Whether you are a die-hard DIYer or plan to buy from the bakery, there are a ton cheap wedding cake ideas for you to use in the planning of your wedding.
Before the days of royal icing and rolled fondant, the history of the wedding cake goes back all the way to the Roman Empire where they used to break a cake made of barley or wheat over the bride’s head as a symbol of fertility. Um, no thanks! Over the years, as the wedding cake has evolved into a revered, exquisite work of art, the price has evolved into a nightmarish budget buster. With the prices of wedding cakes ranging between $5 and $20 (twenty!!) a person, it’s no wonder smart savvy budget brides are looking for more economical alternatives and options.
Recently, Gail Watson from Gail Watson Cakeemailed me to tell me about her new business, A Simple Cake. Gail Watson’s confectionious creations have graced the pages of every bridal magazine in existence and the sweet dreams of every bride that has ever laid eyes on them. And now this Cake Creating Goddess is making the same incredible cakes presented in simple, yet stunning designs – at very reasonably prices. Her new cakes start at $6.50 per serving which, in New York, is a literal steal. I don’t have to tell you North East brides to make sure and take a peek.
Keep these cheap wedding cake ideas, tips and tricks in mind as you are choosing your cake.
Two to Three tiers on your wedding cake is typically the standard, and the more tiers you have, the more your price per slice will increase. Also if you add tier columns to separate each tier, that also increases the prices as it is more labor intensive.
- The most common and least expensive type of cake is the Sponge cake. Basic flavors of the sponge cake such as classic white, vanilla, red velvet, or chocolate cake – are your least expensive options, while flavors such as German chocolate, black forrest, or carrot cake will be a little bit more costly. Flavors such as tiramisu, mocha, and liqueurs are going to be the most expensive options. Pound cake, marble cake, and cheesecake can be quite a bit more expensive than the sponge variety. In my opinion, choosing sponge cake over a “specialty” cake is a no-brainer cheap wedding cake idea as it’s quite delicious and there is sure to be a sponge cake flavor you will love.
- Fillings are fun, but if you choose more than one, or a “specialty” filling, you will pay for it as it takes extra time to mix and create additional flavors. Basic fillings such as vanilla cream, Bavarian cream, chocolate cream, etc. are going to be your least expensive option. Fillings such as chocolate hazelnut, cream cheese, any type of mousse, or fillings with nuts, fruit, or liqueurs (Mmmmm) are significantly more labor-intensive and, again, you will pay for it. Nixing fancy or multiple fillings is one of the easiest cheap wedding cake ideas there is. If you just have to have a fancy filling, cut the cost somewhere else such as in a simple icing design.
Intricate designs are obviously more labor intensive and that will most certainly reflect in the price. Think about scaling down your design or opt for a simple but stunning cake design. You can always dress the cake up with fresh or silk flowers. (Always my favorite).
- Square cakes versus round will feed more people per tier, but is more labor intensive as the sides have to be “built up” and sharpened in order to create the square shape. Round cakes are the cheapest, and tend to be the most popular shape. Check into the price of round versus square as they equate to the number of people each tier will feed, and then decide which shape will be more budget friendly for you. If you can find a baker willing to charge by the cake rather than the serving, you can get much more cake for your dollar by going with the square.
The Icing on the Cake
- The most classic, and one of the most delicious, wedding cake frostings is Buttercream icing. Although delicious as is, it can also be infused with lots of different flavors such as vanilla, lemon, chocolate, espresso, hazelnut, coconut, etc. etc. etc.Buttercream is least expensive option out of all the icings. A cheap wedding cake idea option that’s a true no brainer.
- Rolled Fondant icing is an incredibly matte-smooth icing that gives your cake a flawless, almost “fake” look and can also be molded into just about anything you want. It’s rolled out over the buttercream icing, so your cake is being iced twice. It’s extremely labor intensive on top of being the 2nd layer of icing, thereforesignificantly more expensive (around 40% more) and it tastes about as good as an old shoe. Seriously. I’ve known people to peel off the fondant before eating the cake, myself included. Super easy cheap wedding cake idea? Skip the expensive and not-so-tasty fondant.
- Chocolate Ganache is a wonderfully sinful, rich, dark chocolate glaze poured over the entire cake that can give the look of the porcelain-like fondant. If you’re a chocolate addict like me, this might be a must have for you. It will be more expensive than the Buttercream, but not as expensive as the fondant. You will also be able to get away with smaller slices, since it is so much richer than other icings.
- Marzipan is a sweet, smooth icing made of sugar, ground almonds and egg whites. It has a moist texture and can be placed beneath other icings or stand alone. Again, it’s pricier than the Buttercream, but it still won’t blow out your wedding cake budget.
It’s very important to remember that there are great bakeries out there that can make you a fantastic wedding cake within your budget. All it takes it a little investigation on your part. Ask your friends for referrals as well as make some calls to your local bakeries.
Now that you have a good idea of what wedding cakes typically consist of and where each type falls in the budget friendly range, we can delve a little further into cheap wedding cake ideas.