When should I book my cake?
The answer is dependent upon how organized other customers are for your date. Typically the preliminary details and booking should be done at least three to six months in advance or more. As soon as you have the basic preliminary details finalized (approx. how many people, and when/where your event is going to be) you can book your cake. Many bakers book a limited number of events per weekend, dates will fill on a "first come first served" so the answer is it depends on how organized others are for the date in question.
When will you be accepting orders again?
Due to an issue with the licensed kitchen site we had been using, we are in the process of building a new facility focused exclusively on cakes and specialty confections thus are not taking orders allowing time for the building and licensing process of the new facility to take place.
What do you consider a "last minute" booking?
Birthdays may seem to sneek up on us all, but we do request that cakes for smaller events (100 or less) still be booked as early as possible. We recommend at least 4-weeks notice because of the time required for final designs and payments along with baking and decorating time. Though we do take cake orders on shorter notice, we do charge an extra for cakes with less than 14 days notice. Funeral cakes are the obvious exception.
How many hours work go into the typical cake?
Cakes are more than flour, sugar and eggs. Time is primarily what you are paying for with a custom designed cake. A "simple", no frills birthday cake for 30 usually gets about 12 hours from start of baking to the washing of the last dish minimum. Wedding cakes typically get at least 40 hours of work independent from the cost of ingredeints. This of course does not include the design time that goes into making a custom cake truly custom.
Why is Licensure Important?
In accordance with Minnesota state laws, and most states in the country for that matter, your cake must originate from a licensed facility if it is to be taken in to any establishment other than your personal property, church, or publicly owned location. By making sure your baker is licensed, it ensures that the food has been produced in an environment inspected to meet food safety and handling guidelines as detailed in Minnesota Rules Chapter 4626. You need to check with your reception site and caterer to be sure that if Great Aunt Metilda who has made every cake in the family for 60 years is able to do yours as well.
What other events will you do cakes for?
We do cakes for all of life's events from Birthdays, Quinceanera, School Events, Support our Troops events, Political events, Corporate parties, Golf Tournaments, Weddings, etc. From Baby Showers to "Celebrations of Life" (funerals), we can create cakes and desserts for almost any event.
What is a “Groom’s Cake”?
A Groom’s cake is more of a Southern tradition that is moving its way all over because of publication in bridal magazines, internet sites, and the like. In old tradition, the groom’s cake was cut and given to the single women to take home and put the slice under their pillow in the hopes of attracting their groom. Thankfully, that part of the tradition seems to have resolved itself! Currently, the Bride’s Cake is more of the formal wedding cake, the Groom’s Cake is more of an “anything goes” design. We can take your Groom's likes, hobbies, job, etc. and create a cake fitting to his interests. The most popular Groom's Cake ever featured, and where many got their first introduction to the notion of a groom's cake, was the Armadillo cake from the movie "Steel Magnolias".
What is a cake tasting? Isn’t all cake the same?
All cakes are not created equal. One person’s idea of the ideal wedding cake may be a large chocolate chip cookie, another person’s ideal cake uses Grandma's recipe, and the list goes on. The tasting allows you to meet with the baker, determine what type of dessert, cake, frosting, and design your interested in. The tasting is just a sample of one or two varieties of cake and frosting, and a chance to discuss a wide variety of items along with quoting a particular design or simply designing the cake itself.
I found my ideal cake in a copy of a bridal magazine. Can you do it?
Bring the picture along with you to your tasting. Bakers worth their salt will tell you if a cake design is one they can confidently recreate as well as if they are not confident with a particular design. If a baker isn't confident with a design or technique, LISTEN to them and if your heart is set on the design, ask the baker for recommendations! Bakers are a unique group in that they want you to be happy with your cake. The only way to ensure your expectations are met is that the baker hasn't overpromised and underdelivered. Bakers also talk to other bakers, so if a design isn't something they can confidently create, they know another baker who can.
Will you make or rent "Fake" or "Dummy" cakes?
Yes. If you rent a "Dummy" cake that we currently have available, you can purchase kitchen cakes for the servings to your guests from a bakery. However, if you would like a fake cake specifically designed around a certain theme or cake design, it will be at the cost of materials and $10.50/hr decorating time. Be aware that the decorating time is where the majority of the cost is in designing a cake so this option may be more expensive than going with real cake.
When is the final date to make changes to the cake/design?
