A rectangular, thin cake may not be the traditional wedding cake design, but wedding sheet cake can be just as delicious as any elaborate pastry and it is far more affordable for many couple's budgets.
What Is Sheet Cake?
A sheet cake is a simple cake baked in a flat, rectangular shape instead of multiple tiers. Sheet cakes can still be layered and the flavors can still be as luxurious as any wedding cake options. Because of their shape, sheet cakes are generally faster to make and decorate, and they are also less hassle to store, transport, cut, and serve. This can add up to significant savings for any couple interested in shaving costs off their wedding cake without sacrificing this joyous dessert.
Benefits of Wedding Sheet Cake
There are several benefits to using a sheet cake in place of a larger, more elaborate wedding cake.
- Cost: Typical wedding cake prices range from $2 to $10 or more per slice of cake depending on the shape, flavors, and cake design. This can add up quickly when a couple has a guest list of hundreds to plan dessert for. Sheet cakes, on the other hand, can cost just $1 to $3 per slice.
- Speed: A designer bakery may require wedding cake reservations months in advance, but they can usually create lovely and delicious sheet cakes much more quickly. This is the perfect solution for couples planning a surprise wedding or who don't have months to plan their nuptials.
- Waste: Because wedding cakes are often elaborately arranged, much of the cake may be wasted as it is cut because it falls apart or is otherwise unsuitable to be served. Sheet cakes are much sturdier and less of the dessert will be wasted as it is served.
- Safety: Wedding cake disasters are not unheard of, and a wedding sheet cake is a much safer option for a wedding with lots of children, unpredictable weather, or where the cake may be subject to stresses in transportation.
- Symmetry: Because a sheet cake is rectangular, it is much easier to cut into equal pieces to serve.
Sheet Cake Designs
A sheet cake can be just as lovely as any tiered cake and couples have many options to personalize a sheet cake to match their celebration. Popular choices include:
- Airbrushed or iced photographs on the surface of the sheet cake
- Fresh or edible flowers around the sides of the cake
- A small second tier in the corner of the cake to add height
- Coordinated icing colors to match the wedding
- Whimsical scenes with figurines, icing, and other decorative details on the surface of the cake
- Words or phrases of love, congratulations, and wedding wishes iced onto the cake
- Satellite cakes, or small sheet cakes that are arranged around a more traditional tiered cake to add more servings at a lower cost
- Small sheets arranged on a tiered wedding cake stand to mimic the traditional cake profile
Fake Wedding Cakes
Couples who still want a traditional tiered cake but crave the affordability of a sheet cake can do both cheaply and easily. Fake weddings cakes made from frosted cardboard or foam models can be lovely options for a wedding decoration, even if they aren't edible. Some bakeries wedding companies will loan or rent these display cakes. While couples will need to pay for the icing and decoration of the fake cake, it is still cheaper to do this and serve sheet cake than to create an entire designer wedding cake. In this way, couples get the appearance of an elaborate cake with the convenience and affordability of a sheet cake.To cut a fake cake, one of the tiers may be real or there may be a real slice inserted discreetly into the fake cake with telltale decorations marking where the couple should cut that symbolic slice. This preserves a fun wedding tradition while eliminating the fuss and expense of a full wedding cake.
Serving Sheet Cake
Most sheet cakes for weddings are kept out of sight of guests and are cut and served discreetly from the kitchen after the couple has made their symbolic first cut of the wedding cake. With the savings on the cost of the cake itself, couples can also choose a number of easy ways to dress up each slice of sheet cake to make it an elegant dessert their guests will enjoy.
- Decorate each plate with a swirl or heart of chocolate or fruit sauce.
- Add a cut strawberry or a few other berries to the plate.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa over the cake slice and plate.
- Add a decorative dab of icing to each plate.
- Choose garnishes that complement the cake flavor, such as a sprig of mint for a chocolate cake or a lemon wedge for a spring sponge cake.
Other Ways to Save on Wedding Cakes
If using a sheet cake isn't quite frugal enough for your wedding budget, there are other ways to still have your cake and eat it too.
- Choose a simple, classic cake flavor instead of gourmet combinations.
- Learn how to cut a wedding cake yourself to avoid cutting or serving charges.
- Opt for cake alternatives, such as cupcake wedding cakes, cookies, or tiers of wedding truffles.
- Arrange to set up the cake yourself to avoid delivery charges.
- Say no to an "anniversary" cake as part of the wedding cake package.
A wedding sheet cake can be just as beautiful and delicious as any tiered treat, and couples will savor the ease and savings that sheet cakes can provide.