Not sure how much a wedding cake costs? You’ve come to the right place! Most of the focus is on the cutting, but wedding cakes should look good too, and taste even better we’ve put together the kind of key info you need when budgeting for your cake.
The price of your wedding cake will depend on how much of a centrepiece of your wedding you want it to be. The main thing you should know is: The bigger and most decorated, the more expensive it will be. Handmade sugar roses take hours to make and if you have 150 guests to feed and want a cake fully decorated with delicate fondant flowers, you’re going to pay a higher price.
Your wedding cake isn’t just something delicious to eat on the day, but more and more it’s becoming part of your wedding aesthetic as well.
You want a cake that can bring your theme or colour scheme to life and tastes great while doing it!
When it comes to looking for your wedding cake it’s important to look at this separate to your decoration or styling budget and look at it as a standalone cost. Your cake can factor into dessert for your guests as well as a decorative centrepiece so it blurs the lines between catering and decoration. Which can make it hard to determine a budget.
So how much does a wedding cake cost? We’ve taken a look at what couples have done in the past to give you an idea of what’s appropriate to spend as well as what size you could consider for your big day.
Looking for the best wedding cake for your wedding? Look no further! Brighton Savoy has you covered.
How Much Does a Wedding Cake Cost?
The average cost of a wedding cake in the U.S. is around $500, though the price of a wedding cake will depend on the cake’s size, shape, and decorative elements. Most couples spend somewhere in the $300 – $700 range for their wedding cake, although in bigger cities, or for very large and elaborate cakes, cake prices closer to $1000 – $1200 are not uncommon.
How to Estimate Wedding Cake Prices
Wedding cakes are one of the prettiest, tastiest, and most beloved wedding traditions. Most couples choose to serve cake at their wedding, even if they also offer other dessert, simply because a wedding cake is a lovely addition to the reception: the cake itself serves as a decorative element in the room, most people love eating cake, and the act of cutting and eating your first bite of sweetness together as a married couple is a time-honored tradition. But when it comes to planning out your wedding budget, how much does a wedding cake actually cost?
One important thing to know when trying to budget for your wedding cake is how cakes are priced: Cake Bakers price wedding cakes by the slice, not by the entire cake. The average price of a slice of cake is around $4 for buttercream and $5 for fondant.
To point out the obvious, the more slices of cake you’ll need, the more expensive your total wedding cake costs will be. Luckily we have some tips (see below) for ways you can cut down on your wedding cake expenses, including serving your guests “half-servings,” i.e. budgeting for ½ slice of cake per person.
Estimating cake sizes is just a matter of figuring out how many slices you need, and working backwards from there. Here are the general measurements for the number of slices you’ll get from different cake sizes:
- 6” tier = 14 slices
- 8” tier = 26 slices
- 10” tier = 40 slices
- 12” tier = 56 slices
- 14” tier = 78 slices
- 16” tier = 100 slices
Factors That Affect Wedding Cake Prices
- Cake Size: The larger the cake, the more expensive it is. “Size” here refers to both the general dimensions of the cake and the number of tiers.
- Cake Shape: Round or square cakes are simpler to make and easier to bake in standard pans. Cakes in complex forms, like hexagons or unusual shapes, will require more labor or special equipment, and hence will cost more.
- Cake Details: Since wedding cakes are priced based largely on their labor, the more handmade details a cake has, the pricier it will be. This includes decorative elements like fondant flowers, geodes, and other embellishments, metallic foil, and intricate icing designs.
- Cake Frosting: There are two options when it comes to wedding cake frosting: buttercream or fondant. Buttercream is made from sugar and butter, costs less, and is considered tastier. Fondant is a sugar paste that costs more, but is more versatile when it comes to decorations. Fondant also won’t melt in warmer temperatures.
- Cake Ingredients: If you want a special flavor or unusual ingredient in your cake, like out-of-season fruit, a fancy liqueur, or exotic nuts or spices, these kinds of custom ingredients could come with an additional charge. (And if you think going with more traditional ingredients means sacrificing flavor, you’ve never had a truly excellent chocolate cake!)
