Cutting The Cake....now I Know Why They Charge So Much!!!

Decorating By labmom Updated 19 Oct 2011 , 2:47am by Apti

labmom Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 8:15pm
post #1 of 45

Well it was a fun weekend. We attend an amazing halloween theme wedding.

Like much of the wedding, It was unusual that this was an outdoor wedding in Ohio in October on a night with 30 mph winds & rainy 50 degree Temps. Even the Deer that wandered through wedding site looked puzzled.

The 3 tier red fondant with black swirls cake was the one everyone here helped me with on how to antique it. It came out very beautiful.
Well stupid me, I offered to cut the cake what was I thinking????

Normal cakes no problem but I hate cutting a fondant cake. They requested everything be red or black so there was red buttercream under the red fondant with the black buttercream design on the cake. So even with gloves.. it was not a pretty sight. And does anyone know why everyone at a wedding after eating a hefty meal everyone has to rush to the cake table like they had never seen a cake before? So it was horrible trying to hurry to feed the them while trying to cut something that resembled wedding cake servings.

I don't think I am ever going to offer to cut a cake at a wedding again.

I want to go and enjoy the wedding as a GUEST not a vender.

I now also understand why the wedding halls are charging so much extra to cut the cakes. One hall near here charges $1.50 a SERVING to cut the cake. While others average about $75.00- $100. I guess I wouldn't mind cutting the cake if I were making that kind of money.

All and all it was a fun time... I hope you enjoyed your weekend too.

44 replies
Sorelle Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 8:53pm
post #2 of 45

lol this made me laugh because I have cut three big wedding cakes in the last couple of months, (all fondant cakes)
and yes every time it is like feeding a starving village! They wait in line acting like little kids calling out "save me some of the chocolate!" and there were many that stood there hovering waiting for there favorite flavor to be cut making me feel claustrophobic.
At one of the weddings the bride had some of her young people from her church help with serving, they were great! The best thing that came of it though was the reminder that the cake is what makes a party, a party.

tsal Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 8:55pm
post #3 of 45

I'm not a professional and will gladly delegate the task to someone else at the party.

For me, it's more about stage fright oddly enough. Everyone surrounds the table like a pack of hungry hyenas and they watch my every move! Or at least that's how it feels - lol!

kakeladi Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 9:05pm
post #4 of 45

when I am asked to cut a cake I ask for at least 3 assistants. One does nothing but feed me plate after plate & then hands the filled plate to someone who hands them out or puts them on the table for self-service or on a tray for delivery to the table.
that way all I have to do is concentrate on cutter and keeping the knife clean.
I also ask for 2 damp towels to clean the knife with.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 9:21pm
post #5 of 45

Venues around here charge $2.50 - 4.00 per serving for a cutting fee. I have cut cakes in the past... it is a pain in the ass job to say the least.

A non serrated knife will do much better than a serrated one, especially for fondant. Fondant sticks to the teeth and gums up the knife faster... and like kakeladi said... a damp towel is invaluable.

robinmarie Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 10:11pm
post #6 of 45

Does anyone know any tricks to cutting a fondont cake and still make the slices pretty? Whenever I cut the fondont cake into slices it ends up looking like a 2 year old did it, but my buttercream only cakes look fine.

Apti Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 10:50pm
post #7 of 45

I nearly spit my diet Coke all over the computer screen when I saw your thread title. I just went thru the same thing recently and was horrified. I was serving 4 cakes, all buttercream, each cake a different flavor and filling. Oh......my........goodness...........

Here's my post:
Caterers who serve/cut cakes, is there a "how-to"
http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-730827-serving.html

Here's an excerpt from my original post. (It's worth reading the whole thread to see the responses from other bakers here on CC):

"The line is getting longer and longer and they're starting to stack up 3 and 4 deep in front of the table. One woman says in a whispery voice about 5 times, "I want the lemon". (I finally told her she'd have to sit and wait until she saw me cutting that particular cake, then come up to the table!) They started picking up plates from the table, ignoring my assistant, and holding them out to get cake. She's saying, "Please wait!" They're not listening.

