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Sweet Treats

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For a cake that truly is the star of the show, follow these professional tips

Sweet Treat

To ensure you reserve a baker whose culinary and aesthetic abilities match your vision for your cake, book at least six months prior to your wedding date, advises Sharon Alexander, owner of Sweet Sensations boutique bakery in Newnan, Ga.

The first step is to schedule tastings with a few top contenders. When meeting with the bakers, inquire if they bake from scratch or use mixes, and ask to see pictures of cakes they have made for actual weddings. If a baker clearly specializes in a classic look, he or she may not be the best fit for your colorful, topsy-turvy request. In general, plan to order a cake that will serve about 80 percent of your guests, as some people don’t eat cake and others will leave before it’s served. Prices typically range from $400 to $1,600 or more, depending on the town, cake size and ingredients. Fondant is more expensive than buttercream, and intricate details such as sugar flowers and royal icing can really bump up the bill. In this era of “Ace of Cakes,” couples looking to personalize the traditional tower of tiers certainly can choose an architec tural masterpiece that replicates their city skyline or a scene from “Star Wars.” But Katelin Gallagher, senior editor for ProjectWedding.com, suggests using textured buttercream and herbal accents for a more organic look or fondant cutouts for a contemporary vibe. Some couples may prefer sticking with a simple white exterior and focus on memorable flavor. Sweet Sensations’ Alexander loves Neapolitan and coconut-and-lemon-curd cakes, but her top pick is a chocolate cake with dulce de leche filling. “It tastes like a candy bar!”