Before making contact with your chosen/preferred cake designer, there are many points to consider. Knowing the answers to many of these points will ensure your cake experience gets off to a flying start!
Date Of Event
It may seem obvious, but people have been known to try to order a cake without knowing the precise date that they require the cake! Knowing your date, and informing your cake maker/designer when the cake will be due is an important first step. This is because if you leave this step until last when discussing your requirements, if the designer cannot make this date, your consultation time would have been wasted.
Type Of Cake
Whether its a Wedding Cake, Novelty Cake, Celebration Cake etc, that you are thinking of, you need to have a good idea of how exactly how you wish it to look. The designer can help you if you are short of inspiration, or you could browse through various cake magazines for some ideas. It is worth pointing out at this stage, that you are unlikely to get an exact copy of any cake seen in a magazine. Although your designer may get pretty close, ‘duplicates’ are practically impossible.
You may be asked for information on colour schemes, cake style, decoration, shape, size, flavours etc. Would it be a fruit cake? Chocolate? Sponge? How many guest do you have? How many portions would you need? Are you offering guests dining options? Do you have guests with nut allergies? Would your cake, or parts of it need to be gluten free? Which ingredients will they use?
Do you wish to include fresh flowers? Many cakemakers are against this practice due to many being poisonous, and laws & regulations. They would gladly suggest alternatives. Ask your chosen designer for thier views on this, as it is a very personal aspect of cake decorating.
Another consideration is that some types of cake will not withstand elaborate tiering.
Ask your designer if it is possible to arrange a tasting before your event, as ingredients used will effect the taste, and if its not to your liking, it could cost you more later to correct.
Informing your chosen designer of event type will assist them on the cake outlook. Is it a family event? A corporate event? Informal get-together etc?
How much are you prepared to pay for your cake? Most cake makers will have base prices quoted on a basic cake size, IE 10″ round, 12″ Square, Fruit or Sponge etc. The final cost of your cake will be determined by the amount of work thereafter. Do you require tiers? Ribbons? Extensive piping work, different flavors? It is imperative that you inform your designer of these aspects early in your consultation. There’s nothing worse that agreeing a price, to find it has changed some time later as you think of another way to enhance its appearance.
For example, you ask for a 10″ round Fruit Cake covered in white Royal Icing. Your designer quotes you a nice price. You think “Thats reasonable”, and then say, “Could you possibly add some piped roses around the bottom in pink, and a nice bow on the top….and could you….”. You may be surprised at he difference in price! Explain exactly that what you desire before asking for the quote!
Methods Of Payment
Other than the obvious question of methods of payment, (Cheques, Cash, Credit Card Etc) do check with the designer regarding how much deposit they require, and when they require it. This will differ from designer to designer, and its also worth inquiring about cancellation fees and late alteration costs etc.
Delivery is a vital part of your consultation. Does your designer deliver the cake? Within what radius do they deliver? If your designer delivers, is this included in the agreed price? When will they deliver the cake? At what time? Will there be somebody there to meet them if setting up is required? If at a venue, you would need to advise the venue of your creations imminent arrival!
Or will you need to collect it? If you are to collect it, ask them for valuable transportation advice. You would not want your creation to fall at the last hurdle!
This is just an overview of issues you need to consider before contacting your cake maker. They will be more than happy to assist and advise you in more depth, and with more knowledge!