I'm madly slicing cake and slapping it on the plate with my gloved hand. Crumbs are falling everywhere. The two damp tea towels I was going to use to politely and graciously clean my knife between cuts have become giant damp globs of cake and frosting. "

-----As far as the cutting knife, I prefer to cut fondant with a serrated bread knife and "saw" thru the fondant to get a clean slice. When I've tried it with a non-serrated blade, it just pushed the fondant down and made my slices look squished.

carmijok Posted 16 Oct 2011 , 11:29pm
post #8 of 45

If you can...it's better to take it into another space...kitchen, back room, wherever...out of eyesight of the hungry masses and then cut it. Our caterer at our daughter's wedding did that and it went very smoothly. They were fast too! Of course if you're working with a 7 tier monstrosity, that might be a problem! icon_lol.gif

AnnieCahill Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 12:11am
post #9 of 45

Yep I was asked to cut and serve the cake I made at a July wedding. They didn't have any proper knives or cutting utensils so I ended up using a regular 8" plastic knife! Holy crap it was a nightmare. I was so ticked. Who has a wedding with no proper serving utensils?

I know what you mean about the cake vultures/cake sharks circling the table. When I was cutting the cake there were about 15 people huddled around foaming at the mouth. It's really irritating.

cathyscakes Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 12:33am
post #10 of 45

Its funny, I do cakes for friends and family and I always want to cut the cake, I don't trust them to cut it right. lol. I did a wedding cake for an aquaintance, and offered to come back and cut the cake. The couple cut the cake and after the DJ came up to me and said that they had a hard time cutting, and was worried about me serving the cake, (he is a friend of the couple) I told him it will be fine, but he was very skeptical. They were using their cake serving set, dull as can be, and of course they were hacking it up. I bring my own knife and didn't have a bit of trouble with the fondant. Definitely need a sharp knife, not the ones that come with cake serving set. So I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been there. Professionals probably know how to cut a cake, but friends and family don't know much about fondant.

Vista Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 12:36am
post #11 of 45

I have a very strict rule about cutting cake, I WON'T DO IT! I spend so much time and effort that I could not stand to be the one to tear it down. I am fine with it BEING cut, but I refuse to be the one to do it. I make sure I let everyone know up front!

nikki4199 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 1:18am
post #12 of 45

I am always asked to cut the cake. I tell them I am a decorator not a cake cutter. Lol It don't work I always end up cutting the cake.

nikki4199 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 1:18am
post #13 of 45

I am always asked to cut the cake. I tell them I am a decorator not a cake cutter. Lol It don't work I always end up cutting the cake.

kel58 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 1:45am
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Hold the knife up a little and give them your "best crazy eyes", that should take care of those cake hyenas. JUST KIDDING!lol but don't think I haven't thought about it. I'm sure I already do have an crazy look in my eye cause i'm more than a little annoyed. I have found kids by far the worst.

The best experience I have had is taking the cake to another room if possible.

I feel your pain

CalhounsCakery Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 2:05am
post #15 of 45

I'm just happy when the cake gets cut right. I did a cake for a wedding I was a guest for. The cake was bigger than needed, really, but I really wanted to do the design I had in my mind. (115 guests, served 145) They took the cake to the kitchen, and came out with pieces not even 1"x1"!!! I The cake was only 4" tall, so it's not like there was unusually tall tiers. There was sooo much extra cake! The positve side was that everyone thought it was so yummy that people were taking huge chunks home with them. Guess I can be flattered there...

All4Show Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 2:09am
post #16 of 45

I had to cut the cake for a wedding using the special serving set provided for the bride and groom. The knife broke in half and cut my hand. Now there's something you really want to see at a wedding.

Elcee Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 2:37am
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vista

I have a very strict rule about cutting cake, I WON'T DO IT! I spend so much time and effort that I could not stand to be the one to tear it down. I am fine with it BEING cut, but I refuse to be the one to do it. I make sure I let everyone know up front!




