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Wedding Cake Vendors - reviewed - Nothing to See Here

Aug. 12th, 2006

11:54 pm - Wedding Cake Vendors - reviewed

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So, I figured it would be a good idea to give a run-down of the wedding cake vendors we visited ... keeping in mind that the one we selected is actually left out, not because we don't want other people to know about our super-sekrit cake vendor, but because they don't actually want to get into the business of making wedding cakes and they're doing ours as a favour.

So, with that disclaimer of sorts out of the way, on to the list...

Vendor Recommended Price Range (est./guess) Comments
Costco, all over the place Maybe. Definitely if price is a big concern. $15/48-slice sheet cake Costco sheet cakes are ludicrously cheap, so if you're doing things on a budget and either don't need to have a real wedding cake or want to get a small "presentation cake" from a bakery but use Costco sheet cakes to feed all your guests, you could get away with this. Costco's sheet cakes are not inspirational, but they are really decent. They are far better than, e.g., Margaret's French Bakery and Icing on the Cake, IMHO, and look at the price differential.
Fleur de Cocoa, Los Gatos Strongly recommended! $4-9/slice Fleur de Cocoa's cakes are made in the french style, which means (apparently) a lot of mousse and a little bit of cake (through the middle). Their mousses are hands down the best mousses we tried, and everything about their cakes is yummy and wonderful. The ones we particulalry like are the Fleur de Cocoa (dark chocolate mousse, dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache), Fleur de Vanille (tahitian vanilla mouse, yellow cake, white chocolate ganache), and the Red and Black (dark chocolate mousse and ganache, but with seedless raspberry through the middle, with the cake(?)). Their wedding cakes start at $7/slice (really... start at; not terribly complex decoration was going to add $160; customization would cost extra also), but they can do sheet cakes if you want to do the "presentation cake" thing, and those started at $4/slice or something. Alternatively, they have individual cakes for $5.25 a piece. These are the same individual cakes they sell in their store, and at the same price. Tasting appointment consists of 2 free samples (individual cakes), with further samples being ... you buy other individual cakes. Note: The "Red and Black" is usually only available on weekends, though with enough notice they may be able to accomodate you. It was a really tough decision between Fleur de Cocoa and the vendor we went with.
Margaret's French Bakery, Campbell No! $4-5/slice(?) Cake was dry. Flavours and mousses entirely uninspiring.
Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos Not really. low-mid range Tastings are constructed on-demand using cupcakes and icings/fillings on certain prescribed Saturdays. No appointment necessary. See web site... but... well, probably don't bother. The cake was only ok.
Sugar Butter Flour, Los Gatos/Santa Clara Yes! low-mid range They're based in Los Gatos, I believe, but they actually bake their cakes in the kitchens of Mission College, Santa Clara, and do tastings there too. The cakes were excellent. They're all-round really good, and they laid on a mind-boggling tasting of 10 different cakes (each an individual cake, decorated and all). It was quite the feast. BTW, They had awesome tiramisu and carrot cake (I don't typically like carrot cake at all, but this stuff was actually good...). Actually, urox says, "Sugar Butter Flour has the best tiramisu and carrot cakes that I have ever tasted in my life. And I've tasted quite a wide range of tiramisu." We didn't select them for our wedding cake, but I would totally recommend them as a place to taste and consider, and I'm definitely hoping to order cakes for other occasions from them.
Woodside Bakery, Woodside Yes! low-mid range Woodside Bakery has the fluffiest, most delectable cake. Their mousses were also really good, but nothing beats Fleur de Cocoa in the mousse department. We're so going to have to patronise Woodside Bakery in future!
Citizen Cake, San Francisco Maybe... $7-13/slice Citizen Cake's cakes were innovative and yummy, but their prices are decidedly on the high end, and they have a very contemporary style, so if their style is what you're looking for, fantastic, but they don't do traditional wedding cake decoration. Also, I don't think their cakes keep as well as some of the others.
Copenhagen Bakery, Burlingame Not really. $4-6 Copenhagen Bakery's cakes were pretty decent, but not exciting, especially after a lot of really good cakes.

... so there you have it. That's the way the cake crumbles.

Current Location: home
Current Mood: busydilligent

Comments:

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From:azhdragon
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:02 am (UTC)
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/me has never understood the american thing with wedding cakes.

what's wrong with the British tradition of a two-layer fruitcake, where you (traditionally!) keep the top layer for either your first anniversary, or the christening cake of the first baby, whichever comes first.

