Frequently (and not so frequently) asked questions
1. How far in advance should we order our wedding cake?
At Piece of Cake our staff creates 20-35 weddings cakes per week, and while that is a lot of cakes, we can sometimes get booked to our capacity for popular dates a few weeks in advance. It's best to call and inquire about specific dates.
2. Piece of Cake is already fully booked for my wedding date... where should I go?
A: Unfortunately sometimes we reach our maximum capacity for weddings in popular months (March, April, May, October, November) 3-6 months in advance, but we would be happy to help you find another awesome baker! Give us a call. Don't feel weird calling us to ask about suggestions for another bakery. Even though we may be fully booked for your wedding weekend, we still want to make certain that you have a great wedding cake for your special day... fortunately we aren't the only awesome cake shop in the Phoenix Metro area. We've been making wedding cakes in the valley for a over a decade and we know who rocks and we know who doesn't, and we would be happy to point you in the right direction.
3. Is it true that all of your competitors hate puppies, babies, and the elderly?
A: Totally untrue. Most of our competitors love puppies.
4. How much cake should we order?
A: In general, you should see how many guests will be at the reception and order a cake for 80% -100% of that number. However, there are many other factors that might affect how many servings you'll need, including how many flavors of cake you choose to have, whether you'll be serving alcohol at the reception, whether your friends and family are big cake-eaters or not, and whether the wedding cake will be the only dessert.
5. Do all bakers use the same sizes for cakes?
A: Umm... no. Frankly this is where a lot of couples can get a bit hosed if they don't do some research. To some cake shops, a 3 tier cake that consists of a 12" round, 9" round, and a 6" round, feeds 100 guests. Based on our serving chart, those same cakes feed just 84 guests.
Yep, you read that right. You can order the exact same size cake from 2 different companies and one will charge you for 84 servings and the other will charge you for 100 servings. If the 100 serving place is $3.50 a serving and Piece of Cake charges $4.00 serving... then we are more expensive right? Not so much. (84 servings x $4 = $336, 100 servings x$3.50 = $350). And now you know how a $4.00 per serving cake can be less expensive than a $3.50 per serving cake.
Don't get me wrong, the bakers that say that configuration feeds 100 guests aren't trying to screw anyone, they are just using the industry standard Wilton serving chart to calculate their servings... most bakers use it. We just prefer to give a little more and let you pay for a little less. My tip: Always ask what sizes your cake layers will be so that you can accurately compare 2 or more companies wedding cake pricing.
6. Where did the name Piece Of Cake come from? Does it have any relation to the 1985 movie, Piece of Cake, starring Harrison Ford and a young Britney Spears?
A: The name Piece Of Cake actually has no relation to the 1985 movie Piece Of Cake, because that movie does not exist.
7. How many cake companies should we visit for cake tastings?
A: You probably think that since we are a cake company, that I'm going to tell you that you should only meet with us, right? Well you'd be wrong. We suggest you attend tastings with 2 or 3 Maricopa County licensed cake shops before making your decision. After all, the best way to feel supremely confident about a decision is to know that you have explored your options and that you know what else is out there (hey, you're not marrying the only guy you ever dated right?). Only then can you make an informed decision about the coolest cake you will ever buy. Besides... we don't want you to choose Piece of Cake because we're the only place you went, we want you to choose us because, after weighing the options, you decide that you'd have to be nuts not to work with us.
8. Should I use a licensed bakery or someone that makes wedding cakes from their home?
A: In 2011 a law passed in Arizona allowing anyone to sell baked good prepared in their home. There are no inspections required and no restrictions on whether or not they can have pets in the household (I love cats as much as the next person, but I wouldn't want them jumping onto the counter to check out my cake after a trip to the litter box). Since unlicensed cake companies are uninspected by any government agency they are not held to any standards of food preparation cleanliness.
When you choose any wedding vendor, you should choose a company that gives you peace of mind (it's a big day and you have a lot going on). The fact is, that if you conduct your cake tasting at a Starbuck's and hand over a deposit check, the only way you have to find this person again is likely a cell phone number.
Unfortunately, we get "emergency wedding cake" calls and emails every single month from couples who have had their cake person "disappear" or "quit doing wedding cakes" a week or 2 before their wedding date. Make certain that you do your homework before selecting any wedding cake provider (or any wedding vendor for that matter).
We recommend that all couples search the Restaurant Ratings on the Maricopa County web site and make certain that the baker you are considering is licensed and inspected. If they aren't listed there, they aren't inspected.
9. Do you require a deposit?
A: We require a 50% deposit with the final payment 2 weeks prior to the wedding.
10. Can we use fresh flowers directly on my cake?
A: Absolutely. fresh flowers are a wonderful accent on a wedding cake, however you do need to be careful. fresh Flowers to go on a cake have possibly been treated with insecticides and pesticides and some flowers and greenery are just straight up poisonous. Check with your florist!
