We addressed this question on our latest installment of Planning + Prosecco. If your mamaw happens to be a licensed and insured baker, then having her make your wedding cake is a brilliant idea. If not, well…we don’t usually recommend this. Please don’t think we are insulting your mamaw or her baking skills – we know better than to go there with someone’s mamaw, y’all! However, even though she makes the best cake in your family, if she doesn’t do it professionally she might not necessarily know all the tips/tricks for successfully producing a wedding cake for 200 wedding guests.
What should i consider when deciding between an amateur and professional baker?
Size + Structure
Making a cake for over 100 people is no joke. That is a LOT of cake. Licensed bakers know how to make sure their cakes are structurally sound. They use food friendly dowels and other materials to make sure when stacking tiers upon a 75lb cake (for real, they can be heavy) that the cake will hold together and simply implode or fall apart when moved. They also know how many servings you’ll really need for all those guests and how much cake to make to accomplish that.
Materials + Surroundings
There are other things to consider, like fondant vs buttercream as well as the terrain and location of the cake. Will it be outside at 3:00 in August? If your cake is coated in beautiful but thin buttercream on a hot day, it could actually start to melt. And when things start to melt, they start to slide. Just like you, on a hot summer day the cake starts to sweat. Too much sweat and then tiers start slipping off the cake faster than your eight-year-old cousin Jeffrey on the slip and slide. We’ve actually seen this happen on more than one occasion. A professional cake baker can help you be prepared for the elements and will make suggestions for what to do with the cake in the elements.
Just hypothetically, if something were to happen and someone became ill after having your cake, would mamaw feel comfortable with that liability? Licensed and insured bakers carry insurance and protection for this and in the event something were to happen, (God forbid) the liability would fall on the baker and not on you or mamaw. Whew. That is a load off right there, amiright?
We aren’t trying to be mean, just real. And honestly, does your mamaw or friend, or cousin really want the pressure of having to spend the days leading up to your wedding in the kitchen instead of with you? Believe me, if you ever want to invite me over for some of mamaw’s cake, I am sooo there. But on wedding day, we recommend leaving it up to the professionals and letting everyone else just have fun celebrating with you!