Me, too! I never take a knife to my own cakes, even the family birthday cakes icon_biggrin.gif. And I don't even know how to cut a wedding cake (ooh, deja vu, icon_cool.gif I just posted almost this same thing in another thread).

mcaulir Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 2:40am
post #18 of 45

I offer if I'm at the party after one time seeing someone attempting to cut wedges out of a 9" cake 4inches tall. Do you know how much cake that is? Of course, they hardly got any slices at all, and people who ended up with one couldn't eat it all.

mommachris Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 2:50am
post #19 of 45

I ended up doing the same thing. Asked Aunt Betty if I could show her " a little trick" after seeing her cut a wedge from a 10 inch. The piece wouldn't even fit on the plates provided.
Jumped in there and cut those circles so fast. Gave her a quick lesson on plating, cut my own piece and went on my merry little way.
This was the wedding I turned down because the reception was going to be outside...in July...in the Central Valley and she wanted real butter icing.
No Thank you!

MerlotCook Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 3:15am
post #20 of 45

I had never cut a wedding cake until a couple weeks ago. I made a 200 serving cake for a friend's daughter's wedding and unfortunately I was a guest as well. The bride and groom cut the cake and then said "Everybody come up and cut your piece of cake." I offered to cut it and the bride's dad was happy I'd offered. I should have let them all cut their own. On the bright side, I know how to cut a cake now icon_smile.gif

lorieleann Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:06am
post #21 of 45

i have usually gotten stuck with cutting at wedding I go to. Especially when there is staff there who are scared to cut it, and 'hey, the cake lady is still here, let her do it!' Worse part is doing it after having had some cocktails. Because tipsy cake cutting adds that extra element of danger icon_biggrin.gif

the last wedding I went to, I was very happy to not have to cut the cake, but I did explain to the 'cake cutter' that it really needed to be done in the straight cut method, especially since I just drove it 2.5 hours and it would be out another 2-3 hours, and being red velvet with cream cheese icing (yes, i tried to talk the bride out of it), it needed to be treated a bit gently. Nope, she said, "the usual way to cut the cake is to do the circle and take the pieces off the ring." I told her that she would completely lose the center if she did that, as the cake was too tall and the fondant would be hard to get through. "we cut cakes all the time. we use the circle method. it *is* how it is done."

Honestly, it looked like they murdered the cake as they were cutting it. Dull knife, not cleaning between cuts (with red velvet--yuck), and doing the circle. The center fell into a heap, and yes, I walked by and told her that 'yup, that's what i was afraid of.' Did they learn their lesson on the bottom tier? nope. did the same thing. but thankfully that spice cake held up a bit better.

Valkstar Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 10:52am
post #22 of 45

I've never done a wedding cake, but I made a "naughty" cake for a birthday last year...a naked pair of breasts. It was really well received, but then they asked me to cut it up. It felt so wrong and I was quite disturbed at having to carve them up icon_redface.gif

chelleb1974 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 3:18pm
post #23 of 45

I don't mind cutting the cake actually. I've done it quite a few times. I don't trust other people (other than reception halls) to cut the cake properly so there will be enough cake to feed everyone. If I am unsure of the cutting utensils available at the party site, I bring my own knife to cut the cake with. I do mostly fondant cakes, and a sharp, non-serrated knife is essential to cutting the cake and having slices that look edible, lol. I ask for a few paper towels and an empty plate to scrape the knife on. Like kakeladi said, I also request assistants - it's invaluable. I also prefer to wear gloves (non-latex in case of allergies) - keeps your hands MUCH cleaner! Of course, I always wash my hands before cutting and be sure I say something loud enough for most to hear ("Be right back, gotta wash up" or something similar).

~Chelle

indydebi Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 5:30pm
post #24 of 45

well I must be the big ham who loves center stage because I LOVE cutting the cakes. mostly because it drives me insane to watch other people "try" to cut the cake. And I really hate it when they take the cake in the back to cut it. Around here, the cake cutting is as much a part of the reception as the bouquet toss or the first dance. Many wonder if they are getting the 'ole "bait-n-switch"! A pretty cake on the table .... cheap 'ole sheet cakes in the kitchen!

As far as a line forming .... big deal. It's jsut a bigger audience for this big ham! And people are truly fascinated with watching a weddign cake being cut! icon_biggrin.gif But ... I can cut and have served a cake for 200 in less than 20 minutes .... faster if I have a helper ... so there really isn't time for a line to form.