:-)

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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
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(1) I'm not American
(2) I hate fruit cake! No bloody way!
(3) Americans follow the same tradition of crappy 1-year-frozen cake (though some have the sense to either have it early -- e.g. my boss and his wife had theirs after 6 months -- when it's not yet quite so hideous, or get a small cake of the same type from the same vendor again on their 1-year anniversary, an even better idea).

Actually, one of the vendors (hmm... Sugar Butter Flour, I think) included a 1-year anniversary cake in the price, so on your 1-year anniversary you could get a small cake "free". Kind of cool, since it avoids you feeling light you ought to waste a cake-sized chunk of your freezer for a year in order to inflict awful cake on yourself on your anniversary (a time which ought to be, well, good, not bad).
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From:azhdragon
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:24 am (UTC)
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1) no kidding.
(thinks about this, and realises you probably haven't realised who I am. It'll occur to you, I'm sure.)

2) heh. there are good fruitcakes. I should know, I am one. (and that should give you a clue)

3) The good thing about fruitcake is ... you don't have to freeze it.

but anyway, I digress.

Perhaps the fruitcake thing is not so much British as it is English. It's also fairly Australian. (another clue)

:-)
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:28 am (UTC)
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How can you possibly imagine that I wouldn't know who you were, inki? I mean, seriously. Ye of little faith. I'm not stupid. :) It took me longer to realise that it was a new LJ username. The fact that it was you was evident from the username without thinking about it.
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From:azhdragon
Date:August 13th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)
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It took me longer to realise that it was a new LJ username.

there is a reason for it.

this will be made (more) obvious in the next couple of days.

if you're *dying* of curiosity, you can find me on sorcery.net, or you can email me at azhdragon @ gmail dot com.
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
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I shall wait with bated breath. Or something. :)
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:31 am (UTC)
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There are good fruit cakes. Don't forget, I'm not American. It's Americans who have a nationwide shared hatred (and yet they make them and give them to each other and stuff -- I think it's some form of warfare) of fruit cake. No, I know there are good fruit cakes. I extremely dislike all fruit cakes. It does not matter how good they are.
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From:lyssabits
Date:August 13th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
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The vendor we went with for our wedding cake provides another cake on your 1 year anniversary, as do many other vendors, as I'm sure you've found out. Ours though had the added bonus of giving you the "top" of the cake (not really, it was just a top-sized seperate cake) to take home the next day in addition to the anniversary cake, since as she said, you often don't get a chance to eat the cake at your own wedding. ;) I made sure to get cake, but Jonathan and I enjoyed that cake for the next few days as well.
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From:mavjop
Date:August 14th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
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Only one of the vendors we spoke to mentioned the included ("free") cake on your 1-year anniversary, but I guess it's a relatively common thing. :) It really is a cool idea, and making a small cake for you a year later is not a big expense for them, but is a nice added bonus for the customer, so it's a very clever idea.

The separate "top layer" to take home the next day idea's a fun one too. :) I like that.
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
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Oh, and I'm pretty certain that there is no particular "American thing with wedding cakes". It doesn't seem any different really than in Ireland, and your account of the way the Brits do things doesn't seem to me like it is entirely the case in any sort of ubiquitous way. Perhaps some people do it that way, but even if so then I am pretty sure they care about how it comes out, how it's decorated, who will make it, and so on.
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From:delphinus
Date:August 13th, 2006 10:36 am (UTC)
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We did the freeze-the-cake-for-one-year thing, and the cake was surprisingly tasty still! I do like the idea of just having another one from the same bakery, though.
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Freezer space comes at a premium. :) All we have is a freezer portion of our fridge/freezer (separate door, but it's not big--a couple of cubic feet at most, and really full right now and pretty much always).
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad yours worked out, though. :) I've heard from other people that it was not so great.
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From:urox
Date:August 13th, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC)
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Sugar Butter Flour has *the best* tiramisu and carrot cakes that I have ever tasted in my life. And I've tasted quite a wide range of tiramisu.
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From:mavjop
Date:August 13th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Added to the review!
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From:brianrubin
Date:August 13th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
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Great list. I'll definitely find this handy when it's our turn. ;)
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From:mavjop
Date:August 14th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
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It's kind of Bay Area-specific!
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From:brianwilliams
Date:August 14th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)

Haircut

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Holy cow, what's up with that hair!?!?!
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From:mavjop
Date:August 15th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)

Re: Haircut

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Heh. :) I haven't had a haircut since roughly January 2005. Initially, it just sort of happened -- I never got around to getting a haircut, despite bemoaning the fact that I needed one -- but then it became an interesting experiment. I rather like it.
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