Wedding Cake Tastings


This square wedding cake from Freedom Bakery in Watsonville is chic and sophisticated yet very romantic.

Wedding Cake Ideas & Tastings with Top Santa Cruz Bakeries

By Jorie Henrickson for

As bride or groom to be, you’re treated something like royalty on certain occasions. Wedding cake tastings are one of these noble events. Enjoy! To help plan your wedding, we spoke with wedding cake experts at three top bakeries in our hometown of Santa Cruz, California. Read on to learn what to expect at a cake tasting and to get inspired about wedding cake flavors and designs.


The “chocolate drip” wedding cake style offered by Hoffman’s lets guests see more flavors at once. Photo courtesy of Hoffman’s Bistro and Patisserie.

What happens at a wedding cake tasting? Tastings involve both taste and design.

  • Taste. First you’ll sit back as a true cake artisan presents for your judgment samples of rich white chocolate cheesecake, airy angel cake with raspberry mousse, or similar attempts to convey your nuptial bliss via dessert.

Choose a few favorites; your wedding cake can have several flavors. For example, one cake tier could have layers of chocolate cake and white cake separated by chocolate mousse and raspberry jam.

  • Design. After you choose your favorite cakes and fillings, you’ll decide on a cake shape and size. Round tiers are most traditional and are easily decorated to appear romantic. Santa Cruz bakeries also make square layers, hatbox-shaped layers and other geometric designs.

To provide extra servings, some couples order sheet cakes. Cupcakes are also an option for the main feature or for convenient servings that supplement a traditional wedding cake. Cupcakes are offered by all three bakeries showcased below.

Swirl Cake from the Buttery

The Buttery’s Jill Heizman adorned this buttercream wedding cake with piped ferns, fondant draping and fresh flowers.

The Buttery

Santa Cruz wedding cake tastings often begin midtown at The Buttery on Soquel Avenue. Expert baker and cake consultant Jill Heizman brings delectable samples of eight or so top sellers: rich morsels of lemon chiffon with olallieberry jam and whipped cream, German chocolate cake bursting with coconut, and other desserts that make you say “I do.”

Tastings include a moist flourless chocolate mousse cake, which Heizman says is a popular cake tier choice for couples seeking gluten-free menu options. Santa Cruz locovores like the fact that The Buttery uses local strawberries and raspberries when they’re in season.  Some Buttery cakes even feature farm-fresh fruit still on the branches.

You can schedule a wedding cake tasting at The Buttery by calling 831-458-3020. To prepare for your appointment, browse the dozens of cake decorating ideas at The Buttery’s wedding cake website.


Hoffman’s Patisserie


Beauty is only frosting deep. Each tier from this Hoffman’s wedding cake is an opportunity to decorate different cake flavors.

Moving on to downtown Santa Cruz, Hoffman’s Bistro and Patisserie on Pacific Avenue is another mainstay in the local cake industry and has been winning pastry competitions since 1984.

Wedding cake tastings with baker Ed Hoffman feature traditional American and European recipes with all-natural flavors, local eggs and other choice ingredients. Hoffman opens with two of his family’s top sellers: the Princess Torte – that’s layers of sponge cake, raspberries and whipped cream topped with marzipan – and the Signature Chocolate wedding cakefeaturing chocolate génoise and chocolate mousse.

As you move along to other samples, you realize why wedding cakes have so many layers. Who can choose a favorite? You might easily give in to classic Tiramisu, Hoffman’s unique Carrot Cake with fresh coconut and pineapple, or the Strawberry Génoise, a light sponge cake layered with strawberry mousse and topped with shavings of white chocolate.

Hoffman’s delivers wedding cakes throughout Santa Cruz and all the way to Monterey and San Jose. Call (831) 420-0135 to schedule a tasting.

Check out Hoffman’s menu, prices and other wedding cake information.

Freedom Bakery

freedom_bakery_cupcakes full

Wedding cupcakes from Freedom Bakery are nestled on tiers beneath a small round cake.

Freedom Bakery is a second-generation bakery in Watsonville that serves customers in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey. In addition to featuring traditional wedding cakes, the bakers at Freedom are happy to prepare a no-mess wedding cake solution: gourmet cupcakes. Freedom Bakery tops cupcakes with simple swirls, edible flowers, gourmet chocolates, cookies and more.

Can you save money by choosing wedding cupcakes? Freedom Bakery’s owner and head cake decorator Paul Liu says that your cupcake decorating decision is the most important variable. What other factors matter? You’ll obviously avoid your wedding venue’s cake cutting fee, but guests might eat more dessert than usual at a free-for-all cupcake buffet.

For more ideas for wedding cake designs, see the Video Wedding Guide Pinterest board.

Want to showcase your business with the Video Wedding Guide? Contact us at 831-332-2753.

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