Once upon a time, the wedding cake was merely a sweet Palm Springs Bakery treat; now the wedding cake is a showpiece, as much decor as dessert. Cutting the cake is, for many, the pinnacle of the reception and the event that signals that guests can party without interruption until the night’s end. Consequently, the wedding cake now has a persona all its own, one that harmonizes with the wedding itself. A Palm Springs Bakery wedding cake may be elegant and demure, classically simple in shades of white butter cream, or jazzy and modern, swathed in folds of brightly colored fondant that envelop it like the draping on a Greek statue.

Wedding cakes are priced by the slice, but the price list on prospective bakers’ web sites will only tell you part of the story. The cost of a wedding cake will depend on so many factors: how many people it will serve, how many tiers it has, the flavors you choose, the types of frosting and fillings, the difficulty of rendering the embellishments you’ve requested, structural supports (e.g., dowels, cake stands), and add-ons like wedding cake toppers. The cake designers you meet with will be able to give you a much more accurate price quote if you have a basic design in mind, even if you haven’t fleshed out the details yet.

A bride might, for example, tell the cake designers she is considering that she wants a traditional white tiered cake, with square tiers decorated with edible pearls and some sort of floral embellishment. Or she might want a themed wedding cake that reflects her and her groom’s love of climbing… perhaps a cake in the shape of a mountain with a miniature mountaineering bride and groom scaling the face. It isn’t difficult to see why the second cake would cost more, possibly even a lot more depending on how realistic the bride wanted the mountain to look. Keep the complexity of your desired wedding cake in mind when deciding on a cake budget – the more complex the cake, the higher the cost.

Don’t just flip through wedding cake designer’s portfolios, really look. Is the frosting smeared? Are tiers uneven? Are the cakes mundane? Your baker needs to have the skills to do specialty work if you want a specialty cake, but even a simple wedding cake needs to be crafted with talent and care to look truly beautiful. Whether your design is custom or straight out of a catalog, a contract that lists every last detail of your cake is a must-have. And if you want a certain degree of flexibility in terms of flavors or colors, your contract should spell that out, too.

While she or he may now be called a wedding cake designer, the individual who will create your amazing cake is still a baker at heart, and even a beautiful wedding cake should be utterly delicious.