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My Guide to choosing the right style of wedding cake

Planning and organising your wedding is such an exciting (and sometime daunting) journey. You’ll be amazed by how much choice is out there when deciding on the overall look and feel of your wedding day; from the current colour trends, to table decorations, just what you should give your guests as favours and gifts? To whether or not to go for that champagne fountain, sweet cart or lawn games.

A bit of advice I always give is that no matter what wonderful extras you decide to have on the day, your family and friends are there to share your special celebration; and will have a fantastic day whether you decide to have that icecream van or not.

Although I love the retro vans with proper icecream!

So as you start to make those big decisions on venue, wedding dress and flowers; and yes of course the cake, you want to get it right. To help, here’s my guide on choosing the right wedding cake style or finish to suit your taste, needs and style of wedding.

This isn’t about the decoration, such as flowers, pearls, metallic’s or patterning, although the cake style (i.e covering) can also be an integral part of the cake design. This is just a looking at what cake finishes best suit you and your wedding.

So, cakes come in the following styles;

Naked Cakes, which basically look like a multi-layered classic Victoria sponge stack to create a tiered cake.

Usually filled with either a classic buttercream, jam, or ganache, this style is perfect for a rustic barn setting and is often decorated with romantic or wild flowers, fruit, maybe a personalised topper or bunting to give a beautiful informal feel.

I’ve often made a selection of classic cake desserts to go with this style for a fun high tea wedding, Mad Hatter tea party, or classic afternoon tea setting.

Semi-Naked, which is a naked cake with a thin layer of buttercream covering the outside.

The final look depends on how much or how little covering you go for and can look really beautiful with coloured buttercream, or as a fresh off white skim; maybe with different coloured sponges, such as chocolate, caramel and vanilla, showing through.

A semi-naked gives a slightly more refined finish to the rustic naked wedding cake and therefore suits just about any setting, from village hall to stately home. Decoration can be informal romantic flowers, to a zingy arrangement of citrus fruits, seasonal themes, to the tropics and beyond. Including metallic leaf!

Buttercream Finish, this is where the cake has a full covering of buttercream.

Choose either a smooth sharp edged finish, a textured or ribbed effect in a soft off white buttercream, to pastel shades, an ombre effect, through to deep rich colours; this is a wonderfully creative finish and can be an integral part of the overall design.

Some examples of styles are modern oil paint effect, piped, textured detailing, relief or embossing and metallic's. Such detail means you doesn’t necessarily need any additional decoration especially if you choose a dramatic paint effect but will also look stunning with fresh or sugar crafted flowers and foliage as well as 3D sugar work and chocolate.

Fondant or as we call it, sugarpaste, finish.

To some extent this is the most versatile cake finish. Underneath the thin layer of fondant there is a buttercream finished tiered cake.

The covering of fondant gives you a crisp porcelain finish which is smoother than the buttercream and can hold as much embellishment, decoration, 3D modelling and texture as you could possibly want. The scope for creativity and design is endless, from shaped cake tiers, rich dark colours, sculptural forms and arrangements of flowers and foliage, to marbling, metallic, ruffles and paint effects.

This really is such an amazing cake finish for dramatic, creative designs for any venue and style of wedding.

One observation I’ve made is that often, couples don’t want to consider fondant as an option because they just don’t like to eat it!!

It’s always worth noting that the fondant is just a thin covering, when the cake is cut into portions very few pieces will have any fondant on, which leaves the outside portions to be snapped up by those of us who love fondant. So don’t let this stop you from choosing this finish if you want drama in your design.

So how do you choose the right style of wedding cake for you?

It all comes down to personal choice and the look and feel of your wedding. All of the styles will look just as stunning in any setting or venue and can be decorated to suit.

But some finishes are just made for certain wedding styles and venues. So if you are thinking of have an informal rustic wedding a naked or semi-naked wedding cake is a perfect choice. For a more formal setting, a modern feel or textured finish, a buttercream cake is ideal.

And finally, if you wanted a cake design that can give you soft and romantic, modern and striking, deep dark shades and effects, or heavy intricate designs and decoration then a fondant finish cake is the perfect option for you.

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