Baker? Cake Hobbyist? Cake Artist? Vicki of Signature Cakes Helps Us Understand the Differences
Monday, October 8, 2012
We asked Vicki of Signature Cakes by Vicki to explain to us the importance of a cake artist and what it really means to be such - from experience level to creditable standing. Vicki truly explains the importance of finding a professional in all aspects of your wedding, including your cake. Today, you may think you want to cut corners with your cake... But will you think that on the day of your wedding? What about after? With Vicki’s help, we will try to guide you in having no regrets after your wedding. We want to guide you in researching vendors that will help your wedding run smoothly and efficiently. Right now, we’re focusing on cake!
It’s often said, “The wedding cake is to the reception what the wedding gown is to the wedding ceremony.”
What would you say is the definition of a Cake Professional? Cake Artist? Baker?
Cake professionals, bakers, and cake artists are not necessarily the same thing. A “Cake Professional” is someone who has years of experience, a good reputation with reviews to back it up, and works in a professional environment. And from them you may receive a lovely, well-decorated cake. However, they may be more concerned with producing simple cakes and may not be up to date on the current trends, couture styles, and innovative techniques.
A “Baker” is someone who understands that the cake is food first and foremost! Wedding cake should be the dessert of a lifetime, but too many times it tastes no different than a grocery store birthday cake. True Bakers pride themselves on the quality of the ingredients and the deliciousness of their confections.
A “Cake Artist” fulfills the first two parts, but also must have the ability to design and produce edible works of art. They should be adept at working with fondant, gumpaste, and modeling chocolate. They should have the ability to make sugar flowers, form animals and all types of embellishments. They must be talented at fondant draping and color mixing. A Cake Artist will pull a vision from their brides and grooms and be able to communicate the design on paper. Cake Artists have years of experience producing edible works of art. It is paramount that the bride and groom have someone build their cake that is qualified in all three categories. The cake should melt in your mouth and delight your guests. It should be a pleasure to all the five senses.
The cake above is "Under the Sea" themed with sugarpaste coral and seashells, and sculpted to appear like a seascape - a true example of a cake by an artist.
How is that different from a hobbyist, perhaps a talented hobbyist at that?
I often have people (brides, mothers of the bride, aunts, and friends of the bride) come up to me at the bridal shows and ask me questions about how to make certain aspects of a complicated wedding cake. They often say that it is a hobby but that they want to make their “daughter’s” wedding cake. I have found that in this situation it is often about the budget. Depending on the situation, I usually discourage it because a wedding cake is just so important. Ask yourself how much you would have paid if your cake is ruined or isn’t delivered?
Now the “talented hobbyist” is usually someone who has taken classes and has a some experience. It’s certainly possible that they could do a good job on your wedding cake. But, designing, baking, building, and executing a wedding cake is not only cuisine and art, it is engineering. The bride needs to ask herself if she wants to take a risk on the day of her wedding. It may be that the risk is worth it to her, but she must understand that she is taking a chance that it may not be the cake that she wanted or envisioned. Even worse, she might not receive her cake at all.
From modern to seasonal; Vicki gave the fall cake as a great example of something different for upcoming weddings.
"It has fondant bark all around it to match the tree stump plateau that the bride and groom had made. They called several "cake artists" that all said it wasn't possible to make the bark... Tada!"
Why should brides always turn to the professional, just as in any other wedding vendor?
When a bride, groom, and often a mom, start planning the wedding, it is so much fun! The discussions are usually about color, pretty dresses, flowers, and decorating. There’s a wish book with pictures of everything. It’s new, exciting, and fresh! But, as time passes in the planning process, it tends to get far more complicated. Decisions can become daunting and difficult to make. Every little thing costs money and not every little thing is as important as the main ingredients to a wonderful reception. Tension can build and cause disagreements and the closer you get to wedding day, the more pressure there is. I cannot tell you how many brides I have heard say, “I just can’t wait to get it over with. I don’t care about anything anymore.” Now that is sad – planning your wedding should be a joy of a lifetime.
So how can you avoid the pressure and tension? First, do a great deal of research by searching online and attending at least one large bridal show. That will allow you to come up with a realistic budget based on the costs for your wedding in the area where you live.
Assembling a team of professionals is the best way I know to enjoy not only your wedding day, but to enjoy the process of planning as well. In fact, hiring reliable, trustworthy, and experienced professionals can make the whole week of the wedding fantastic. As a bride, wouldn’t you rather enjoy spending quality time with your groom, family and out of town guests rather than running around town seeing to details and making phone calls to check on your “vendors?” Therefore, start hiring the most important vendors at the beginning of the process. By most important I mean, ceremony location, reception location, caterer, cake professional, photographer, musicians/DJ, florist, and wedding planner.
With all the major categories handled, now you can spend the rest of your budget on all the less significant details and all the things you’d like to have, but didn’t know how much you could afford. Now you can have fun and know that all those professionals will do their job. Remember: choose wisely, there are no “do-overs” on wedding day.