Cake tastings are easily one of the most fun parts of the wedding planning process! According to Marry Me Tampa Bay founder, Anna Coats, you should talk to 5-6 different cake vendors and narrow it down to 2-3 to do a cake tasting with.
Whether you're looking for a traditional wedding cake or you want to explore different wedding dessert options, here are 7 amazing Tampa Bay vendors to get you started.
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Location: 2909 W Cypress Street, Tampa
Alessi is a family-owned bakery that specializes in old-school pastries and delicious wedding cakes. This is Tampa's oldest bakery and it's well-established in the community.
“I feel we really are a bakery that holds true to old school values and lots of tradition. We like to see a lot of our old customers come through in and out, year after year,” said Melissa Thoele, lead wedding cake designer.
Starting Prices: $4/serving for semi-naked, $5/serving for buttercream, $6/serving for fondant covered (most Alessi cakes on average are $5.50-$7/serving)
You can choose to have each tier be a different flavor (there are typically three layers of cake and two layers of fillings in the average wedding cake Alessi Bakery makes).
If wedding cakes are not your thing or you just want some extra sweets for your wedding guests, Alessi also does dessert bars, where you can add cupcake towers, cannolis, shooters, cake pops, mini cupcakes, mini pastries, brownies, cookies and almost any other bite-sized treat the bakery serves.
If the bride and groom still want to have a small cake for the cake cutting, that's an option as well.
“Most likely if you ask we could probably pull it off and do it for you," said Thoele.
Cake Tastings: FREE for up to two guests (can accommodate a couple extra people if discussed with your consultant beforehand)
Guests can try 5-8 cake flavors and 4-6 fillings, as well as outside frosting. All the elements will be kept separate so that you can mix and match cakes and fillings to see what combo you like best.
However, it's easy to get overwhelmed with decisions, especially when it comes to cake design options.
“If you get 2 or 3 designs that you really love, stop looking!" said Thoele. "Because what happens is, you will change and change and change and change...In my experience of doing this for 27 years, most go right back to what they started with in the beginning.” So save yourself the stress and don't over-look when it comes to wedding inspiration!
Order Deadline: 30 days before the wedding
Thoele says that she usually works on 5-18 weddings cakes on any given weekend prior to the pandemic, so they sooner you order the better. All cakes are made as fresh as possible, usually a day or two before the wedding.
For more info on Alessi wedding cakes, click here.
The Artistic Whisk
Location: 11873 34th Street N, St. Petersburg
The Artistic Whisk is well-known for their decadent wedding cakes. Owner Jovana Boksen prides her business on baking cakes from scratch with natural ingredients (nothing artificial or hydrogenated), unbleached flour and real vanilla extract.
“I also feel it’s important for everyone to have something sweet to eat, so we do a lot of gluten-free baking, vegan, dairy-free...we try a little bit of sugar free,” said Boksen.
Starting Price: $5/serving for the Simple Sweet Collection (17 flavors and 35 design options to choose from)
This bakery also offers other wedding treats like cupcakes and mini cakes, as well as dessert bars with options like mini cheesecakes, macarons, mini cupcakes, tartlets, bonbons and cake truffles. They've started serving a new product called treasure truffles, which are leftover cake scraps rolled in to balls—for each sale they donate 20% of the proceeds to local charities Pinellas Hope and CASA.
The Artistic Whisk has made a commitment to quality and Boksen and her team of seven bakers are constantly evolving their style.
“I like to say we’re the chameleons of the cake world,” said Boksen. “I really think it’s important for cakes and desserts to look as good as they taste. So we eat with our eyes first, so I think it’s fun to have beauty in everything that we do.”
The Artistic Whisk also offers special deals with some local wedding venues, so you could get discounted pricing when you order your wedding cake through them.
Cake Tastings: $15 for every 5 flavors. Choose from the Simple Sweet Collection (5 flavors), Creative Classic Collection (30 flavors) or Creative Couture Collection (50 flavors)
The tasting cost will go toward the cost of the cake if you book with The Artistic Whisk.
Due to the pandemic, you can pick up your tasting or have it shipped to you. A consultant will then hold a Zoom call tasting with you to answer any questions you have. Many of The Artisitic Whisk's clients aren't local, so this is a great way for them to safely enjoy their tasting without having to make a special trip.
Order Deadline: couple months before the wedding
If you would like to save some money on the delivery fee (and you can be extremely careful during transport), you can ask for tier cake boxes to place your cake in for pick up.
Upon delivery/pick-up, an allergy sheet with the cake flavors will be provided for your guests.
Interested in learning more about The Artistic Whisk? Click here to book your wedding consultation appointment.
Location: 6815 FL-54, New Port Richey
Corey’s Bakery is all for exploring new flavors and providing top-notch customer service. New to the New Port Richey area, it moved from it's previous location in Palm Harbor earlier this year.
