Chocolate, carrot, buttercream, three-tiered? The choices are endless so here’s what to ask to ensure your cake is a sumptuous success.

By Real Simple
Updated July 30, 2008
Traditional wedding cake

1. How long before the wedding will the cake be baked?

Because it’s labor-intensive, making a wedding cake is usually not a one-day job. The layers may be baked in advance, but you don’t want frozen or stale cake. Two to three days before will be safe.

2. Will you personally transport the cake?

If you’re having the cake delivered, find out if the baker or the cake decorator will be on hand to assemble or to touch up decorations on site.

3. Is there an extra charge for the platter or cutting and serving utensils?

Bakers may offer you a choice of display plates, which will likely require a deposit that you will get back when you return the plates. (Ask how much time you have to return them.)

4. I have guests with allergies. What are my options?

If your baker isn’t equipped to provide, say, a gluten-free cake, she may work with another local bakery that does.

5. How will the cake be displayed?

The aesthetics of a gorgeous cake can be ruined if the cake is plopped on a foil-covered board. Ask about renting a cake stand, a mirror, or a silver platter. Or ask that any board under-lay be decorated to match the cake. You can also find inexpensive cake stands at or local vintage and home-goods stores.

6. Can I see pictures of cakes you’ve made recently?

You can show a baker a magazine clipping and he may say that he can do it, but seeing the kinds of cakes he makes most often will give you a better idea of his skills.

7. What if I want fresh flowers on the cake?

Ask your baker to accommodate the design―and find out the best way to coordinate getting blooms from your florist to the baker. Often the florist will arrange the flowers for you. Ask that the flowers be pesticide-free, and supply the baker with a sketch or a photo of the flowers as soon as possible so that he can design around it.

8. How do you figure out the per-slice cost?

Most bakers have a basic per-slice cost; the price rises when you add “extras,” like a more elaborate design or a more exotic filling.

9. Can we taste a piece of one of your cakes?

You should be able to, though probably not a specialty flavor. Most bakers have the most requested flavors on hand.