in photos of your dress, or swatches of fabric or lace. These factors can all help make the cake design uniquely yours. Pinterest is full of a lot of great ideas, and a good bakery should be able to make a similar design, or take an existing concept and adjust it to suit your needs and desires.


    What is your overall cake budget? Intricate designs can increase the cost considerably. If you have a design in mind, knowing your budget up front can help your designer suggest how to create a cake you will love at a price you can afford. In some cases, it might be more affordable to have a smaller, designed cake for the cake cutting and photos, accompanied by cupcakes or a sheet cake that gets sliced in the kitchen to feed your guests.

    Some venues may charge a cake cutting fee—think of it as corkage fee for your cake. Often, a wedding venue package may include a cake/dessert with the reception fees. If you are having your cake handled by an outside vendor, you might negotiate with the venue and upgrade on something else, or have another dessert that will complement your cake.


    What are your wedding colors? Which ones are most important to include in the cake design? Do you have a cake topper you’re planning to use? If you have it, bring it, or a picture of it, with you. Do you want fresh flowers on your cake? If so, arrange for your wedding florist to provide the flowers for the cake so they can match the floral design of your reception.


    How many people should the cake serve? It would be a pity to have a cake that’s too small to feed your guests. Ask your cake designer how large the slices are estimated to be.


    Most wedding cake bakers offer a cake tasting appointment/consultation. This may include just a few, or perhaps all, of their available cake flavors. This will help to ensure you get a wedding cake that you and your guests will enjoy. Note that some bakers will charge a fee for this.

    It is also important to consider any guest allergies. Weddings are memorable enough without someone becoming ill from a nut allergy!

    Wedding Date/Climate

    Once you have your wedding date set, keep in mind that several factors may affect your cake design, including: venue setting (inside or outdoors); the time of year; and whether refrigeration is available. Chocolate ganache, meringue, whipped cream and buttercream will melt in high temperatures, while fondant will fare better in the heat. Depending on the expected weather, it may be ideal to have fondant over your buttercream iced cake.

    Delivery Time

    Know your wedding day timeline so your baker can evaluate the best time to drop off the cake. The delivery time can be affected by how much design needs to be handled at the venue. In some cases, the venue may dictate the earliest/latest delivery time. It might also be good to have a contact name/number from the venue, in case your baker needs to contact the venue for any details, such as loading dock location access.

    After working for baker Jen Kwapinski for several years, Ayme Dickson purchased Jen’s Cakes in 2014. Since then, Dickson and her team have continued to delight with their delicious desserts. Jen’s Cakes specializes in wedding and special occasion cakes, cupcakes and other desserts. Call or email to make an appointment for a complimentary cake tasting (408-293-CAKE, See their reviews at and


    1-PHOTO Fred and Jaime (1)Frederick Sullivan and Jaime Botello, who oversee the Weddings & Occasions page for the San Francisco Bay Times, are the talented wizards behind Sullivan-Botello Events ( and SnB Party Rentals (650 -877 – 0840 , Both are Certified Wedding Planners with extensive experience in creating memorable, personalized events for special occasions. Their rental service is incredible, offering everything from beautiful gold Chiavari chairs to LED dance floors, and all at competitive prices. They are the creators of the Gay Vanity Wedding Show and are longstanding members of the Golden Gate Business Association, which is the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce.