How to Get a Beautiful Wedding Cake in Dubai Without Spending a Fortune
While the bride might be the center of attention on her wedding day, the cake comes in as number two! It is the centerpiece of the reception, and the appearance and taste can leave a huge impact on your guests.
A cake that feeds 125 guests costs an average of AED 3500-4500 at my shop, The House of Cakes Dubai. But a wedding cake can cost anywhere from AED 900 to over 50,000, depending on the amount of detail you would like. Don't let this discourage you — we are full of affordable ideas and money-saving options! Even if you are working on a budget, you can still get the wedding cake of your dreams.
Here are some do's and don'ts to keep in mind.
1. Be upfront about how much you can afford to spend. Most couples don't know what their budget is and end up with sticker shock! Or they think that if they tell me, I will go either right up to that number or surpass it regardless of the design we agreed on. Keep in mind that the baker is on your side and wants to give you the best cake they possibly can. In my experience, bakers like to have a ballpark number so that we can take all the elements that you want and find what will work within your price range. I am better able to manage expectations if I know in advance that there is a "scary number" that you don't want to hit.
2. Find out what the average price for a wedding cake is in your area. This research will help you come up with a realistic budget. Most bakeries will list their minimum charge per slice on their website. (Be aware that decorations will drive up this cost.) You could also email a photo of a cake that you like to local bakeries and ask for a quote before coming in for a tasting. If you're getting married in a big city, prices are usually higher than more residential or rural areas.
3. Be flexible. Most bakeries will quote you a price depending on how many man-hours it will take to make it. Avoid lots of labor-intensive sugar flowers, hand painting, detailed piping, and sculpted cakes if you're trying to keep costs down. I recommend using stencils over piping by hand or getting fresh organic flowers instead of sugar flowers. One of the biggest trends right now is laid-back rustic (think chalkboard cakes, naked cakes, and rough iced buttercream or ganache). There isn't a price difference for these types of designs; however, their simplified look will usually put you at the shop's minimum price per serving.
4. Choose one bold accent piece on an otherwise simple design. You can still have amazing handwork on your cake even if you're on a tight budget as long as you limit it. Love sugar flowers? Consider having one oversized bloom or a small cluster of them. Adore lace? Instead of getting it hand-piped to match your dress perfectly, opt for an edible mat version, which will give you the look you love without breaking the bank. It consists of food-grade silicon that the baker either rolls or spreads the icing onto to make lace or another pattern. Once it sets, it comes out of the mold as edible decorations (think of it as a 3D stencil). Using a mat of stencil takes one or two hours whereas hand-piping can take up to a day.
5. Have a backup. Want to save some serious money? Serve "kitchen cakes," undecorated sheet cakes, as a supplement to the main decorated one. They can cost half as much, but will still look and taste the same as the original on the plate. For example, let's say you have 150 servings, and your cake costs AED 35 per slice, which will come out to Aed 5250 total. If you go slightly smaller at 100 servings and make the rest kitchen cake (I charge AED 10 per serving), you'll save big. Plus, you'll still have a stunning confection to display for your reception. Just keep in mind that some bakeries require a minimum order of decorated cake servings before they can provide kitchen cake.
6. Fake it. Kitchen cakes are meant to feed more guests for less money. On the flip side, if you want a big, show-stopping masterpiece but you have a smaller guest count, consider foam tiers. While they still cost money because they need to be covered and decorated, they're much cheaper than purchasing cake tiers. For example, let's say that you're having 100 guests (which equates to a four-tier cake), but you want a six-tier design for looks. If you ordered the two additional foam tiers instead of real cake at my shop, you would save AED 1500 and not have all of that extra food lying around.
With these tips, you should be able to find a cake that you want at a price that you can afford. As a baker, I love making clients happy and creating a wow-worthy confection, regardless of their budget. Happy cake shopping!