We went to our first cake testing/meeting last week. We met with Marie at Sweets by Marie. She runs the business out of her house, where she has a licensed bakery in her basement. She was recommended to me by a few people on The Knot, so we decided to try her out. I walked away from that meeting with only one conclusion.
Her buttercream frosting? F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.
Oh. my. gosh.
To die for. Seriously.
OK, so maybe I wouldn't die for it. But still. I can actually smell its deliciousness as I sit here remembering it. Yum.
Anyway, we walked into the meeting with a few photos of cakes we liked. Marie sat us down at her table and gave us each a small piece of cake (vanilla with buttercream frosting) that she had baked for us. We talked about the usual--number of guests, what types of cakes/frosting we like (NO fondant allowed!). We looked through the books of the cakes she has designed, and I showed her the pictures of the ones I found online. We came up with a preliminary design, and she gave us price quotes for square, and for round.
Here are two photos of our cake "inspiration." The first is from The Knot gallery, and the second is from knottie carrann:
Things we really liked about Marie:
1) She suggested having a smaller cake for display/cutting, and then making a regular round cake to keep in the back. It's exactly the same kind of cake, frosted, etc. but just isn't decorated. Guests don't know the difference/don't care, and it saves money.
I liked that. No trying to upsell us and convince us that we need to buy each and every guest a piece of cake that costs $2.75 a slice. She also said we probably don't need to plan to have a piece of cake for every guest--not everyone eats it, and there are always plenty of leftovers.
2) In line with tradition, I asked about freezing the top layer for our first anniversary. She balked at the idea; she said she doesn't want us eating one of her delicious cakes after it's been sitting in the freezer for a year. Mostly because, well, after that amount of time--it's not so delicious.
Instead, she said, she will make us a free "anniversary cake." All we have to do is call her up a week or two before our first anniversary, and she'll make us a small cake for us to enjoy together. Same exact cake--just better. Fresh.
3) Her prices. Even though it is $2.75 a slice, which still sounds like highway robbery--compared to others, she's very reasonable. She also makes Italian cookie trays, which, in Michael's family, are a MUST HAVE at weddings. So it'll be nice to be able to go through one person for everything.
4) Did I mention she sent us home with cake?? We had the small slices while we were at her house, and at the end of our meeting, she said, "oh, I'm going to send you home with the rest of that cake." It was a small little sample cake that she made--but it was glorious! :) We each had another slice when we got home from her house, and then we couldn't help but polish it off after dinner the next evening. Way too good to leave lying around the house for long.
We walked out of there pretty damn certain that we'll be going with Marie. But since she was our first cake testing/appointment, we figure--what the hell--we may as well go to a few more.
Free cake. Delicious cake. What's the harm?