When I have multiple flavors, I de-stack the cake and start cutting 2 or 3 flavors all at once. I dont' do just one cake at a time. (And many times, I am working solo. If I have a helper, they are (as mentioned above) feeding me the plates. But this is also why I counseled brides against having 4 or 5 different flavors. Like everything to do with cake, it just takes practice and experience. thumbs_up.gif

Non-serrated knife for fondant. Discovered this with my birthday cake that fed 150 college guys! If you dont' like the way it smooshes the cake, then lay the big 2" strip on it's side. No smooshing. I even do this with BC (see my "how to cut a cake" link in my signature on what I'm talking about here).

I keep one or two plates as my trash plate (plus a trash bag under the table to deposit wooden dowels and empty cake cardboards). I wipe the knife and cake comb on each other, the unload the crumbs onto the trash plate.

I TOTALLY disassemble the cake before cutting. So if I do get a special request ("I want RV") then I can easily cut a piece just for them. Because I've done this so much, I'm pretty quick at getting a number of sliced pieces onto the plates for people to grab as they come up to the table, then I find myself standing there WAITING for others to come and I ask, "What flavor do you need?"

If you're nervous about a line forming, start cutting the cake, get some pieces out there, THEN tell the DJ to announce, "the cake has been cut ... you may help yourself at any time." i did this every single time, then all I had to do was fill in the spaces left by a plate leaving the table.

The proces is (as we say in the trade) "a piece of cake!" icon_lol.gif with the right prep (trash bag under the table, proper knife, using straight line method, arrange with DJ for the announcement, etc).

Oh .. and I agree that the weddign knife set the bride buys is a piece of sh*t. I even told brides not to waste her money ... we'd just use my knife.

Sorry this got so long, but I really REALLY love cutting a wedding cake and I tend to go on and on about it! icon_redface.gif (I was even hired JUST to cut the cake ... not a cake I had even made. Threw my chef jacket on, grabbed my comb and knife, arrived at the start of the reception, spent less than 1/2 an hour doing the cake cutting, collected my pay that ended up being over $100/hour. Pretty good gig! thumbs_up.gif )

Marianna46 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:01pm
post #25 of 45

I read your cake cutting method some time ago, Indydebi, and I've never looked back! I'm in the camp that loves cutting cakes, because like others, I can't stand to see a cake butchered or not serve everybody and, as you just said, I'm also a ham at heart! So sometimes you actually get paid for this? COOL!!!

chelleb1974 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:11pm
post #26 of 45

I knew it wouldn't take long for indydebi to chime in! Love your posts and blog Debi! I remember reading some time ago where you bought your cake comb, and have now decided I want one. However, I don't remember where you said you bought it. Would you be willing to share that information again?

Thank you!
~Chelle

chelleb1974 Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:15pm
post #27 of 45

Wanted to add: I used to cut my cakes following Wilton's guide's, until I read IndyDebi's way of doing it. I do them all that way now and it's so much easier that way.

~Chelle

tdovewings Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:31pm
post #28 of 45

never thought about cake cutting before, this thread is an eye opener

indydebi Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:44pm
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by chelleb1974

I knew it wouldn't take long for indydebi to chime in! Love your posts and blog Debi! I remember reading some time ago where you bought your cake comb, and have now decided I want one. However, I don't remember where you said you bought it. Would you be willing to share that information again?

Thank you!
~Chelle



ebay is the best place. I've had one or two disappear over the years and I go straigh to ebay to get one shipped the next day! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cake-Cutter-Server-RED-Bakelite-Handle-Vintage-AFRO-comb-/120794923238?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1ff040e6
they are sometimes called cheese combs.

Apti Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 7:49pm
post #30 of 45

Thanks Indydebi. I looked for cake combs and nobody knew what the neck I was talking about! I've placed a bid on the cake comb on the eBay link. I also found another one at another link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/K-Cutter-Cake-Cutter-Comb-rake-Piks-Lift-afro-braid-/310154791021?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4836aa886d

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