A Sweet Debate

So it’s official… I’ve been roped in… asked to take a side…  What side might that be?  The biggest debate in the wedding industry – cake or cupcakes?!  Which is better?  What will my guests like more?  What will my fiancé and I like more?  What is more cost-efficient?  These are all great questions and since I haven’t quite decided where I stand, I’ll be comparing the following categories: cost, style, & tradition to see who comes out frosted on top!   Cake? or Cupcakes? 

Okay, so what’s the cost?
Initially cupcakes exploded on the wedding reception scene because they were cheaper than a cake… but then bakers realized they had to individually bake, frost, and decorate every single one of those little suckers!  Cupcakes can be very time consuming and thus have become less “cheaper” than cakes.  Depending on how fancy you want your cupcakes decorated you may be better off getting a cake.  Current market prices for cupcakes range from $1.60 each to $3 per cupcake for basic frosting & decoration.  If you and your fiancé want something specific on your cupcakes (think fondant circle initials!), then you’ll need to check and compare prices. 

How cool are those fondant monograms?!


Last little side note – some venues will still charge you a cake cutting fee (usually around $1.50 per person) even if you’re having cupcakes… just something to think about!  =) 

Cake prices can come with the most modest, budget friendly price tag… all the way to a “I-could-have-payed-for-my-college-education-for-that-much-money!” price tag.  J

Just like cupcakes, cake prices depend on how many guests you’re serving and how elaborate you want the cake decorated.  Most bakeries charge more for fondant vs. butter cream frosting.  A classic butter cream wedding cake can be as affordable as $2.50 per serving all the way to $4.25 per serving.   Throw on some fondant or a few gum paste flowers and now you’re looking at $5.25 per serving.  A great, affordable option that you can’t get away with when having cupcakes, is the ability to serve the majority of your guests from sheet cake!  Double-layer cakes (4” tall!) with fillings run around $2.50-$3.00 per serving and your guests will never know the difference!  Another bonus when choosing a cake, most bakeries will make you a complimentary 6” round cake on your one-year anniversary.  This is the perfect solution for folks who do not like the idea of eating year-old frozen cake! 

Next, let’s look at style:

There’s just something about unwrapping your own little piece of deliciousness!  Personally, I love cupcakes!  They are fun, individual (I can visually see how many I’ve eaten!) and allow you to have much more of a variety.  You can have as many different flavors, frostings, and filling combinations as your baker can handle.  Who doesn’t like variety?!  Cupcakes are a great reception treat for the fun and trendy bride & groom who don’t have that “traditional” mom breathing down there neck (sorry Mom!).   Plus you get to really play with that cupcake stand! 

Now, if you’re having a more traditional wedding or just really want that photo opt with your beloved cutting that gorgeous cake then my recommendation is, call it a day and go with the cake!  Plus if the majority of your guests are traditional folks, they may think cupcakes aren’t cute… There are so many different styles, frostings, flowers, etc when it comes to decorating your cake.  The options are endless!  So sit down with your baker and let him/her get to know you & your fiancé.  Work together to come up with a design that encompasses the wedding and your personality as a couple.   You’ll end up loving your cake so much you’ll wonder why you even considered cupcakes! 

Lastly – The Traditions:
The wedding cake is a tradition that dates back as early as the Roman Empire (yep, that long ago!).  The original “cake” was actually a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride’s head as a symbol of his dominance in the marriage and over her.  Guests would then scramble for crumbs that fell to the floor.  These crumbs symbolized fertility (where do they come up with this stuff?!).  Thankfully that tradition disappeared fairly quickly!  Eventually Roman bakers began creating small, sweet cakes and the tradition of crumbling the cakes and then throwing the crumbs over the brides head began (possibly a segway into the throwing of rice tradition?!…).  Eventually what we now recognize as the modern wedding cake sprung from the 20th century.  Either way, you can see why brides have such a hard time letting go of this long standing tradition!   Least I remind you that the cake cutting is another tradition all on its own!  Having the bride and groom cut the cake together symbolizes their first joint task in married life.   The gesture of feeding cake to one another is a symbol of the commitment that the bride and groom are making to provide for one another.  So what have we learned today?  There are a lot of traditions wrapped up in that gleaming tower of sugar, milk, eggs & flour!

For those superstitious brides out there who don’t want to toss out tradition but still want fun and flirty can have the best of both worlds!  I have two great suggestions!  First, ask your baker to make you a supersized cupcake that looks just like the mini cupcakes (well, only in comparison!) your guests will be getting.  One that’s large enough for you and your honey to cut and feed each other from.  My second suggestion – have your baker make a 6” or 8” cake for you two to cut.  Most cupcake stands have enough room on the very top to hold a 6” cake – so it’s like your own unique cake-topper!  You can have your cake and eat it too!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

You and your hubby could easily cut that gigantic cupcake!


So what’s the verdict?!  The decision must be made – who’s side am I on?!  Well, when it comes down to it, I’m going to be on whatever side is best for each of my brides!!  (Stop it!  I can hear your “boo”-ing from here!).  But for those of you who are dying to know, I will be making this exact decision very soon for my own wedding.  So which will we choose?  My future hubby and I will be going with a ………. (drum roll please!) ……… CAKE!