In the world of frosting, there are two big hitters: buttercream and fondant, and there are pros and cons to each—including cost. Buttercream is typically less expensive. Fondant, on the other hand, requires extra steps and materials, and can be difficult to work with, making it more expensive. But do your due diligence regardless and don't assume your cake will be less expensive with buttercream: You might want a smooth, seemingly simple appliqué finish on a buttercream cake, when in reality, this pristine style requires precision and time. Long story short, you may not save as much as you'd hoped. And some bakers may charge you extra for fondant, especially if you're requesting a lace appliqué or a detailed pattern design, so it's good to ask your baker these questions up front.
Sugar flowers will always cost more than fresh flowers. Why? Because they are very time consuming to make, and require a skilled hand, with knowledge on how to construct, wire, etc. a beautiful looking flower made from sugar! Sugar flowers can start at about $15 per flower – the more complex the flower design, the higher the price. As much a I love, love, love sugar flowers on a cake, most couples do not have the budget to spend $200-300 on just sugar flowers alone, I get it! So, unless you do, opt for fresh flowers instead.
Let's start with cake shapes. Beyond a traditionally round cake, there are so many other options to consider. Square cakes are a popular choice to showcase a modern aesthetic. But there are also hexagonal, oval, petal-shaped and even triangular cakes with personalities all their own. We’ve even seen asymmetrical or purposely off-center tiers for a whimsical look (Alice in Wonderland, anyone?).
I find making sugar flowers calming, there's simething quite zen about the repetetive task of making petals, and it gives a great sense of achievment, but it does take some time. If making your own flowers it's best to start early. The cake I made uses my friend's favourite flowers, poppies, made from sugar, and making 12 of these took me a good couple of days. The method for the poppies can be used for other open petalled flowers, such as open roses and anemones.
My boyfriend and I are actually thinking of customising an M&S cake for our wedding cake – the plan is to make fondant icing safari animals to place around the sides and then we have Ryu and Chun-Li figurines (from the Street Fighter computer game) to put on top to hopefully make it look a bit like a stage of the computer game. It’s not really part of a theme as such, just something that we both happen to love!