Each baker varies, but typically you have until 14 days prior to the wedding to make changes to the cake design and 14 days prior for flavors. Some design/flavor changes may require additional cost which would be due at that time. The final count is also due at that time so it works to your advantage.
What is a “Kitchen Cake”?
A Kitchen Cake is basically a wedding cake that has the same number of layers and flavorings as the main wedding cake does, however it is kept in the kitchen where the caterer is able to cut it up while your guests are eating their dinner. This cake is not decorated to the same extent that the main wedding cake is, but is the exact same cake layers and flavors. Because of the reduced decorating time, this saves you a little money on your cake, without letting your guests in on that secret of course!
We're on a tight budget for our wedding, can you work with us?
Yes! Bakers have options available for most budgets. The first question you ask when contacting a baker is NOT "How much is ____?", ask instead "I have a budget of $(at least 4-6/per person) to feed ___ people, what options do you have available?" Don't be afraid to state what your budget is! Bakers hate having their time wasted designing a $3000 design when your budget is not even remotely close to that. Bakers also are willing to work within your realistic budget if you give them a figure to work with. By realistic budget, that is somewhere in the $3.50/slice to $7/slice range by the time all add-ins are calculated such as delivery.
Why is slice size important?
It comes down to math. If a baker's per slice rate is $3/slice, a slice size that is 1/2"x2"x3" versus another baker who uses wedding slices of 1"x2"x4", versus 1"x3"x5", you're getting a vastly different portion size for the same money. This is where big box "bargain" stores catch you as a consumer off-guard! You need to be sure that you're comparing apples to apples instead of apples to pineapples.
What is your style?
I specialize in personalized designs. My theory is each cake shouldn't be a "cookie cutter" design selected out of a 3-ring binder, it should be designed around your unique event to make YOU look good. The best designs, and most shown on this website, are ones that I'm given basic details to "run with". At Couture Cake we also think that the cake and frosting should taste great, not just look good. I specialize in working with fondant, but also taking the simplest of details and turning them into something on a grand scale.
Fondant: Yay or Nay?
Fondant is becoming more and more popular in the U.S. being shown on most cakes in bridal magazines. There are brands of fondant that are absolutely delicious and there are brands that are among the nastiest products ever mass-marketed. There also is homemade fondant. Just like buttercream, there are many variations upon the recipe, so be sure if you are considering the use of fondant that you also sample your baker's fondant to know which they are using. Fondant is meant to be eaten. There will be a layer of buttercream between the cake and the fondant because the fondant needs something to stick to in order to adhere to the cake. Some bakers like working with fondant, others not so much.
Does Faux Fondant really LOOK like real Fondant?
What about Cupcake towers?
As a guest, plan for at least two cupcakes per guest! They're a smaller portion size and they make good snacking later on if there are any leftovers.
How much does a cake cost?
Depends on the design and size 100% of the time! Couture Cake is more expensive than a big box retailer, yet less expensive than a NYC designer. Remember that the cake is being made fresh for your order and designed around you, not a 3-ring binder. For the Twin Cities area, realistically figure between $4/slice to $8/slice starting depending on the complexity of the design.
We don’t like cake, but we want one for tradition’s sake…
You have many options for dessert at your wedding, not just cake. More and more couples are going for desserts instead of just the traditional cake. Dessert buffets, ice cream sundae's, cream puffs, brownies, fudge, pies, cookies, and treats oh my! If you want a cake for tradition's sake, just simply do up a small centerpiece photo cake to go along with whichever dessert you select. Of course, you can work with your baker to design a traditional cake fitting of your event if that is what you want.
Our Caterer told us to only order enough cake to feed 75% of our expected guests, what should we do?
Did your caterer also tell you to order only enough plates of food for 75% of your expected guests? NOT likely! Order enough cake to feed all of your guests. We also are willing to make small cakes for those with special dietary needs. The LAST thing any guest wants to hear is that the bride and groom didn't order enough cake so they're going to have to do without.
How do we cut this thing?
There are many ways to cut a cake. I take the simple approach rather than what many cutting guides say. I also tend to have a lot larger portion size because of this. I recommend my cakes be cut on a straight line or in a pie shape in cases of 8" round or smaller tiers. Whenever possible, I include a cutting guide for your cutter. Know that even with this some cutters are set in their ways and will only do it a certain way. The only reason you will have any cake left over is if you ordered it, fewer guests showed up, or your cutter didn’t follow directions (this has happened more than once!).. Just be sure to ask your cutter to plate any additional pieces of cake for your guests to have later in the evening as a snack! If requested, we also will provide some basic "take home" boxes for guests to take a slice with them if there are any leftovers.