What’s Included in Wedding Cake Prices?
Every wedding cake baker will offer slightly different packages and pricing for their cakes, so it’s a good idea to talk to several local bakers to get a sense of their offerings and compare prices. In general, most wedding cake bakers will include the following in the cost of a cake:
- A design consultation
- A cake tasting
- The cake itself
- Delivery and set up
These items may be included in the cost of your cake, or they may be extra line items you can add on to your wedding cake bill. Some bakers may not provide these at all, so be sure to check
- A cake stand or display
- Cake toppers
- Cutting utensils (a cake knife and server)
- An extra top tier, or small anniversary cake, to be eaten on your 1-year anniversary
How to Save Money on Your Wedding Cake
When it comes to your wedding dreams versus your wedding budget, compromises always have to be made to keep the cost of your wedding reasonable. Luckily there are some easy ways to save money on your wedding cake without sacrificing much in the way of style or presentation. Here are our best money-saving cake tips:
- Opt for buttercream frosting: Buttercream not only tastes better to most people than fondant, but it’s cheaper—sometimes up to a $1.00 less per slice. If you’re trimming dollars, buttercream is a win-win for both taste and price point.
- Serve “half-servings” instead of full slices: Since guests often only eat a few bites of their cake, opt to serve half-servings (a.k.a. smaller slices). Thus if you’re having 200 guests, you’ll only need to order a cake that serves 100. This is an especially great option if you’re serving an additional dessert alongside the wedding cake.
- Combine a display cake + sheet cake: Display a petite version of your dream cake, complete with metallic paint and fondant roses, for your guests to ooh and ahh over. This will be your cake for photographing and cutting. Then order sheet cakes in the same flavor to be cut and served from the kitchen, which will save you big bucks.
- Go for a less complex shape and design: Wedding cake prices are largely based on labor, so the harder a cake is to make, the more expensive it will be. Lower your costs by choosing a cake in a simple design, such as square or round, and minimizing the extravagant details that require a lot of time and technical skill.
- Simplify your flavors: Check with your local baker, but often basic flavors like vanilla and chocolate will cost less than complex flavors like carrot cake or espresso.
- DIY your wedding cake: While there are serious pros and cons to consider when choosing to DIY your wedding cake (or having a close friend or family member bake it for you), it can save you a lot of cash.
Brighton Savoy has the best list of wedding cakes suppliers to help you celebrate your dream wedding celebration.
How many tiers should my cake have?
The number of tiers your cake should have comes down to how many serves of cake you want as well as your wedding aesthetic.
Double barrelled cakes have become extremely popular and may appear as though there is only one tier due to the stacked cake effect. Tiered cakes on top of these double barrels are also very popular. With a double barrelled cake you have more cake involved and are therefore able to serve more couples, but bear in mind that a taller tier may cost you a bit extra.
To give you an idea of what you might want, 48% of all couples choose to have a 3-tiered wedding cake. 31% then opt for 2-tiers, 12% for 4-tiers, and just 9% of couples have a single tiered cake.
Wedding cakes can also be served with different size portions in mind. Consider whether you are serving your cake as dessert or as a side to coffee. Coffee cake portions are smaller so could leave your guests wanting more if you are serving these as dessert. But it could also be a really good way to make a smaller cake get around to more guests.
What is a ‘sheet’ cake?
If you need more cake but don’t want to ruin the aesthetic of your cake design you may opt for a sheet cake. A sheet cake is a single layered rectangular cake that your baker can create for you in the same flavour or flavours as your decorative cake.
This can be hidden away in the kitchen and cut up only when cake is served. It means that you can have more cake for your day while saving on the size and decorations of what you actually want on show.
This is a great option for weddings with a lot of guests and could be an option to help you save on your budget by having a smaller decorative cake. Chat with your cake supplier about what is more suitable for your wedding as well as your venue about what facilities they have for cake storage in the kitchen.