11. Do people really eat the top tier of their wedding cake after it has been frozen for a year?
A: Sure... usually crazy people... and I don't mean the "good" crazy. Most sane folks throw away something that has been in the freezer for more than a few months. Can you imagine busting out a bag of tater tots that have been in your freezer for 12 months to celebrate a special occasion (I've done it, it's not as cool as it sounds). But since it is tradition to eat the top tier on your 1st anniversary, and POC would never rob you of tradition, we actually create a 6" anniversary cake for you on your 1st, 5th, 10th, 25th, and 50th wedding anniversaries for all of our wedding cakes for 100 or more guests. 11 months or so after the wedding, just give us a call or visit http://www.freeanniversarycake.com and we will arrange a time for you to stop into the shop and pick up your fresh cake.
12. I've noticed that some cake companies say that their cakes are "baked with love" but your site says nothing about baking with love. What up with that?
A: Admittedly I haven't a clue what "baking with love" even means... it kinda creeps me out. I can however assure you that we abide by the rules set forth in the Maricopa County Food Code, and I can say with supreme confidence that the code is firmly against serving food that has been the recipient of any "act of love". Hopefully that answers your question.
13. Any advice on ornaments & cake toppers?
A. When picking an ornament for your cake, consider the weight. Icing and cake are soft so very heavy ornaments must have some extra support in the cake. If you do select a heavy ornament and it should fall from the top, it can do damage to tiers as gravity pulls it downward. Most importantly, let your cake decorator know what you have selected as a cake topper to make sure there are no problems. I always tell couples that I can put a bowling ball on top of a cake as long as I know it is going to be there... it's when I don't know that could pose a challenge.
14. I see a lot of companies say their cakes "taste as good as they look", but not you guys. What's the dealio?
A: The easy answer is that sometimes our cakes taste as good as they look, sometimes they taste worse than they look, and sometimes they taste better than they look. If a couple brings us a hideous cake design and picks awesome flavors...that cake is going to taste better than it looks. If they design an amazing cake but choose carrot cake with chocolate mint filling, well that one is definitely going to look better than it tastes. That's why we recommend choosing an amazing design with awesome flavors.
15. Why are wedding cakes so much more expensive than cakes that you buy at the bakery?
A: Wedding cakes are much more labor-intensive than, for instance, a regular birthday cake. The difference lies in the fact that many of the decorations on a wedding cake have to be made ahead of time, and the cake itself takes much longer to assemble due to the fact that they're just bigger! They're built with a system of supports and separators that prevent them from collapsing, and it takes time to put it all together. The cost of the ingredients, while more for some types of cake than others, is usually not the deciding factor in the cost of a wedding cake. Rather, the type of decoration and the time involved in assembling the cake itself is what determines the final cost. You are also paying for the expertise of the baker/decorator, and this is one time that you often "get what you pay for."
16. We have a limited budget, and I'm not sure if we can get the cake we want for what we can afford to spend.
A: Don't be afraid to bring up your budget with us or other vendors. We would rather have someone tell us how much they've been planning on spending up front, rather than find out after we've gone through the design process that the cake we've worked out is beyond what they were looking to spend. We find that most people who come to talk to us have a reasonable idea of how much a cake will be, but the cost of some types of decorations can add up. It's better to talk about your budget right away if it's a big issue, so that we can work with it while designing the cake.
17. If we get a fake cake for display and serve sheet cakes is it cheaper than having a real entire wedding cake?
A: Not really. A small number of decorators who are bad at math actually do charge less for this but the rest of the industry can't figure out why. Let me explain why it's not cheaper ... Let's say you want to serve 150 people and you want a 4 tier cake. If the whole wedding cake were real, here is the ultrasimplified breakdown of the steps the baker takes. 1. the baker buys the ingredients for your 4 tiers, 2. bakes them up, 3. decorates them. They bought 160 servings worth of ingredients and decorated 4 cakes. Easy Peasy.
If the display cake is fake and you have sheet cakes to feed the 160 guests, here are the steps they now need to take. 1. Buy the 4 tiers of styrofoam for the fake tiers (which cost around $25 for all four) , 2. buy the ingredients for the 160 servings (same amount of guests, so the same amount of ingredients are used) 3. Decorate the styrofoam layers, 4. Bake the sheet cakes, 5. Decorate the sheet cakes (usually done with simpler decorations).
As you can see, due to the Styrofoam layers, the baker actually spends $25 more on ingredients and now decorates 5 cakes (4 fake, 1 real) instead of 4 using this method.
Sure, some bakers have a "We'll give you 3% back if you return it" offer so they can save a few bucks that way (after all they are paying you $9 for your $300 fake cake and that styrofoam would cost them $25 new) but the math still doesn't work out and it is realistically only cheaper if a decorator is more comfortable working with fake cakes and discounts their service based on that. The reason some bakers promote fake cakes is that using fake tiers allows a less skilled decorator to make cakes that look better than they would have if they had to shape a real cake with frosting, which is one of the skills that really separates a pro from a hobbyist.
