Yes this is a blog post written by a Cake Designer, but this post is not biased and unbalanced in favour of bespoke cake. In-fact this blog post is written to be balanced and fair, examining all the elements of both shop bought and bespoke cake.
When people meet me and discover my job is designing and creating bespoke cakes, they are often surprised by my opinion when the subject of supermarket bought cake comes up. I am not anti supermarket cake at all. In-fact I think there are some nice options on offer at high street supermarkets. I even go as far to say that there are times when supermarket cake does the job perfectly.
I believe the situation or event determines the type of cake you may like and need. For example, if you were celebrating a birthday of a colleague in the office it probably wouldn’t be necessary to commission an elaborate cake creation. Actually it would probably be the wrong thing to do and it’s much easier to pop into your local supermarket and pick something up. For this scenario I would encourage you to buy a supermarket cake – it will be everything you need it to be.
For a milestone birthday you may want something more specific and special than what a supermarket can offer. Maybe you are catering for people with varied tastes or dietary requirements and want to ensure that the cake is something that everyone can enjoy.
The cake I made last week for a 30th birthday is the perfect example. The birthday girl is vegan, so she wanted a cake without any dairy, but her family are not vegan and like “traditional” flavours. So we went with two tiers, the top being a chocolate vegan sponge for her, and the bottom tier a vanilla sponge for the family to enjoy.
She also wanted the cake to have the “wow” factor and go with her pink colour scheme. She said at 30 she wanted to show you are never too old for princess cake and wanted a tiara topper, so I created a handmade tiara out of sugar.
A supermarket bought cake simply wouldn’t fit the bill for this situation.
I would say the main features and benefits of shop bought cake are as follows:
Some good tasting straightforward flavours (i.e. chocolate or vanilla)
What you see is what you get
Bespoke cake features as follows:
Unique due to being tailor made
Show-stopping due to the attention to details
Fresh ingredients and bespoke flavours
Plus, a bespoke cake is an experience – designing it and approving sketches, tasting samples and flavours through to seeing the final product.
Comparing bespoke cakes and shop bought cakes is like comparing apples and pears. Often they are not like for like products. For example the depth of a shop bought cake is typically 2-2.5” whereas bespoke is anywhere from 3”- 5”.
Shop bought cakes will be more affordable due to production methods and types of designs that are selected for retail. But, a bespoke cake is a one-off creation, designed with you and your requirements in mind without the limits of an off-the-shelf cake. Each cake has their place.
Some people may be anxious about committing to a bespoke cake because they are not certain what they will end up with. Ensure you look at reviews, recommendations and the portfolio of a cake designer and go to a consultation, if possible. I always ensure my client is clear on the budget and the quote and that there is no ambiguity in the brief. I ask for images of similar cakes or design reference points and create sketches of the design for approval before I start work on the cake creation.
There are times when a client has their heart set on a bespoke cake but they have budget or time constraints. Here are two cakes with the same theme but very different price points;
If there are these considerations do speak with your cake designer and discuss what can be done within the budget for the selected theme. I am always happy to help and advise.