What flavours and trends are popular?
5% of couples have a fruit cake for their wedding despite it being the traditional flavour for wedding cakes in the past. 69% of couples are instead opting for a mud cake in a chocolate or vanilla flavour.
21% of couples opt for other flavours such as lemon or raspberry. 5% have a flourless or gluten-free cake. We’re seeing a rise in mixed flavoured cakes with combinations like raspberry and champagne definitely getting us in the mood for a cake tasting.
Naked cakes and rough icing are still very popular with couples stylistically. Rustic, vintage and bohemian themes will be well suited to these cake designs. White and mixed metallic cake designs that add that luxe factor come in on the other side of the wedding spectrum. We’re seeing more of these in traditional, elegant and modern weddings.
We’re also seeing couples who don’t like sweets go for a cheese cake for their wedding. We are 100% on board with this trend!
What to look for in a cake supplier
70% of couples will book a cake supplier for their wedding day. These couples are impressed when a baker can work with the stylist or decorator to coordinate the cake decorations with other areas of the wedding.
Couples in the past have also favoured having a variety of flavours to choose from as well as having different flavours for different tiers.
Check reviews for cake suppliers to look out for whether couples have had any issues in the past. Not providing a cake tasting before purchase is one flag to look out for. Having a different flavour or different decorations without consulting the couple are also things to look out for.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
Cutting your cake with your partner and all of your loved ones watching is a memorable part of your reception. With that in mind, there are some things to agree upon before enjoying your first slice.
When to bring out your cake
It’s likely everyone is ready for the cake before the reception even starts. If you decided on a full course meal, it’s common to bring out the wedding cake after you have finished your last course. If you and your partner decided on finger food and small appetizers, the cake is normally brought out shortly after you start your reception.
Either way, announce to your guests when the cake cutting is about to begin so everyone has time to grab a front-row seat to watch.
Avoid cutting into the top tier
You may feel like cutting right into the top where your cake topper is but it’s important to note that this is the least stable part of your cake. For your cake’s survival, cutting your first piece from the bottom tier may be your best choice. Then, if you and your partner want, freeze the top tier for your first-anniversary celebration.
Create your perfect photo opportunity
It can be easy to dive right into the delicious dessert you’ve been planning for months but take things slow. Not only can this prevent cake mishaps, but your photographer can also capture every moment you and your partner share.
Plan for the unexpected
Tiered cakes normally require a special set of utensils. Make sure you have a cake knife, easily accessible plates for you and your partner, two forks, napkins, and your drink of choice.
Ask your caterer or baker to bring a couple of extra cake cutting sets in case either of you forgets your favorite set at home.
Feed your partner first
Have one partner step slightly behind the other at an angle facing the crowd. Place the back partner’s hand towards the back of the knife and the front partner’s hand on the top to make the perfect cut. After slicing your shared piece, feed each other and toast with champagne or a decorative mason jar cocktail.
Cut a couple of extra slices for your in-laws to show your respect and celebrate the joining of your two families.
Remember cake smashing is optional
Cake smashing has been a known tradition since Ancient Rome to represent male dominance and endorse fertility. Even though it may be hard to resist smashing cake on each other’s faces, it can end in disaster.
For couples that want polished photos and their hands kept out of the cake, cake smashing may not be of interest. Either way, agree on what you’ll do with your partner before your wedding day.
Check out our extensive list of wedding cake suppliers at Brighton Savoy.
Place your cake in the spotlight
Before you start cutting, make sure your cake is in the spotlight for all of your guests to see. If you’re hiring a photographer to capture every moment you and your partner share while feeding each other, make sure your lighting is directed on your tiered masterpiece to snap every picture just perfectly.
Take it a step further and decorate with an eye-catching backdrop and intricate linen table cover for a simple touch to your set up.
Cutting your wedding cake symbolizes your first activity together as a married couple, so have fun with it! Create a beautiful backdrop or a decorative arch paired with a table cover for your picture-perfect cake cutting celebration.