debbief Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 3:01pm
post #1 of

I made the wedding cake for our good friends' daughter over the weekend. There were 8 tiers total and 5 different flavors. I had several friends say they were excited to try a particular flavor. The venue cut the cake and went around the room and served the slices to the guests. The guests weren't given a flavor choice icon_sad.gif I found out from my daughter the next day that some guests actually went up to the table and asked for a particular flavor and were told they couldn't take slices from the table and that they would be served the cake at their table. But of course when they were given a slice at their table, it was whatever flavor the server happened to have on their tray. I actually went to the cake table myself and asked for a particular flavor because it was the only flavor I didn't have extra to sample before decorating. They looked at me like I had bad manners or something but they did cut a slice and hand it to me....along with a look like I should be ashamed of myself for asking.

I was under the impression they would just cut slices and people could just walk up and take whatever flavor they wanted. Is that not the way most places do it? I felt bad for people who don't like red velvet cake but got stuck with it anyway. I went through way to much time and trouble to have people not be able to enjoy their cake.

25 replies
AnnieCahill Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 3:09pm
post #2 of

Yes, that is very common. When I got married I told them to cut all the tiers and put them out for everyone to try.

BakingIrene Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 3:54pm
post #3 of

It was very clear that the venue was making this decision. It will not reflect on your cake making at all.

Some locations have safety rules that determine whether guests can walk around with slices of cake, or whether food must be carried around by professional servers. The same applies to drinks--some places still restrict alcohol service to seated guests.

It's up to the hosts of the party, after they order a cake with multiple flavours, to work with the venue to accommodate the guests ability to choose.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 5:56pm
post #4 of

Seems to me that if multiple flavors were available, and the venue knew that multiple flavors were available, and didn't provide guests with a choice, that would be grounds for the bride and groom to complain.

What ever happened to holding receptions in the church's parish hall, anyway? It eliminates a lot of extra driving, and is probably cheaper than a for-profit restaurant, and possibly even cheaper than a community center.

SoFloGuy Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 6:18pm
post #5 of

You should have spoken to whoever was in charge and let them know that you were the cake maker. Ask them the reason as to their policy, perhaps they had a valid one.Even if people are given a choice the most popular flavor would have been gone first anyway and the last people served would have gotten whatever was left. Maybe a 5 flavor cake wasn't such a great idea. At least it's a learning experience and next time you know to have the bride ask the venue beforehand about serving guests choice on cake flavors.

debbief Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 7:25pm
post #6 of

I really didn't realize they weren't allowing people to select their flavor if they wished until the next day. I did think it was odd that they gave me dirty looks when I requested a specific flavor.

I made enough cake to serve 300 people and the basic chocolate and vanilla were the largest tiers. So the odd flavors like red velvet and carrot...and funfetti (bride's choice) were smaller amounts. Although I got a lot of compliments on the carrot cake.

If I would have known during the reception that they were serving it this way, I would have complained. I'm sure the bride would have also.

I just pictured them placing the slices on a table and the guests helping themselves....that's how I've always seen it done at weddings.

SoFloGuy Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 7:32pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by debbief


I just pictured them placing the slices on a table and the guests helping themselves....that's how I've always seen it done at weddings.




Maybe it's a regional thing, every wedding I've been to had the servers bringing the cake out to your table. I've even worked at banquet halls that have Viennese tables and the wedding cake is still served to each guest at their table.

debbief Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 7:36pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFloGuy

Quote:
Originally Posted by debbief


I just pictured them placing the slices on a table and the guests helping themselves....that's how I've always seen it done at weddings.



Maybe it's a regional thing, every wedding I've been to had the servers bringing the cake out to your table. I've even worked at banquet halls that have Viennese tables and the wedding cake is still served to each guest at their table.




Thanks, I will definitely keep that in mind next time I have a request like that.

cai0311 Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 8:49pm
post #9 of

Every dinner buffet wedding I have been too has cut the cake and put it on the table for people to grab. Every plated wedding I have been to I have been served cake while at the table.

I always ask the couple I am meeting with which style wedding they are having and how the venue is planning to serve the cake. In some cases, the couple has no idea and never thought about it. I make sure they find out that week and let me know.

