I never imagined that picking our cake baker would be one of the most difficult decisions to make, but it took six cake appointments and almost five months before we finally chose one. I suppose if there’s any vendor that you visit that many of, the best one would be cake!
For our first round of tastings, I did tons of research to find the highest rated bakers in the Indianapolis area and narrowed it down to three places that each had good reviews and positive comments. Our first stop was Classic Cakes, next was Heavenly Sweets, and we finished up at Sweet Seductions.
Our first round of tastings involved a bit of sticker shock. Our TheKnot budget had listed our cake budget at $375 but our first estimates were hitting numbers closer to $900-1000. We knew going in that it wasn’t going to be as low as our budget indicated, but it was still a bit hard to swallow. (No pun intended!)
We went in to our appointments with a pretty good idea of what we wanted. I liked simple, but with a little bit of color and some interesting texture, plus I really liked cakes decorated with flowers. The FI took a liking to this style of textured icing, which someone called “homestyle” icing, so we called it that for the rest of the appointments.
The cake we tried at Classic Cakes was delicious and they were very good about helping us come up with a plan to have enough for all of our guests while still keeping the costs down. We knew that with so many guests, we would have to have some sheet cakes in the back in order to avoid having an absolutely enormous cake and also to allow the staff to get a head start on cutting it. One thing I really liked about them was that they baked their side cakes in the same round shape as the main design, so that guests wouldn’t know that their piece didn’t come from the main decorated cake. One of the downsides was that they charged extra for delivering on Sundays. I tried to convince the FI that we could save that money by picking it up ourselves, but he did not want to accept that responsibility and absolutely could not be swayed.
Heavenly Sweets probably had the best tasting fillings, but we were caught off guard by talking about pricing first. We got the impression pretty quickly that we couldn’t afford them and therefore crossed them off the list.
In terms of taste, Paige from Sweet Seductions wins the awards for best tasting cake and sweetest disposition. She was just the sweetest person ever and for our tasting, she just baked us a half dozen cupcakes in various flavors. The texture of the cupcakes was so nice and the FI could not stop raving about how delicious her cake was. Clear winner right? Not quite.
See, I’m not a huge cake person, so I think it is really important to have some sort of filling to add interesting flavor and texture to the cake. The pricing structure at Sweet Seductions added extra for fillings, so when we calculated it all up, it pushed us just a little bit further than we were willing to commit to. So we decided to sit on it for a while and look into other options.
Three months later.
Now I’m starting to freak out a little bit because we haven’t picked a baker yet and we just need to get that off the list! So we booked appointments with three more places in an attempt to find some slightly more acceptable prices.
We were very late to our appointment at Cake Connection, due to a misunderstanding about appointment times. We only had half an hour and didn’t get to try any cake, which is either how she runs her appointments, or a result of our being late, I’m not entirely sure. Either way, we felt super awkward and didn’t know if her cake tasted good or not, so we just called it a wash and crossed her off the list.
Indy Cakes had very friendly staff and very nicely decorated cakes, but they charge the same price per serving for side cakes and the main cake, so it was clearly out of our budget.
The last place we went was Brenda’s Cakes, which had pretty good cake and a slightly less expensive price, but didn’t really wow us like some of the others.
From our second round of tastings, no one stuck out to us as being the perfect balance between cost and quality, so we reevaluated our budget, and took a second look at our first round. We knew we wanted our cake to be delicious, even if it cost more than we originally wanted. It was clearly a competition between Classic Cakes and Sweet Seductions, but in the end, I was won over by the round side cakes and the added cost savings of a winter special they were offering in February. So now we just have to go back to decide the specific flavors that we want!
Who would have guessed that this decision would be so complicated? Our cake design was the most uncomplicated thing about it!
Sorry this post is so text heavy, but I hope someone finds this information useful!