What if it looks to pretty to cut?
This question happens more frequently than you would believe for bakers. If it looks that good, imagine how it’s going to taste! Your cake is made to be eaten and enjoyed. The fresher your cake is, the better it is going to taste.
Can you come out to cut the cake?
Yes! Because we know how much stress it gives to your wedding guests to be asked to cut the cake (along with how much of a mess that job makes!), we do offer the option on a "first come" basis to cut the cake for you for a fee. We also can supply dessert plates, disposable forks, and napkins for a materials charge. Many brides find that this is a cheaper option than having their caterer do this job. Some caterers will not do cake cuttings even for an additional fee. Be aware that we can only serve your cake buffet style. By going this route, you may save yourself from being charged a rental on equipment because I will be able to inventory and take all items with me right away after the cutting.
Many brides enjoy the look of fresh flowers on their cakes. It is incredibly important that NO flower or greenery come in direct contact with your cake, especially organic flowers. There are also varieties of plants and flowers that are poisonous to humans (such as Calla). Be sure to discuss your options with your florist and that your florist will wrap the stems with floral tape completely, and as an added precaution, plastic wrap around the flower bases. The reason is because some flowers have been treated with pesticide and that E.coli bacteria can be harbored in the plant (remember the Spinach outbreak) and cannot be washed off. It is impossible when looking at a bloom to know if either condition has taken place, so better to be over-cautious than risk it.
Can you use real ribbon on the cake?
Because of Minnesota State Law, no baker in Minnesota is permitted to put real ribbon in contact with cake to be eaten because of multiple factors. You do have the options of using fondant ribbon, fruit rolls, candy, or pulled sugar. You also can use ribbon around the board at the base of the cake as long as it is not coming in contact with cake to be eaten.
What is your delivery area and cost?
The furthest I have ever delivered a wedding cake is to East Central Wisconsin though I am willing to travel farther given the right circumstances. Where your cake is to be delivered will determine the cost of delivery. Our theory is "If a cake can travel two miles, it can travel for hundreds -- as long as you drive like a trucker with a 52' trailer". We figure our delivery based on average milage and travel time.
Can we just pick up the cake instead of having it delivered?
Yes. However, we highly recommend assigning a mature adult for this task. Once the cake leaves our kitchen, we are not responsible for what happens to it. We've heard horror stories about teenage cousins picking up cakes and frantic brides needing to have cakes repaired or worse. We also recommend the person picking up the cake bring a jacket for themselves along as we recommend the car's temperature be set as cool as possible. We've delivered cakes in the middle of a heat wave and worn fleece because of the car's temperature being so cold.
When should we serve the cake?
The best thing to do logistically is to walk into the reception hall, do your cake photo ceremony first, then proceed to the head table for dinner. This way you get the cake cutting out of the way and the catering staff can get to work cutting the cake so that it will be ready to serve by the time the first table finishes their meal so people aren't left waiting. The other reason to serve the cake right away is that 1/2 of the guests at your wedding are going to leave the second the meal is over because of one reason or the next. After working for years at a reception hall, you could literally set your watch to this! The next 1/4 leave between the first dance and the bouquet/garter toss. The rest will usually stick it out to within an hour of the end of the evening. If there are extra slices, ask your caterer/cutter to box them up so guests may take a slice home with them at the end of the evening. No one will complain about taking a slice home, they will complain if they don't get a slice to begin with!!
What is the difference between a "Sheet Cake" and a "Kitchen Cake"?
Semantics... For most bakers, a sheet cake is an unfilled cake with only frosting on a single layer of cake with no fillings. A Kitchen cake is the same as the main wedding cake for the number of fillings and layers of cake, only it is not decorated thus saving some money on the overall cost of the cake. It really comes down to if you were seated across the table from someone who got a properly portioned slice of filled cake and you were given a half-sized slice of unfilled sheet cake, which emotion would you feel first, let down, cheaped out on, or simply hungry for your slice of cake? By using a kitchen cake you eliminate the appearance of playing favorites in the serving process.