If the cake is being cut up and put out on a table I tell the couple they should have 2 or 3 choices for guests. I always recommend keeping the serving amounts close to the same. So, if they are having 100 guests there shouldn't be 75 servings of one flavor and 25 of another - but 50 servings or each kind. That what they don't run out of one type really fast leaving guests no options. When they pick the flavors/fillings they want I pick the tiers on the cake for each option to make sure they have close to equal number of servings for each option.

If the cake is being plated and served I tell the couple to stick with 1 option, 2 at the most. The servers won't remember all the different options and it gets very confusing for the servers and guests.

carmijok Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 8:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl



What ever happened to holding receptions in the church's parish hall, anyway? It eliminates a lot of extra driving, and is probably cheaper than a for-profit restaurant, and possibly even cheaper than a community center.




Generally those places don't allow alcohol. Hard to do a champagne toast with sparkling cider...unless that's what you want of course!

idgalpal Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 9:14pm

Great thread! I'm doing a three flavor wedding cake for a friend in September. I know the catering staff very well and work for them occasionally. I'll be sure the bride makes the decision ahead of time on if she wants cake served to the tables or cut and guest can get their own.

SoFloGuy Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 9:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by idgalpal

Great thread! I'm doing a three flavor wedding cake for a friend in September. I know the catering staff very well and work for them occasionally. I'll be sure the bride makes the decision ahead of time on if she wants cake served to the tables or cut and guest can get their own.




Another option is to ask the banquet hall if they will allow the server to ask each person which one they want, write it down and bring it to their table. Also you can have 3 servers go from table to table with a tray of each kind and ask the guest which flavor they would like.

debbief Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 9:27pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFloGuy

Quote:
Originally Posted by idgalpal

Great thread! I'm doing a three flavor wedding cake for a friend in September. I know the catering staff very well and work for them occasionally. I'll be sure the bride makes the decision ahead of time on if she wants cake served to the tables or cut and guest can get their own.



Another option is to ask the banquet hall if they will allow the server to ask each person which one they want, write it down and bring it to their table. Also you can have 3 servers go from table to table with a tray of each kind and ask the guest which flavor they would like.




Good idea. Or how hard could it be for each server to load up their tray with a few of each flavor and give people a choice. If their preference doesn't happen to be on the tray, they can catch another server walking around. It's doesn't seem that complex. But sheesh people should get a choice!

Oh and this reception was buffet style for dinner. Appetizers were served same as the cake.

DeniseNH Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 9:29pm

During the taste test I always ask the couple if the cake will be served or buffet style. Then if it's buffet I make a small sign on a pup tent style foamcore backdrop for each flavor. When each flavor is cut and displayed, they just need to place the appropriate sign in front of that flavor - the guest can read the cake flavor and filling and decide for themselves which one they want to choose. If it's being served I create four flavor sheets to place on the servers trays. You certainly don't want to give someone a flavor they're allergic to. I think your friends venue was rude. They weren't making any money from the cake you provided so the heck with what the guests want. So sad.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 10:10pm

Good idea, labeling the flavors. I've had enough unpleasant surprises to where I've been known to avoid the cake entirely, not only when it's obviously something I don't eat, but also when it's not obviously something I do eat.

Then again, I'm not merely "a" picky eater; I'm The Ur-Picky-Eater, the standard by whom pickiness is defined.

And so long as the venue had advance notice that multiple flavors were provided, it was their responsibility to provide the guests with a choice, without the bride, or the baker, having to tell them anything more than the fact that multiple flavors were provided.

scp1127 Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 7:16am

There is nothing wrong with multiple flavors. Guests love the choices.

This is a good thread because we are all now on notice to aprise the bride to make sure that the venue offers the guests their choice. They can serve it or have guests walk up, but it is the guest's choice.

imagenthatnj Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 2:32pm

A friend of mine sent me the link to your cake because it was different, and beautiful. And then we thought about all the choices.

My friend was asking: "funfetti for a wedding?" and I said maybe that flavor was for the young guests and children. I would have probably wanted funfetti even though I'm old. It's sad that guests were not allowed to choose. I hate chocolate cake for example.

AnnieCahill Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 3:17pm

Me too. I am not a chocolate cake person AT ALL. I might enjoy a piece of Toblerone or a chunk of a Milka bar from time to time, but that is it. I guess I am in the minority when it comes to chocolate.

