Ordering a wedding cake for a summer wedding may feel like risky business, especially if you're planning an outdoor reception. To avoid a messy outcome, you'll want to rely on your cake baker's sage advice with regards to delivery timing, cake placement, frosting, and serving. We're here to help, too. We asked two top wedding cake bakers to share their tips for ensuring your summer wedding cake looks perfect throughout the celebration.
Consider the timeline.
Most bakers try to deliver the wedding cake as close to cutting time as possible. Baker Megan Joy, owner of Megan Joy Cakes, says, "We always deliver our cakes chilled, since firm cake is easier to transport and set up than warm, softened cake. We also build in a few hours from setup to serving time to let the cake temper to the perfect temperature." You'll want to work with your catering team and planner to figure out when the ideal time to serve your dessert will be—remember that you'll want dinner and speeches out of the way before the cake gets sliced.
Keep the cake in a shaded area or inside.
Setting the cake table in an area that's shaded and cool is key to keeping it in great condition throughout the reception. "Sometimes the light will shift throughout the afternoon," Joy says, "and it's necessary to keep that in mind because the sun shining directly onto your cake can not only cause melting, but it can sometimes change the color, too." To avoid discoloration and melting, opt for a shady table location. If it's not possible, keep the confection indoors until you're ready to cut.
Be prepared with the right ingredients.
Couples are often drawn to the look of classic buttercream cakes, but these frosted treats usually aren't strong enough to hold up to hot summer weather. Betsy Thorliefson, owner of Nine Cakes, says, "While more time consuming to prepare, we make an Italian meringue buttercream that works well throughout the year. It's luxurious, delicious, and not too sweet so it's a perfect choice for summer." The stable buttercream won't break or melt easily, so ask your cake baker if this is an option.
When All Else Fails, Cut the Cake Early
If all else fails and it's so hot your cake starts to sweat, discolor, or look questionable in any way, it might be worth cutting the cake earlier than you'd planned. If this is a concern, you might want to ask your caterer or wedding planner to keep an eye on the cake and let them know you're happy to cut it early if necessary.