Your wedding cake may well be the biggest cake you have in your life. And while wedding cakes are made to serve a certain number of guests a wedding is usually a day that involves a certain amount of overindulgence. And why not?!
My reason for writing this post, though is to highlight the fact that, while I am usually not present at weddings when the cake is actually served, other wedding suppliers have to told me that, in general, the number of cakes that end up getting wasted is pretty scary!
Of course, from a cake maker’s perspective, I want to encourage the tradition of having a wedding cake as part of your big day, but I also want to make future couples aware of the sad fact that cake can end up being wasted… I know! Of course, this means a huge waste of money, and from an environmental point of view, a huge waste of food.
Food waste is something that I simply can’t stand. So, as part of my values for Malarkey Cakes, I always advise my couples in the best way possible how to get the most out of their wedding cake.
So, here’s my advice; ways to avoid your wedding cake going to waste…
Serve your wedding cake as A dessert
Depending on the set up at your venue and whether or not you have to book caterers who provide a three-course meal, you could opt to have your wedding cake served as dessert. This is simpler if you are bringing in caterers that provide only one course, or if you’re having more relaxed dining in the form of platters, street food vendors or similar.
Your cake could be served with cream and berries in the summer or custard as a winter warmer. You could simply serve it on platters as a dessert buffet so guests can help themselves.
Drop the donut wall and ditch the brownie tower
The craze for dessert extras is huge! I can see why, too. Why wouldn’t you want a donut wall, brownie tower, sweetie table, ice cream van, candy floss machine… The list goes on. While there is a temptation to go for them all, if you are getting a wedding cake, I would advise thinking carefully and realistically about how much sweet stuff your guests can really eat. Especially if you’ll be serving a three-course meal as well!
Go for fake tiers
If you want a big, tall cake and don’t like waste, you can always go for fake tiers. They’ll add height and wow- factor to your cake while not giving you too many portions that’ll potentially be left over at the end of the day.
Be aware with fake tiers though, the cost of these isn’t necessarily much lower than that of real cake tiers. It all depends on what decoration you go for on the outside of your cake design.
Save tiers and freeze them
Cake freezes really well! If you’re left with way too much cake you can pop it in the freezer and store it there for up to three months until you have another party or occasion where you want to serve it.
Some of my couples order a cake specifically planning to do this and keep the top tier for themselves. This is wise, as a lot of the time so many couples get so swept up in the madness of their wedding day, that they don’t actually get a slice of the cake themselves at all!
Serve the day after
If you have guests coming from all over, you might be having a gathering the day after the wedding. This is a great opportunity to serve the cake maybe as part of an afternoon tea or for them to take away on their travels home.
Give your cake away as a wedding favour
This is something that used to be a lot more popular when wedding cakes were fruit cake. You can favour boxes for your guests to take cake away in and it’ll keep until the next day sliced up in the box so it could work as the perfect hangover cure for them the morning after! Just instruct your venue or caterers that this is what you’d like to do with the cake.
Give your venue instructions
As above, it’s worth letting your venue or caterers know what you want them to do with the cake. Sometimes this does get overlooked in the planning stages of a wedding and it’s assumed that everyone will know what to do with the cake. The reality is that sometimes, only a small amount of cake gets cut up, meaning the rest of it gets wasted, or that you end up with a huge amount of cake to take home the next day.
Personally, I learned from this when the venue where I got married threw away a whole cake tier, even though I asked them to keep it for me for the next day. I’d suggest making sure you give them strict instructions on exactly what you want them to do and how to serve the cake.
Make a moment for cutting AND for serving the cake
If you’re having a cake then you’ll probably be making a moment for the ceremonial cutting. Once that’s done, what happens next? In my experience at weddings I have been to as a guest, it gets cut up, put in a corner and most guests don’t even know it’s there.
I’d recommend making a moment for serving the cake as well as the ceremonial cutting. How about cake and cocktail time, or having the venue staff or caterers bring the cake round on platters. That means your guests will actually know it’s been served and it will get eaten!
You might be thinking, well this is a lot to take in, just for planning the cake. Agreed. Weddings do take a lot of planning, but I’m giving you this advice from personal experiences I have had along with speaking to other in the industry. If a wedding cake is the biggest and most extravagant cake you’re ever going to have, make sure it gets eaten. That’s what it’s for at the end of the day.