But yes, the last few weddings I have been to have been very disappointing with the cake cutting. I think it's a time thing (faster to just cut through one tier and serve). Before we got married the girl at the hotel with whom we were coordinating told me that they just cut and serve because it's faster. I said um, no. I wanted all the tiers to be cut so people could have a choice. She kind of had an attitude but that's what I wanted. I don't believe in cake communism. And if that weren't bad enough, the hotel tried to steal my leftover cake.

debbief Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 3:30pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagenthatnj

A friend of mine sent me the link to your cake because it was different, and beautiful. And then we thought about all the choices.

My friend was asking: "funfetti for a wedding?" and I said maybe that flavor was for the young guests and children. I would have probably wanted funfetti even though I'm old. It's sad that guests were not allowed to choose. I hate chocolate cake for example.




LOL believe it or not the funfetti was for the bride. She requested the smallest tier be funfetti because she wanted that for herself. She admitted, she likes the sprinkles. She's a very whimsical girl icon_smile.gif I actually made the 6" and 4 1/2" tiers funfetti. They saved the 4 1/2" to take home.

I don't see anything wrong with multiple flavors either. You are never going to find a crowd who all likes one flavor of cake. Especially a crowd of 300. That's why the majority of the cake was vanilla and chocolate because it's the most standard. Not very many people (including myself) like red velvet, so why subject them to it? But the bride requested it and some people like it, so those were the people that should have been able to choose it.

FromScratchSF Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 3:48pm

I know it sounds like the caterer was a big meanie, but they did just what they were supposed to. And no, they don't go around asking which guest wants what flavor of cake and no, they aren't going to start doing that. How would you propose they keep track of that the day of? Do you expect the caterer to scramble around to get everyone's cake order? An 8" round still only has 24 servings. So what about the other 278 guests? What if they ALL want that flavor? How should the caterer decide which 24 lucky people get the flavor they ask for? Then they have to go back to the guests who didn't get what they want and ask them for their second or third choice?

Completely impractical and will never happen.

Think about it, even if you live in an area that has room to cut up 300 servings of cake (you said 8 tiers, right??? That's a ton of cake!) and put them on tables for everyone to grab, how would you even calculate how many servings you need then? If you let people serve themselves, and you have 7 flavors out, I guarantee you there will be people that will grab all seven. So what of the guests who didn't get any cake because they were too slow to the cake buffet? And nobody eats 7 slices of cake -- think of all the 1/2 eaten slices of cake because people took more then their share just so they can taste each flavor?

This is exactly why I don't do different flavors per tier, even though every single wedding I've done they initially ask for it. If someone is insisting on having different flavors per tier I suggest getting cupcakes or a dessert buffet.

debbief Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 3:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

I know it sounds like the caterer was a big meanie, but they did just what they were supposed to. And no, they don't go around asking which guest wants what flavor of cake and no, they aren't going to start doing that. How would you propose they keep track of that the day of? Do you expect the caterer to scramble around to get everyone's cake order? An 8" round still only has 24 servings. So what about the other 278 guests? What if they ALL want that flavor? How should the caterer decide which 24 lucky people get the flavor they ask for? Then they have to go back to the guests who didn't get what they want and ask them for their second or third choice?

Completely impractical and will never happen.

Think about it, even if you live in an area that has room to cut up 300 servings of cake (you said 8 tiers, right??? That's a ton of cake!) and put them on tables for everyone to grab, how would you even calculate how many servings you need then? If you let people serve themselves, and you have 7 flavors out, I guarantee you there will be people that will grab all seven. So what of the guests who didn't get any cake because they were too slow to the cake buffet? And nobody eats 7 slices of cake -- think of all the 1/2 eaten slices of cake because people took more then their share just so they can taste each flavor?

This is exactly why I don't do different flavors per tier, even though every single wedding I've done they initially ask for it. If someone is insisting on having different flavors per tier I suggest getting cupcakes or a dessert buffet.




Of course I would never expect them to go around and ask every guest which flavor they wanted. That's just absurd.

