How to Choose A Wedding Cake Supplier

For many couples the cutting of the wedding cake is still one of the highlights of the wedding reception. It’s not only something which the guests await; it’s also likely to be one of the most photographed parts of the day. To make sure everything goes as planned it is important to choose a cake decorator who can deliver exactly what you want and on whom you can rely. With so many cake decorators out there it is not always easy to sort out the good from the bad so to help we’ve compiled a list of things you need to consider before committing to a particular supplier. Whilst there is no guarantee of a perfect day, answering a few simple questions will reduce the risk of things going wrong.

 

Do they have the skills to develop the cake I want?

Will they still be in business on my wedding day?

What about food hygiene?

Will they deliver as promised?

 

Do they have the skills to deliver the cake I want?

When you meet a supplier you will often be shown dozens of pictures of the most fantastic cakes, but how do you know if they will be able to recreate them? Although it’s not always easy to tell how skilled a person is, there are a few things you can look for that will give you some indication.

  • Do they know what they’re talking about? Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about how they will make and decorate your cake. An experienced cake decorator will be able to confidently answer anything you throw at them.
  • Is it my cake or theirs? Lookout for cake decorators who try and steer you away from a particular design idea. If they can’t give a good reason not to do something, the chances are they have limited skills and are trying to sell you something they can make rather than the cake you want.
  • Do they teach? Cake decorators who teach are often more skilled than those who don’t because in order to teach you have to be at a much higher level in terms of skills. Ask to see examples of the coursework and look for a range of skills being taught. Those who only teach one or two techniques may be masters at it, but will probably not be able to produce the cake you want.
  • What about training? The cake decorating industry doesn’t stand still and new products and techniques are appearing all the time. No matter how good a cake decorator is they should always be looking to learn. Ask your cake decorator what training courses they have been on and what they do to make sure they keep up to date with the latest industry thinking.
  • Can I see examples? A good cake decorator will always be able to show you examples of their work. If they are currently working on a cake for someone ask if you can have a sneak peek. If possible verify that they have actually produced the cakes being shown. With photographs this isn’t always easy however the more you look at the easier it will be to spot someone else’s work.

Finally Beware! We know of some cake decorators who claim to be more skilled than they actually are. When a cake decorator tells you they have xx years’ experience be sure to question them on how and where it was gained. Making cakes for friends and family is a lot different to being a professional full time cake decorator.

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Will they still be in business on my wedding day?

Over the past few years there has been a proliferation of new cake businesses being set up however many people underestimate how much effort and commitment is required to succeed. Unfortunately this means that although a company may be trading today, many will have ceased trading or be winding down when it comes to your wedding day. In fact anecdotal evidence suggests up to 90% of new cake businesses fail within the first 18 months and as a consequence you may end up with a poor quality cake delivered by a cake decorator who is no longer bothered about their reputation, or even worse you could end up losing your deposit and having to take someone to court to get it back.

 

There is no guarantee that a cake maker will not go out of business however choosing a well-established company will reduce the risk. When talking to a potential supplier you should always try to verify how busy they are as this can provide some confidence that they will be around in a years’ time. Suppliers who offer to beat any quote by £xx may sound attractive however in our experience this is usually a sign that they are struggling for work.

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Food Hygiene

Every day people get ill from the food they eat (but thankfully not from Kerricraft Cakes). Micro-organisms found in food can cause food poisoning leading to a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Cake decorating is considered to be low risk when compared to other areas of the food industry. That said, some ingredients do present a higher risk and therefore need to be handled correctly. To make sure your special day doesn’t get remembered for the wrong reasons you need to consider the following.

  • Council Inspected? All cake decorators, including those working from home must be registered and inspected by the Local Authorities Environmental Health Department. Part of this process requires the Environmental Health Officer to visit the premises and carry out an assessment against a range of parameters. The business is then given a star rating which is published on the Local Authority website. For North Kesteven visit the Environmental Health Star Rating Database to see if your supplier is listed or alternatively ask to see their inspection letter.
  • Food Safety Training? All caterers should have an understanding of food hygiene. Although cake decorators are not required by law to have formal food safety training it will provide confidence that they understand the hazards. If they have one, ask to see their training certificate.
  • Can I see where my cakes are made and decorated? Ask to see where the cakes are baked and decorated. See for yourself if the place is clean and tidy as this will often indicate how careful someone is in other areas. Also check to see how much space is available. Decorating a multi-tiered wedding cake or 60+ cupcakes takes up a lot of room and ideally should be carried out in an area where it won’t come into contact with the higher risk ingredients.

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Will they deliver as promised?

So you’ve seen a gorgeous cake and set your heart on having one just like it, but how do you know the cake decorator you’ve chosen will be able to deliver as promised. After all it’s a lot easier to get a perfect finish on a display cake than on a moist sponge cake.

Probably the best way to tell you’ve made the right choice is through recommendations. If you know someone who has had a cake and they were happy then you should be OK. Testimonials are also another good way but beware of cake decorators who get friends or family to pose as customers and give glowing reviews! Finally ask if they have received any independent recognition of their work through awards and competitions.

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