At Once Upon A Pie I am all about simple, clean and cost effective wedding cakes. If you want an extravagant 10 tier cake with intricate piping work and edible flowers – whilst I am sure it will look amazing and wow all your guests – I am not the baker for you. However, if you are looking for something striking but more simplistic either because of preference or because of budget – then I can help you!

Sometimes, “simple” can be even more effective than “busy and intricate”. Sometimes, “simple” is more suited to a couple’s personality, or perhaps you are having a busy dessert buffet and the cake needs to be simplistic to balance it out. Or quite often, the cost of a wedding is overwhelming and you cannot bring yourself to spent $500-$1000 on a cake.

Simple does not mean boring. With Vintage, Rustic, Shabby Chic and Handmade wedding themes on the rise, a simple sweet two-tiered cake, or cake buffet, is more in keeping with the theme than an extravagant number.

Whatever the reason, there are some great ways to save money on your wedding cake, and not compromise on taste. Here are some ways to keep your costs down:

  1. Have a cake finished in buttercream as opposed to fondant. The cost should always be less for a cake that does not have fondant, as the baker does not have to purchase or make it, and time is saved by eliminating this process of covering the cake to perfection. Buttercream cakes can still be finished in different ways: vertical or horizontal lines, rustic swirls, ruffles, smooth, among others.
  2. Have a smaller two-tiered cake on display and a sheet cake out in the kitchen. This means there will still be enough cake for all your guests, but in not having to decorate and construct and finish a bigger tiered cake, it is quicker and cheaper to produce.
  3. Have your cake as dessert! Who needs dessert AND cake? Well, I would probably be pretty happy in that scenario, but most people will eat dessert and then be too full for cake, and much of it will go to waste. So eliminate your dessert from your menu and have slices of cake served instead.
  4. The more simplistic design, the cheaper the cost. A simple white cake finished with a ribbon trim and some fresh flowers will be both cost effective, striking and fit well with your theme, in particular your bouquet.
  5. Choose your flavours wisely. A chocolate or lemon cake will be cheaper than a red velvet cake, which has costly cream cheese frosting.
  6. If you have dessert as well as cake, you can have less servings than people, as you can safely assume some, perhaps many, won’t eat it.
  7. Negotiate your cake cutting fee with your venue. Most, if not all venues, will charge for this service, even if you have cupcakes, so check if you are being charged.
  8. Have a cake buffet. Rather than having a four tiered cake, which costs money to construct, transport and set up, have four separate cakes on single cake stands. They can be all different flavours, colours, designs, and add an element of fun, as an interactive cake experience for your guest!

Ultimately, the reason wedding cakes are so expensive is the hours of labour. Be smart, eliminate sugar flowers and edible lace designs and replace them with fresh flowers and real lace, and your labour costs are going to plummet.

Something you should never scrimp on though is flavour. Go with recommendations, or someone you have sampled before at other events, or request a sample if going with someone completely fresh. There is usually a charge for this of course, but is worth it so you know you are getting a tasty cake.