I can also see your point about putting it out for people to grab and that getting out of control. Yes I can definitely see that happening...BUT what is wrong with having each server fill their tray with a few different flavors and go around to the tables. At least the guests would have some choice.

brenda549 Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 4:05pm

I was the cake decorator and a guest at a wedding last April. It was 3 different flavors. The staff cut the slices and placed several of each slice on a serving tray and went from table to table asking guests for their choices. If the server ran out of a flavor that someone wanted to try, the server would either bring one back to the table or let the guest know that there were no more slices of that flavor.

I think it all depends on the venue, and the bride should speak to the coordinator to voice her opinions if there are multiple flavors.

sweetthang1 Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 4:06pm

I give my brides a choice of flavors. If they have an 8 tier cake they can have 8 flavors! Their day, their choice!

debbief Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 4:15pm

Just have to let you all know, because it made me happy to see, my cake made it on "Favorite cakes today" on the front page. icon_biggrin.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 5 Jun 2012 , 4:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by debbief


I can also see your point about putting it out for people to grab and that getting out of control. Yes I can definitely see that happening...BUT what is wrong with having each server fill their tray with a few different flavors and go around to the tables. At least the guests would have some choice.




Well first, I should say I personally don't get why anyone would want that many flavors of cake in one cake. It's not like the bride is going to get 8 pieces of cake either - she is lucky if she even eats one! LOL, I know I didn't eat a piece of my own cake - I was too busy greeting everyone and I was completely shell shocked. Anyway, no matter how it's handled, I don't think offering people a choice is crowd pleasing situation unless you have infinite amounts of a thing so that everyone gets 100% what they want.

Your idea above seems like a great solution, but if I was your caterer and you wanted me to do that, I'd be charging you an even greater cake cutting fee and a PIMA factor. Something that should only take me 20 minutes to cut and plate and another 10 for the wait staff to serve you are now turning into an hour-long (or more) ordeal, cutting into the flow of the event, extending the time at the venue, as well as the time I have to pay my staff -because instead of having 2 people serve cake to the tables I now need 10 in order to cover the room by next Tuesday... and guests are still going to get irritated that they didn't get what THEY wanted when that person over there DID get what they want. Again, different sized tiers yield different servings of cake, so whatever lucky side of the room we start on is going to get the greatest choice - by the time we get to the end, guess what? The guests are getting one flavor of cake because that's all that is left.

I don't know about everyone else, but I have lost out on doing cakes because the venue's cake cutting fee was astronomical, forcing the bride to get a cheaper cake so she could have cake at all. If those fees get even higher because someone wants to have a ridiculous cake buffet and have the wait staff run around for an hour trying to accommodate every guest's whim, none of us would have commissions.

I am totally in the minority with this and maybe it's a regional thing - all the other cake artists in my area will make as many flavors of cake as is requested. But I've also been told that stuff like this is exactly why caterers are trying to push brides to get sheet cakes - you know, the annoying fad that won't seem to die and is taking money out of all of our pockets and turning us into glorified Costcos? The caterers can care less about the price difference, they just know that sheets yield the same amount of servings per flavor and they are much faster and easier to cut then a tiered cake. Oh, they'll still charge the same cake cutting fee, but WE are expected to discount because "it's just a sheet cake".

Sometimes unexpected consequences arise out of seemingly innocent circumstances.

cai0311 Posted 6 Jun 2012 , 3:26am

When I deliver a cake I always drop off a list of the tier sizes and cake flavor/filling. I do this even if the entire cake is the same flavor/filling. My yellow cake and champagne cake look the same but taste quite different. There is no way a venue would know that the cake they are cutting is champagne and not yellow. I think a list is always needed.

Plus, in the case of multiple flavor/fillings the staff knows what to tell guests when they ask.

I had a wedding last weekend and the bride had 3 different cake flavors and 3 different fillings. I dropped my list off with a staff member and she said "oh, great...more than 1 option. This makes it really hard to cut and serve in a timely manner because people keep asking questions and stopping servers to switch a piece of cake they already have for another flavor".

I like offering choices, but I can see how this could be annoying the person that has to cut and serve the cake.

We had individual cakes at our wedding. Each guests received a 4" x 4" x 4" square cake. When the guest RSVP for the entree they wanted, they also RSVP for the cake flavor/filling they wanted. So everyone got what they wanted and no one had to worry about cutting the cake, passing the cake out or cake drying out.

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