Mama Goodlaff and I were at a bridal fair a few months ago, talking to a local cake artist. Her cakes were fantastic, and after chatting with her for a while, she asked who was doing our wedding flowers. I gave her the name of our florist, who happens to be a family friend, and she said, "oh, is that negotiable?" Um, no, it's not. She didn't like that answer, so she turned away from me and started talking to another bride. That baker's name was promptly crossed off the list. Her cake tasted great, but her utter lack of professional courtesy killed any chance she had of getting our business.
Cake vendor number two took almost three weeks to get back to my initial phone call. Finally she sent her wedding cake packet, and after I sent her two additional emails asking for more information, I gave up trying to get into contact with her and crossed her off the list too. Communication is a must.
After striking out with two bakers specializing in wedding cakes, Mr. Goodlaff and I began looking at local bakeries. Since we are doing a cake bar, getting all of our cakes from a bakery may be a better option for us. It's cheaper than buying a full-blown wedding cake, and most bakeries already have many different types and flavors of cakes that wouldn't necessarily be available to us through a wedding cake vendor.
We started our search at the Flour Garden Bakery. Their idea of a cake tasting looks like this:
Yeah, you're not seeing things. That's a full cake of samples. Not mini bites, not slices--a full cake. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, they gave us some cupcakes too:
Let the testing begin!
We decided to taste all the flavors at the same time to make for an easy comparison, but given the state of the samples, it meant we had to cut the entire cake into about 6 pieces. I started with butter knife in hand, but quickly decided that serious cutlery was warranted, and out came the bread knife. We arranged all of our samples on plates, marking with the tabs the flavors we were testing.
The tasting process was taxing...
And then we "tested." We tasted Every. Single. Flavor. Good for a quick comparison, but a bad decision about an hour away from bedtime. Mr. Goodlaff and I were so keyed up that we could have picked the whole house up and moved it three feet to the left without breaking a sweat. We tried chocolate cake with mocha butter cream, chocolate with fudge filling, chocolate with raspberry, vanilla cake with mocha, vanilla with fudge, vanilla with raspberry, carrot cake, and vanilla with lemon curd filling (well, topping).
There were a few winners, and there were a few losers, but in the end, we decided that barring some massive revelation in cake at the bridal show in a few weeks, The Flour Garden would probably be our bakery. We still have a few weeks to hash out what our cake will be and to give the final go ahead, but I have to say, that was honestly more cake than I ever expected to get for a tasting.
The best part? We have a ton of leftovers!
You can tell by the picture which flavors were the most popular, right?
Did you have trouble finding vendors for your wedding? What was your cake tasting like?