Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Fake Cake Myth

It is a popular misconception with wedding cakes, that having a fake cake made of styrofoam (also known as a dummy cake) and *sheet cakes to feed your guests will save you money. (*As a side note, here at Dessert Works we call the concept most people are referring to as a sheet cake a back-up cake. Most people think of a sheet cake as a rectangular cake with frosting. Our back-up cakes are most often round, and are the same 3 layers of cake, 2 layers of mousse filling and authentic buttercream frosting that our tiered cakes are make of. They simply aren't decorated or put on display. They are behind-the-scenes so that you have enough cake to feed all of your guests, but no one sees them.) Today for Sundays with the Chef we're addressing the misconception of the dummy wedding cake with a big healthy dose of reality!

Is a plain, undecorated back-up cake less expensive than a tiered cake? Yes, it probably is. However, what most people do not factor in is the fact that the majority of the cost of a tiered cake is in the time spent decorating, the materials used to decorate, and the skill and experience of the person doing the decorating.

So let's imagine you have 200 guests coming to your wedding. You want a 5 tier, extravagant dummy cake plus enough cake to feed all 200 of your guests. Would that dummy cake alone be less expensive than the same cake made of real cake? Yes (but still not as much less as you might think). But now add in the back-up cakes. If you think about your total cost in terms of the time spent baking the back-up cakes, materials and ingredients (both for the edible and inedible cakes), and decorating of the dummy cake, it will end up costing you more money to have this dummy cake created in addition to the real cake to feed your guests, than it would have been to just create the wedding cake out of actual cake!

Makes sense right? More time + more materials = more cost!

If you're really on a tight budget, and can't afford that extravagant 5 tier cake that you've been dreaming of, that doesn't mean you're out of options. Instead of thinking fake cake plus back-up cakes (more materials + more time = more cost), think smaller tiered cake and back-up cakes! If you have a 3 tier cake to feed 100 people created in a smaller scale version of that 5 tier cake you're dreaming of and back-up cakes to feed your remaining 100 guests, THEN you're saving money! Think about it compared to our first scenario... There's no extra materials like styrofoam, in fact you're using less to actually decorate the cake that will be on display because it's smaller. You also need fewer back-up cakes because you've used real cake for the cake that will be on display. VIOLA!

Now, this certainly works with a scenario of 200 guests. But keep in mind that the fewer guests you have, the less money you will save by taking this route. If you have 120 guests, the difference between a 3 tier cake for 100 with a back-up cake for 20 and a tiered cake for the all 120 guests in minimal, if anything.

So there you have it - the dummy cake myth - BUSTED!

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