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How to select a wedding cake

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Choosing your wedding cake is a fun part of the planning process, but it can be hard work. Having some basic knowledge of how to go about selecting the perfect cake will help make finding that cake a simple and fun task for both the bride and the groom.

Here are some tips on how to choose a wedding cake that should help make your task more enjoyable.

1. Give yourself time to find the right wedding cake. A good rule of thumb is to start looking at cake designs as soon as you have your theme, colours and venue set. Don't leave it for the last minute, as some cakes can take a long time to create and there may be a few other weddings in front of yours.

2. Think about the style of cake you want: cupcakes or a tiered cake. Today's wedding cake styles range from traditional, white tiered cakes, to modern bright and bold-coloured single cakes. These days, cupcakes placed on tiered plates are taking the place of the traditional wedding cake altogether. This is a unique and fun way to display your cake and can gives a dramatic or modern effect.

3. Use a small scrapbook of cake designs that you like. This can be the same one that you use for the rest of your wedding planning. Include photo cut-outs, print-outs and drawings of cakes. Just be sure to make notes of your cake ideas, as they may be somewhat different to the pictures that you have. Take this scrapbook along with sample colour swatches and pictures of your wedding gown into the baker so they can get a good idea of how to design a cake that fits your wedding and personality.

4. Make sure you like how your cake tastes. In modern weddings, the cake is often the only dessert served so you want to make sure that it is as tasty as it can be. Remember that today you can have virtually any flavour you want, including flavours such as lemon, chocolate or even carrot or ginger cake. You can have your "giveaway" cake as black cake or fruit cake as favours to keep with Trinidad tradition if you choose to have that prepared separately. Just be sure to sample the cake that your cake designer is making so that you know how it tastes.

5. Taste and get samples your fondant icing. If you are having your cake topped with fondant icing, make sure you taste the fondant because some fondants are simply much better tasting than others. Also, if you have specific accents to your cake, such as pearls or seashells, a good idea is to see a sample of what it will look like before it goes onto the cake. Any good designer will take the time to make a sample of your decorations to ensure they're exactly what you want. This is also a great way to have a sneak peak of your design!

6. "Think outside the cakebox" and go with cupcakes in place of the traditional wedding-styled cake. This can be a great way to give guests a choice of different flavours while still creating that stunning reception centrepiece you want at your wedding. Other brides and grooms are combining cupcakes with a small cake topper for the bride and groom into stunning-looking cake designs that are almost too beautiful to eat. (A great example of this can be seen of the black and white cake photo (below) by Cakes by Angie. It's got to be one of my favourites!)

IsleDo's wedding cake designer, Cakes by Angie, has some fabulous cake ideas. Angelique Najjar is a sugar artist and designer of unique and traditional wedding cakes.

According to Angie, "The decorations are all done using gumpaste, which allows them to be created in advance. Once they are dry, they can be added to the creations. Because humidity is a concern in Trinidad, the gumpaste with the additive of a gum

(carbo methyl cellulose) ensures the longevity of the decorations. Each cake is created with an input from the bride, taking her personality, her decor, her dreams, adding a little of my flavour, and coming up with a finale of fun, fantasy or pure elegance. Truly a labour of love, as some cakes can take up to three months to prepare, plan and create. Welcome to my world of sugar!" • Mala Webber is the founder of IsleDo, a wedding planning resource for couples planning a Caribbean wedding. If you would like to share your wedding services, ideas and photos, e-mail admin@isledo.com or visit www.IsleDo.com.

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