C is for Cake

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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C is for Cake, by Sharon. 

Mmmmmmmmm, cake.

What’s not to love?  Deliciousness, prettiness and love all in a bite.

So how does the humble wedding cake get pushed to the bottom of the W day planning lists.*  Very few brides think cake first of all, in fact all too often the opposite is true, all thoughts of cake banished in pursuit of losing weight for the wedding.  Everyone wants to see the dress, or the venue, the groom – even Wills and Kate’s 8 tiered cake didn’t get a look in, between the dress, the vintage car and the sexy bridesmaid. 

But when you think about it, cake is a wedding hero, a real wedding multi-tasker.  It’s the wedding cake for a start, obvs, but it can be so much more than that.  On a tight w-day budget it can be dessert or better still, skip the big meal all together and have a scrumptious afternoon tea, little triangle sandwiches, scones and jam, and a delicious selection of cakes.  Or, cut your cake early on in the celebrations and serve cake and champagne rather than canapes.

Pretty cakes can cost a fortune, and if a delicate hand painted creation is your thing, go for it.  However, there are cheaper alternatives.  Amongst guests / friends / family there will be a master baker, there’s one lurking in every wedding, and chances are, they would to do love it, or if there are a few people that want to get involved in your wedding ask them to each bake their favourite cake and voila,  a cake buffet.  If I hadn’t already had W-day then it would be a cake buffet for me all the way, a table groaning under the weight of cake sounds immense.

How about making it yourself – or your husband to be for that matter a la Tom of Esme and Tom fame.  Or make it together – one of the cutest cakes I have ever seen at a wedding was made by the bride and groom, it wasn’t the prettiest or most perfect cake, but it was the best cake ever as it was made by the two of them.  Fruit cakes can be made way in advance so you don’t have to worry about fitting it in at the last minute and its lovely creating something together for your wedding.

Your cake can be part of your venue decorations, give a room a focal point and be a brilliant photo opp.  Your cake is also a potential opportunity to reflect your personalities or you as a couple (or your theme (not that you have to have a theme, I despaired every time I was asked that when planning our wedding and had to resist the urge each time to respond with a very sarcastic, yes, I have theme, our marriage!) From quirky cake toppers, delicate sugar flowers, little figures made out of lego, banners and bunting, the possibilities are endless and don’t have to cost a fortune.  My cake was quite a traditional affair as my Mum made it, the design I chose had pretty vintage looking brooches on ribbon in between 2 of the tiers.  All the brooches I found were beautiful but mega expensive, but good old John Lewis came up trumps – 2 pretty hair slides from their wedding collection, slide part removed, looked brilliant on the cake and were a bargain, far cheaper than the brooches I had been lusting after online.

Fancy a tower of cupcakes, macaroons or cake pops?  Worry its been done too many times before?  How many times have wedding cakes been done? Fear not, your guests will love whatever you choose, particularly if time and thought has gone into it.  Not a lover of cake?  Although this is an alien concept to me, and to quite a few other AOW readers if recent posts are anything to go by, how about tiers of cheese, a dessert station, a tower of Krispy Kremes or a croquembouche – a slim pyramid of profiteroles held together by spun sugar.

Photograph by the inimitable Lucy Stendall

What other item in the wedding arsenal does all this, and in cake from? Yum.

Wedding cake, just by being cake, is always a winner.  How many times in your life will there be an opportunity for not just cake, but acres of it, layer upon layer, tier stacked on tier, a tableful.  However, you decide to do it, give your cake the attention it deserves.

*so pleased ‘C’ is before ‘D’ as for once the cake gets to come before the dress!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
34 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cake!

    We’re cake buffeting. I’m already excited about it.

  2. Caroline
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I soooooooooo wanted a croquembouche after watching a particularly scrumptious episode of the Great British Bake Off.
    I don’t know why we’re not having one. Is it too late to change my mind?? (wedding in 10 days I’m guessing so!!!!)

    p.s for anyone interested we’re going for cupcakes. All 85 of the delightful little things. I’m reserving 5 just for me. (and my husband of course, musn’t forget, day is about him also)
    *wonders off day dreaming of cake and icing and sugar and………..*

    • Lara Blue
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Caroline- we’re getting married on the same day :) I don’t know why finding a ‘date twin’ always excites me so much, but it does! We are even…drumroll…having cupcakes too :) A (very wonderful) friend is making 110 as well as a mini cake to cut and handmade icing penguins as cake toppers (we may or may not be getting married in the zoo). x

      • Sharon
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Have a fabulous wedding day Lara, loving the sound of those penguins x

      • Sharon
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Have an amazing day Lara, and loving the sound of those penguins, can’t wait to see a photo x

        • Sharon
          Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Sorry for the duplicate comments – phone trouble!

