Tasting Tips: Sprinkle & Dash

TGIF! Today we are doing something a little out of our typical Friday routine and bringing you a darling little post from a local baker, she is offering us tips on cake tasting for your big day! Thanks Amanda with Sprinkle & Dash! We love what this gal has going, check her out!

Hey you—congratulations! The big day is coming soon. Your dress is being fitted for alterations. Your photographer is booked. You found the most gorgeous and perfect venue. Everything is falling into place. And your to-do list is growing shorter. But you still need the sweetest part of your wedding day . . . the cake!

You’re ready to call bakeries and start tasting what’s out there. But first, take some time to think: your favorite kind of cake, your favorite flavors, and the overall look you want. After all, a wedding is a sensory experience: dreamy sights, the sound of music, the feel of dancing, scents of flowers in the air…and, finally, a perfect bite of cake. You want to choose a cake that is as fitting as your dress.
So, before you schedule a meeting with your baker, consider these 10 tips for a successful tasting:

Think seasonally: Consider how the flavor and aesthetic of your cake can bring your day—and the season—to life. Are you getting married in the middle of November? If so, that bright, sweet lemon cake filled with strawberries may feel out of place. Instead, think gingerbread, pumpkin, or even spice. These flavors taste just like the fall! Of course, if you have your heart set on a very specific flavor, your baker can probably make it work.

Have a budget and announce restrictions: Let me stress this one. Going into your tasting with a clear budget that you share with your baker is important. Sharing your budget isn’t an insult—it actually helps the process! It helps your baker know where your limits are and can help give you a better idea of what cakes are realistic for your budget. This is not to say that a lower budget means a lesser cake. There are creative, beautiful options for all budgets. And make sure you tell your baker about any dietary restrictions. Allergic to almonds? Raspberries? Tell your baker immediately.

Have a clean palate: Cleansing your palate between flavors is important. Going from a bite of dark chocolate to a bite of lemon could confuse your taste buds. So, be sure to drink water between flavors and take slow, thoughtful bites. If you feel like you’re getting too many flavors and smells, ask your baker for a break or some coffee beans to sniff—they’ll help clear your nose.

Don’t come to your tasting full: Don’teat right before your tasting! I repeat: do not eat right before your tasting. Depending on the baker, you could be sampling a lot of flavors and taking some big bites. Enjoy it! If you’re full, you might not recognize the cake you like best because you’re feeling stuffed. Besides, you can always grab a bite to eat after your tasting. Who doesn’t love eating dessert first?

Schedule one tasting at a time—and take notes: If you’re doing several tastings with different bakers, schedule them on different days. You don’t want to confuse your palate, or leave one bakery completely full for another round of tastes. And take notes at each tasting! This is crucial. You might love the vanilla in the tasting, but forget about the hazelnut you tasted last. Your notes can help you remember things you loved, and guide you to the best decision.

Bring along your VIPs: Yes, bring your entourage. But don’t be all Kardashian about it—just bring the important people, or those whose taste buds you trust the most. Bring the fiancé, your mom, maybe a bridesmaid or two. You can always ask your baker for their preference on groups, but try to stick with 4 or fewer people.

Know the difference between fondant and buttercream: Oh, I can’t stress this enough! You’ll save your baker a huge headache if you know the basics. Fondant is icing that’s rolled out and goes onto your cake smooth. It allows for a lot of creativity – however many people don’t care for the taste and look of it. Buttercream, on the other hand, is more like traditional cake icing you’re probably used to. Buttercream can be flavored and colored anyway you want (huge perk!). And know this: Every fondant cake has a layer of buttercream underneath. So, if you simply must have fondant, know that the guests who don’t love the taste can peel it off.

Be realistic: While sometimes painful when planning your dream wedding, you need to be realistic about your cake. That five-tiered cake covered in handmade flowers and sugar crystalline diamonds that you saw on a celebrity wedding was the shiz. But it’s probably not right for your wedding or your budget. So, be flexible! Consider asking for a smaller, decadent cake to use for the cutting, and serve guests from a larger sheet cake. Here’s the bottom line: pick the parts that are the most important to you and let other things go.

Don’t forget the cake table: The worst thing you could do to your beautiful wedding cake is put it on an ill-dressed table. So talk to your baker about suggestions for display, or see if they have display materials you can rent. Consider elegant tablecloths, a quirky cake stand or a vintage plate. The idea is to make the cake the focal point of the table, but make sure it fits in with the rest of your décor.

Be conservative on numbers: Think about how many people you expect will actually show up. Of those people, consider how many will actually eat cake. Consider what other food you’re serving. If you’re having a dessert bar, people will probably shy away from having a piece of cake with all the cookies and candy they’ve been snaking on. It’s also very unlikely that every person that comes to the wedding will have a piece of cake. A lower number will help to keep costs down.

My final advice? Trust your taste buds. You know what you like—and you are the one who should love that cake. After all, how many times in your life do you walk into a room full of cake meant just for you? It’s your day, lady! Treat yourself.