18. Why doesn't your "About us" page give a warm and fuzzy history of your journey into baking like I see on so many other cake company websites? Didn't your love of baking start at an early age because of your grandmother or something?
A: I've got to tell you, those pages crack me up. If you are reading this and don't know what I'm talking about, here is an example of what appears on like 70% of all cake company sites on the web:
"At the tender age of 3 Mary accidentally baked herself into a pineapple upside down cake and was partially consumed by her older sister while friends and family sang Happy Birthday. Mary's sister may have eaten her pinky toe, but fortunately she didn't eat Mary's love for baking. In 2012 Mary decided that after taking a month of cake decorating classes that it was time to hone her cake skills the only way she knew how... on your wedding cake! Mary also enjoys watching Saved By The Bell, letting her cat walk on her countertops, and creating charcoal drawings of Brad Pitt in a Santa suit. Call Mary today for a wedding cake that people will be talking about for years."
I think we'll just keep ours like it is.
19. You made our wedding cake last year, how do we order our anniversary cake?
A: Happy Anniversary! Just visit FreeAnniversaryCake.com and fill out your details and we will shoot you an email reply confirming everything.
20. I have heard that fondant tastes terrible, is that true?
A: Unfortunately fondant gets a bad rap because the one brand of fondant that is most readily available nationwide tastes... well... like feet. It's kind of like eating boiled brussels sprouts and then deciding "I hate vegetables", when really you have only tried the worst of the bunch. There are some great homemade and commercially available fondants on the market, so if you like a design that will look better in fondant don't be afraid to have your baker whip some fondant out so you can decide for yourself. Ours tastes like marshmallow and many a "fondant hater" has been caught eating globs of it during our tastings.
21. We want to have an outdoor reception. How will this affect our cake choices?
A: Since heat is the mortal enemy of buttercream, an outdoor reception will limit your choices, sometimes severely. Depending on the weather, you may want have to go with fondant as a covering for your cake, since buttercreams will melt and slide off the cake if it's too hot. You may also have to avoid fillings that are perishable, depending on how long the cake will be sitting out in the heat. If it's at all possible, arrange to keep the cake in an air-conditioned area until it's time to cut it, and this might open up your options. However, whether buttercream or fondant, it is never recommended to have a cake sitting outdoors in temperatures over 85 degrees.
Another consideration is wind. If your buttercream cake is sitting outside at any time of year and the wind starts stirring up dirt... you are probably going to have dirt & twig pieces embedded into your cake. With fondant a lot of that stuff will bounce off leaving your cake looking pretty for photos. We recommend fondant for all outdoor receptions because of this reason.
22. How does serving alcohol affect how much cake we order?
A: During our cake tastings this question always comes up so I thought I would address it here (albeit a year or so late). To answer this question I usually ask the following question of the bride & groom; "Think about a time when you have had a few drinks in you, did you feel like eating cake or did you feel like eating Taco Bell?" Oddly enough nobody has ever said "cake". You can usually knock off another 5-10% from your wedding cake servings count if you are serving alcohol.
23. Can we get more than one flavor of cake, or does it all have to be the same?
A: At POC, you can have as many flavors as you have cake tiers, and at no extra charge. If you do choose to have more than two flavors you may want to order a larger cake than you would normally, because people tend to go back for seconds if there are more than two flavors... especially if the cake is really good.
24. We saw a cake in a wedding magazine that we love. Would it be possible for a baker to copy it?
A: Probably. Over half of the wedding cakes we make are inspired by something a bride saw in a magazine. Be aware that many of the cakes shown in magazines are very labor-intensive. When you get a price quote from a baker for the design that you want, it may be substantially more than you were planning on budgeting for the cake. If that's the case, you should work with your baker to imitate the elements of your cake that you love, but eliminate some of the other details. Also, keep in mind that since cakes are decorated by hand, each person's style will be slightly different. We can mimic designs pretty well, but there will always be the imprint of our style on the cake.
Also make sure you are realistic when you choose a baker. Look closely at their photos for bumpy fondant or craterous buttercream. Just because you think they are nice and they are cheap doesn't mean they can pull off the design you are requesting and make it awesome. That's why we're neither nice nor cheap. ;)
25. Will you recreate ANY cake?
A: At POC, we won't recreate ANY cake, but we will recreate most designs. The only exception is that we will not copy the well known "signature" design of another Arizona decorator. i.e. Tammie Coe's signature design is the cake with striped and draped fondant... if you want that cake, you should give her a call. We have too much respect for the other local professionals in our industry. That being said... Tammie Coe is the only decorator I can think of who has a true signature design that is well known, but if more come up we will happily show them the same respect.
26. How come people tell you to stay a kid for as long as you can, yet the moment you do anything childish or immature they tell you to grow up?
A: Don't I know it!! If you find out the answer to this one... drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.