I am doing my first tasting in a couple weeks and was trying to figure out the logistics of it all. I am allowing the bride to choose three flavors of cake and frosting. She will be bringing her mother. How big should the samples of the cake be? I want it to be enough so that they each can taste each cake with each frosting. I was thinking of doing 4" single layers or a quarter of a 6" round. Is that too much, too little? If I did cupcakes, how many would you give?
I know I was probably the ONLY person who gave out tiny servings but here's my reason:
When I started my business I made a single layer 4" round, iced w/borders and maybe a flower if I had some extras around sending it home w/customer. Worked o.k.
Then I went to having in shop tastings and served pie wedges from 6" rounds. Most people would take only one bite and I ended up throwing out 90% of the wedge. So..........
I startedserving a 1"x2" piece - giving them 3 flavors. I still ended up throwing out most of that but stayed w/that until I closed my shop (due to personal reasons).
I have seen on T.V. shows where they bring out good china, serve tea and full slices. Yes, it looks nice but in the long run you will end up having to throw out almost all of your hard work.
AWe would use an un-iced 6" round (usually from the freezer) for each cake flavor cut into small circles with a cookie cutter, served with the requested frosting/filling flavors on the side. The tasting cost $30 for up to 3 cake flavors and 3 frosting/filling flavors, each additional flavor was $10. Eventually we got so busy we offered customers to-go tastings only (same price for up to 2 cake and 2 frosting flavors).
Here is a picture of one of the tastings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonkraft/4654253233/
I have been switching around with this issue myself. I usually have different fillings in cakes in order to achieve a certain taste profile (like tiramisu or creme brulee, etc.). At first I did them like cupcakes with the two different fillings inside and the accompanying butter cream on top. I jwas not satisfied and just did not think it was representative of how the cake would look at the wedding since people are very visual. How you market your product is important.
Recently I have started making 4 x 4" square layer cakes. From that I cut the 2 x 1" slices that are now the exact size their wedding cake servings would be. My brides and grooms have commented how this allows them to see exactly what they will be getting and that the other bakeries should do this, too. I box up some of the remaining cake in boxes for them to take home or to have other family members try. This has been a real winner and has made my customers very happy and seems to be working for me. The remaining cake, which is usually only half of a 4" square is then all the waste remaining. I usually recoup my costs with the tasting fee and so far have been securing the contract, too. HTH
At my Cake Club, I did an anonymous taste test of my most frequently used cake recipes, fillings, and frostings. Each member received a "finger sized portion" (literally, about the size of a man's ring finger) and about 1-2 ounces each of the available frostings and fillings. The members could "mix and match" different fillings and frostings with different cakes. This worked out very well with no leftovers for 14 people.
The website by Cake Avenue of Australia has photographs and descriptions of "finger or coffee size portions".
These servings are similar to what I used, but I did not tort and fill for the tasting, I just presented a long, thin, piece of cake. (Go to this CC thread and scroll down to Chasey's post where you will see a photo):
I utilized my version of a Cake Tasting Plate inspired by www.andeatittoo.net for the demonstration at my Cake Club.
I bake leftover batter (no matter how little), allow the cakes to completely cool and then cut large bit size slices and freeze the already cut slices. I then pull them out of the freezer about 45 minutes before the bride is to show. They only about 15 min to defrost, but I like to give myself extra time incase the bride is early. I cover the plate the pieces are on with a saran wrap so if the bride is late, the cake doesn't dry out.
I don't let the bride pick the cake flavors or fillings. I have a home bakery (licensed) so I don't feel it is worth my time to bake for each appointment. Plus, I offer 40 different cake flavors and fillings so I don't want to have to have everything on hand at any given moment for each recipe. But, since they can't pick their flavors or fillings I make sure to offer a larger than usual variety. Typically the bride gets 5-7 cake options and 6-7 fillings + buttercream and a couple little pieces of fondant. If the bride asks if she can pick I explain that since everything is made to order she will only get to try what I have on hand. I have never had any baulk at not being able to pick their own flavors but I think that since they do get several options they don't feel like they missed out on something.
Here's what I do, the butter creams and cake pcs I keepp frozen. The fillings in the fridge. I don't know how you girls find time to make special little cakes.
Small, because they're supposed to be samples not whole portions. They aren't going to manage 3 different flavoured cupcakes, or 3 big wedges of cake. On TV I saw decorators giving away with 6" cakes! And more than one! This is the size I use roughly: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=577320515617137&set=a.333546366661221.102288.290297210986137&type=1&theater
And I use regular size cupcakes, I give 4, one for the bride , one for the groom and the other 2 are just a thank you for considering me for the job.
I bake a cake in a 1lb loaf pan. I cut it through twice and put the buttercream/filling in. I then cut into slice approx a finger's width and then cut that in half (from top to bottom). Each half a slice is a portion. As someone else has said, it's only a taster. And I usually have three flavours for them to taste.