I have a few questions for the wedding cake experts. Would you mind sharing your wisdom and experience on the following?...
1. How much work do you do at the reception site?
2. If I am not going to be the cake cutter, how can I insure that the correct amount of servings will be cut?
3. When taking the tiered cake apart, do you keep frosting onsite just in case it sticks to the board?
4. What is the best way to get that large center dowel out of the cake when the cake when it is time to serve it?
Can't think of anything else right now, but feel free to any experiences as you see fit.
1. as little as I can get away with!! (teehee) I inform the bride up front that decorating the table is her responsiblity. I let her know that the table and location and decorations should showcase the cake and that my pet peeve is decorating the table with plates, napkins and utensils! I have made special exceptions if when I get there it's obvious that someone fell down on the job, or left the flowers next to the table, but didn't spread them out like they should've. Sometimes I will even go so far as to agreeing to put out certain things so long as I'm properly compensated. I tell them that if the topper is at the table when I get there, I'll place it and make sure it has the proper support. I WILL NOT keep up with a bride's topper because I don't want that responsibility. If I had 100 weddings during a 3 month period... NO WAY am I keeping up with 100 toppers!
2. You can't "ensure" that. I inform the bride of the proper serving sizes. I give her a serving chart. I tell her that if the person who is cutting the cake is there when I'm setting up, I'll be more than happy to give instruction at that time. I know what the cake serves and I've never had anyone come back and say they didn't have enough.
3. No. I have never had a bride come back and tell me that the icing stuck. Not saying that it didn't, but the staff or person cutting the cake apparently was either experienced enough to deal with it, or some pieces didn't get icing. I don't think it happened very frequently with my cakes. When I would get my cake plates returned, they never had icing stuck to the bottom side except where the "legs" were. (after I'd typed this I realized that if you're using a non-crusting buttercream, this could definitely be more of a problem for you. You'll have to see with non-crusting bc users do in this situation.)
4. I don't center dowel my cakes. I use a plate and column construction where the plates fit down into the legs of the plastic dowels. In 13 years and after over 1000 wedding cakes, I have never had one collapse, lean, or slide.
Using a crusting icing, I think using the plates on the icing actually helps keep the icing from sticking. I think with the cardboard being more porous, it's apt to stick more.
All of the above is strictly my opinion and my experiences! I'm sure you'll get varying answers and experiences. Good luck!
1. How much work do you do at the reception site? Depends on the cake. Most of what I did required little time other than carrying it in and setting it down. Other took up to an hour
2. how...to insure... correct amount of servings will be cut?
You give them a sheet w/cutting instructions.
3.taking the tiered cake apart, do you keep frosting onsite just in case it sticks to the board?
No, I seldom am at a reception. They can scrape it off the board if it sticks.
4. ....best way to get that large center dowel out of cake...when... time to serve ?
"If" one is used it is done when I set up the cake. You twist the rod as you pull it up. Never leave it in until serving time. If you use SPS you don't need a center dowel
For D&R (Drop-n-Run) cakes, I am in and out of the venue in about 10 minutes. 20 minutes max, if I have to add an icing border or flowers.
My icing doesnt' stick to boards or plates, so it's not an issue. If it did stick, the cake-cutter would just scrape it off, as someone mentioned above.
I leave my "stick-people" drawing of the cake that shows the size of cakes and how many servings they are expected to get out of each tier. (I make it in excel.)
I've only used center dowels about 3 times in the last 4 years.
Table decorations are the responsibility of the bride. Sometimes they will ask me "Is this ok or is that ok?" and I will tell them, "Darlin' you do anything you want because if it's in my way, I'm movin' it anyway!" (j-pal, such as napkins and forks that are spread out all over the freakin' table!!! )
But along this line, ask if they are planning to put those little lights under the tablecloth? Because if they are, they HAVE to leave a FLAT space for the cake! More than once, I've had to practically tear the table apart to move the lights out of the way so there would be a flat surface to sit the cake down! This falls under my "think about it, ya big dumba$$!" column!