10 important things to consider when it comes to your wedding cake

If you are about to start the search for your wedding cake in Scotland, take note of these pointers from some top Scottish cake makers, covering everything from flavours to on-the-day practicalities

Bottom detail of ornate gold-leaf and white and orange flower wedding cake by Ruby & Pearl Cake Art
Gold leaf floral wedding cake by Ruby and Pearl Cake Art (Photo: Iris Art Photography)

Book your cake designer ASAP

“Book early, design later,” says Moira Chirara at The Wedding Cake Studio in Lanarkshire. “Couples are planning their big day as far as two years in advance now, so getting a date reserved right off the bat is advisable,” she says.

Lemon and poppy wedding cake by Butter & Bodoni and rose gold geometric line wedding cake with pink and orange flowers by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium
Left: Lemon and poppy wedding cake, Butter and Bodoni; Right: Rose gold wedding cake with flower topper, Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium

Arrange a first consultation to chat about your plans

Venue and approximate party size will have a direct bearing on your cake requirements, so these should be discussed on your first appointment. Ask as many questions as possible.

“Get an idea of cost, what size of cake you’d need for your guest numbers, whether delivery and set-up is included, and when this would take place,” says Laura Japp, owner of Jappacakes in Lanarkshire. “And when you commit to a supplier, you should be given a clear contract with terms and conditions that outline all of this.”

Pink and white ombre effect wedding cake with pink roses by Cake Couture by Caroline
Pink and white ombré cake with pink peonies, Cake Couture by Caroline (Photo: NC Photography)

Ask what your cake is made from

Not all wedding cakes are created equal it seems…“Ask if your cake will be freshly baked from scratch – you need to check the company doesn’t use cake mix,” says Claire Davidson of Liggy’s Cake Company, which has boutiques in Stockbridge and Bearsden. “Unless budget is your main concern, it’s nicer to have real cake rather than something out of a packet.”

It’s also worth asking if your baker ever works with pre-frozen sponges, as this would affect whether you could freeze leftovers after the wedding.

Watercolour pink floral wedding cake by Rosewood Cakes and naked buttercream cake with berries and figs by Jappacakes
Left: Pink watercolour illustration and flower wedding cake, Rosewood Cakes; Right: Three-tier cake with figs and berries, Jappacakes

Think about how you want your cake to look

“My couples come in for a design consultation (and tasting) around three to six months before the wedding – trends are always changing, so I like to leave it as long as possible,” says Laura Lane, who runs Aberdeenshire cake shop Love Laura Lane. “I ask them to bring along as much as they can for inspiration: invites, colour schemes, moodboards from Pinterest and pictures of the dresses.”

Unusual black and pink and gold and grey concrete wedding cakes by Lana-Lou's Cake Studio
Black and multi-colour textured cake and gold and concrete-effect cake with succulents, both Lana-Lou’s Cake Studio (Photo: Harcam Photography)

Not whatever the weather

“Weather is definitely a big factor when selecting a cake,” says Moira at The Wedding Cake Studio. “On hot summer days, the last thing anyone wants is a buttercream number sitting in direct sunlight all day. You also need to think about where the cake is going to be displayed and how long for, to check whether it will be exposed to heat or light. A good cake designer would (where possible) make a site visit to an unfamiliar venue so they can see what they’re dealing with.”

Semi-naked buttercream wedding cake dressed with fresh pink and yellow flowers by Rustic Cake by Annie and small leaf textured ivory wedding cake with gold leaf macarons and bunny tails by Liggy's Cake Company
Left: Pastel fresh-flower-strewn naked cake, Rustic Cake by Annie (Photo: Neil Thomas Douglas); Right: Fern-textured small ivory wedding cake with gold-leaf macarons and dried flower topper, Liggy’s Cake Company

Marquee weddings take special heed

Think about all those Great British Bake Off calamities when the temperature rises in its tent…“Marquees can be notoriously tricky for cakes due to the unpredictable humidity and temperature inside – especially in Scotland,” warns Claire at Liggy’s Cake Company. “For a summer marquee wedding, we’d suggest avoiding elaborate chocolate work and heavy sugar flowers combined with soft buttercream.”

Brightly coloured floral wedding cake by Three Sisters Bake and textured buttercream cake with dried flower decoration by Liggy's Cake Company
Left: Yellow and white ombré wedding cake with bright fresh flower decor, Three Sisters Bake; Right: Textured tiered wedding cake with sculptural dried flower decor, Liggy’s Cake Company

Pass the taste test

It goes without saying that you want your cake to taste as good as it looks. Thankfully Scottish bakers will usually ply you with sponge samples until you find the flavour combination that’s right for you. “My tastings usually take an hour and clients get to sample five of my most popular flavours,” says Laura Lane.

Most cake makers will offer a core range – featuring options like vanilla, chocolate, red velvet and fruit cake – but many will have more adventurous flavours in their repertoire. Just ask.

“I have recently launched a new flavour list which includes traditional flavours like Victoria sponge with raspberry but also some more interesting combinations like Snickers and Biscoff,” says Nicola Moffat, who runs Borders’ cake studio, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art.

Two colourful wedding cakes by Ruby & Pearl Cake Art
Left: Emerald reveal cake with figs, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art (Photo: Emma and Rich); Right: Painterly texture pale pink and dark red cake with fresh flowers, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art (Photo: Derek Christie Photography)

Do your research when it comes to food allergies and intolerances

“I can accommodate dairy-free and vegan requests, but it’s a bit trickier when it comes to allergies,” says Laura Lane. “My kitchen is very small and at risk of cross-contamination, so I don’t offer this service. I’m always very honest with my clients and will usually recommend bakers who specialise in that area.”

Transportation and set-up

“Our bakes are always delivered in separate tiers, in food-safe boxes specifically made for transporting wedding cakes,” explains Laura Japp at Jappacakes. “They go in the back of our van on non-slip mats, and we don’t add the final dressings and flowers until we get to the site.”

Square tiered cream wedding cake with pampas grass and bunny tail decor by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium and white and autumn leaves wedding cake by Jappacakes
Left: Cream square-tiered wedding cake with pampas grass and bunny tail decor, Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium; Right: Autumn leaves cascade wedding cake, Jappacakes

Attention to detail

“I encourage couples to consider where the cake will be sitting on the day and if they would like the cake table/area to be styled – there’s nothing worse than having your beautiful cake sitting in front of a fire extinguisher or a cracked wall,” says Nicola at Ruby and Pearl Cake Art.