      • Caroline
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        @Lara Yay a wedding day twin! We were also looking for penguin cake toppers (we are not however getting married in a zoo!) but didn’t want edible ones and the real ones were far to exxxy. So we’ve gone for little lego bride and groom because we thought they were cute.
        Have a lovely day, fingers crossed for no rain…!

        • Katielase
          Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          Hope you both have the most wonderful wedding days!! Cannot wait to see the Any Other Photos… :-D

          K x

        • Lara Blue
          Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          @Caroline- ha ha, can’t believe that. Our ones are based on a penguin salt&pepper set that we own (I don’t know if you’ve seen the black&white people hugging set, but it’s like that except with penguins). If you have twitter, feel free to tweet at me (MissLaraBlue), if you feel anything like I do right now, you probably need someone to fret about the last week with (I’m worried about irrevocably annoying friends and family).
          @Sharon and Katie- thank you, hopefully the challenge of choosing one pic will be easy after writing a dissertation & planning a wedding in 7 months!

  3. Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Also Sharon, one of my engaged friends recently started wedding planning by setting up a pinterest board. All that’s on it so far is cake!

  4. Sharon
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Amy, I’m so pleased you’re cake buffeting, and love your friends’ focus on cake, its the way forward! x

    Caroline, make sure you do get a cupcake, or 2, I was so looking forward to trying the cake, completely missed it on the day, and felt rather fragile (re hungover) the next day so only had the tiniest bit. Hope you have the most amazing day and this lovely sunshine stays for you x

    • Caroline
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      @Sharon I pity the fool who tries to stand in the way of me having a cupcake or 5, dribble dribble.

  5. Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    We had a cake buffet! A unicorn dessert buffet actually… Never have too much. Our actual wedding cake was insane, I can’t believe I contemplated not having one. One of my favourite bits about the wedding in the end!


    • Lara Blue
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      I’m intrigued- a unicorn dessert buffet? I presume it was themed somehow rather than mythical ;p

  6. Frances
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I love baking and would love to make our cake but if all goes well workwise I just cannot guarantee that I will have as much time as I would want to spend practicing and perfecting it, hence we’ve gone for someone to make it for us – and not as expensive as we feared it might be.

    Far and away the best part of cake so far is tasting cakes from various suppliers (apart from the one who said she would send it through the post – erm…) – as my other half likes to tell people, they don’t even ask you to prove you’re even having a wedding. Cake win.

  7. Posted September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh wedding cake! We actually ended up with 2 cakes as I wanted a traditional English wedding cake and my (French) husband wanted a traditional French croquembouche so my brother’s girlfriend made mine and our caterer made his. We have some fantastic photos of us cutting both of them and drinking champagne, but neither he or I got a taste of either in the end, too much socialising with guests and so we missed our chance! Engaged ladies, if I had one piece of advice to give you, it is to make sure you get some cake on the big day!

    • Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Two wedding cakes sounds like the best ever compromise!!

  8. Mahj
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    We didn’t want a cake. We werent bothered in the slightest. Then after some pressure from my mother in law to be (who also kindly paid for it) we had a terribly pretty one which we only each had half a slice of.

    Tbh I could have quite happily lived without it and had cheese. Oh god did I want cheese. But people looked at me like I was stupid when I suggested it. Clearly they didnt know how much I loved the cheese!


    • Sharon
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Mahj, one of the reasons I love Chrismas so much is the cheese, everywhere you go there are cheese boards – we had a cheese course as well as wedding cake!

  9. Zan
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Ooooh cake! We’re currently thinking of either a cake of cheese (cheeeeeeeese *said Homer Simpson style*) or cupcakes. I’m personally thinking both – not just through greediness! But as we’re having a late ceremony there’ll be no evening buffet (as the meal will be dinner), so people could fill up on cheese & cake to provide energy for dancing ;)

    • Frances
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      We’re considering having both cheese and cake… we’re not going on honeymoon straight away so it wouldn’t go to waste!

      • Zan
        Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Same here! Will have the week after the wedding off, but honeymoon later in the year. I could totally get on board with a week of cake and cheese eating post-wedding day :D

        • Frances
          Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Think that would be my ideal week! :-)

          • Sharon
            Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Mine too – when is the cheese and cake week happening, can we all come along? x

    • Lexie
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Totally what we did, who needs food other than cake and cheese anyway?!

  10. Sarah
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    We had cheese! And it even looked pretty, with sprigs of rosemary herbs and flowers, as well as a cute rustic cake topper…(including a replica of our cat.) Each to their own!
    Great post, made me really want a nice piece of wedding cake, right now!

  11. Katielase
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    This is making me want cake SO BADLY. I cannot be the only one?

    I decided when we got engaged that wedding cakes are very expensive for what they are, and I could totally make my own that would taste just as good (although possibly not look as professional). In the end, my Mum actually made it. We had a fruit layer, a madeira cake layer (AMAZING) and a chocolate tier (reputedly very good but I didn’t get any because I was elsewhere when the cake came out and apparently the chocolate layer lasted approximately 3 minutes before it was entirely devoured).

    My Mum, sister and cousin also decorated it. And because I am still WAY over-excited about how incredibly beautiful it turned out, and how impressively talented my family are, here is a link to a gratuitous picture of it http://pinterest.com/pin/164170348887611155/

    K x

    • Sharon
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Your cake was an absolute beaut, well done to your clever family x

    • Peridot
      Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I want cake too now! As if Tuesday’s aren’t hard enough what with drooling over the Great British Bake Off.

      PS No-one would know your cake wasn’t done by a professional – it’s amazing!

      PPS Too many exclamation marks…..I have sugar frenzy by proxy…

    • Becca
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Well done your Mum. I had fancy scmancy ideas of doing it myself. Then we found THE most tremendous person who was a friend of a friend who suggested a large cake. She said ‘it’ll be £150 Love’. I gulped and said ‘per TIER’ and she said ‘No that’s the whole thing LOVE’. The cake is HuGe (think Kate) and its the bargain of our wedding.

      Love cake. Become a bit obsessed with the layer flavours. Good idea on lots of chocolate.

    • Lara Blue
      Posted September 5, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Your cake was stunning :) well done to your family, if their day jobs ever don’t work out…..
      Also, I’m going to add ‘cake decoration’ to the slowly growing list of reasons to like bunting :)

  12. Katy W
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Ohhh cake! We had a cake buffet too – friends and family all made and brought cakes, scones etc and we essentially had a room full of cake.

    The proper wedding cake was on there too and I *think* I might have had some – although it was one of the plain M&S ones, I was far more excited about the prospect of a room full of cake than the wedding cake itself. They are pretty good value and I don’t think you could really tell that it wasn’t one of the mega expensive ones. Plus it meant I had more room for all the carrot cake, honey drizzle cake, chocolate cake etc brought by loved ones. We were home for a day after the wedding before setting off on honeymoon, and ate quite a lot of leftover cake instead of proper food. Ace.

    Having a real wedding cake to cut was good though, it was nice to have a bit of a focal point for the evening guests too as we cut it after they had arrived. (The room full of cake was declared open after they got there too). Oh and Sharon, my bouquet was pretty much the same as yours – lovely choice!

    K x

  13. Peridot
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Ohhhh, cake. I always feel short-changed if there’s no cake. Even if it’s a fruit cake (which I don’t like) I can delicately peel off the icing (no marzipan) and eat that. When my brother made his unfortunate marriage to the chav, they had cheese because she doesn’t like anything sweet (my brother loves cake and I made him a night-before-wedding cake). I love cheese too but why the either/or? Anyway, she cut up her cheese and gave it to her sisters immediately so we didn’t get to have any cheese either! Let’s hope his next wife is a bit sweeter…. (!)

    We’re having both cheese and cake and I am issuing our caterers with strict instructions to squirrel us a piece of each flavour of cake away. That would be chocolate with vanilla scented mascarpone and raspberries, sticky toffee pudding and Bailey’s and white chocolate (sounds ghastly but is sublime). Oh and fruit cake for elderly rellies and fiance who inexplicably loves it.

    We’re having a week’s minimoon hiking in Northumberland so will be taking cake and leftover cheese tower (assuming there is any – my friend keeps warning me that he can eat kilos of cheese just by himself!) with us to keep our strength up.

  14. Posted September 6, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    We had a bunch of different cakes, made by us and friends and family, all of which were polished off before I managed to get either a bite or a photo! I’d have loved to mix some cheese in there too – as I’m a real cheese fiend, and I’m always jealous of couples with tiered cheese cakes!

    Great post, even beyond the ‘all posts about cake are great posts’ standard!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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