“You’re at home when you’re here...This is my art, I want you to experience that,” said bakery owner Corey Miller. “If I’m in here baking something...if you’re in here when I’m doing that and there’s extra, I want you to try that as well...it’s not just all about the cake.”
Miller is passionate about baking for others, and owes his love of food to his family. “My grandmother was a chef at Jimmy Hall's Steak House,” said Miller. “She was the backbone and inspiration of my culinary gift.”
Starting Price: $5.75/serving
Signature flavors include vanilla champagne made with homemade vanilla extract, strawberry sangria, Caribbean cooler and more.
Corey's Bakery will offers faux-tiers (decorated styrofoam form layers), which is a great way to save some money on your cake without taking away from the grandeur of it.
In addition to wedding cakes, Corey's Bakery also makes cookies, pies, mini pies, key lime bars, mini tiramisu, cannolis and mini cheesecakes for weddings. They also have a relationship with their next door neighbors, Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes, if you would like for them to coordinate some mini or regular-sized cupcakes for your special day.
Cake Tastings: $25 for up to four people (now two people during the pandemic)
It's best to know your design ideas before you come in—don't be afraid to show your pintrest board or other photos during the appointment.
Miller strongly advises you do your research before going to any tastings. "Read reviews, find out who you’re getting ready to meet with," said Miller. "You need to establish a relationship with your vendor.”
Order Deadline: 6 months before the weddings is preferred
On the day of the wedding, Miller personally oversees your deliver and makes sure that everything is set up according to your direction.
Hospitality is one of the main pillars of Corey's Bakery. "We'll go above and beyond, and it’s just not something just to be said...for the sake of marketing. It’s the honest truth,” said Miller. "You don’t get...top notch, unconditional, real genuine hospitality anymore. That's a thing of the past. [My grandmother] was behind that.”
To book a consultation with Corey's Bakery, fill out this form online.
Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes
Location: 6817 FL-54, New Port Richey
Family-owned for ten years, this bakery specializes in mini, regular and jumbo sized cupcakes.
Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes uses real buttercream without the use of artificial dyes (anything you see with color is done with fruits/berries). Everything is homemade and hand-scooped.
“When you walk into our shop, it’s like a full on dessert table, and you can get anything that you can get on a dessert table," said bakery owner Jenn Franks.
Starting Price: $0.85/mini cupcake (usually averages about $4/serving with set up, stand rental, etc.)
Mini cupcakes are the most popular. It's recommended that you order 2-3 minis per person, and you can select up to 6 different flavors. Many couples will opt for a jumbo cupcake on the top of their cupcake display to use for their cake cutting.
Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes also sells stuffed edible cookie dough, cake sickles and truffles, all of which would make great additions to any wedding display. You can even get edible images placed on top of your cupcakes!
One of the great things about doing a cupcakes display or dessert table in place of a wedding cake is that you won't have to pay for a cake cutting fee, and you can save a little money by using custom napkins instead of plates.
Cake Tastings: FREE for up to four flavors (but they do ask that you know for sure that you’re going to book them for your wedding)
“When you come to the table for the appointment, don’t be afraid to tell us—tell us what you love, tell us the look you’re going for. The more information you give us, the more we can customize it...be ready to word vomit on us,” said Franks.
Order Deadline: 4 weeks before the wedding
You can also check out their food truck as well if that fits with your wedding aesthetic.
To learn more about Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes wedding and event services, click here.
Pop Goes the Party
Location: 6817 FL-54, New Port Richey
Pop Goes the Party (PGTP) is a gourmet cake pop and custom creative dessert company. Started in 2012, Angie Croft had one of the first businesses in the area offering this custom service.
“We really focus on individualized 1-2 bite treats dipped in chocolate," said Croft.
PGTP shares bakery space with Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes, who they have collaborated with on approximately 90% of their weddings. Their dessert tables often combine the best of Franks' cupcakes and Crofts' chocolate-dipped desserts. Both companies pride themselves on a customer-centered approach.
Starting Price: $3/cake pop
Croft can do fondant work, but primarily adds details and makes creations out of chocolate.
Everything is completely customizable. Choose from cake pops, cake sickles (which are more like cake truffle bars) and basically anything you can dip in chocolate: Oreos, pretzels, Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, strawberries, apples, etc.
“The one thing that I do find with desert tables too is that there’s very minimal waste," said Croft. "I don’t know what it is about dessert tables, but we very rarely have couples say, ‘we had so much left over.’”
On the off chance that there are treats left over, both PGTP and Mmmm Delicious Cupcakes will offer little to-go boxes to leave by your table for your guests.
Not only are the cake pops and desert bites great for a dessert table, but they can be used for your place cards or take home gifts for your guests. Plus, it's easier to cater to various allergies for specific people with cake pops as opposed to a whole wedding cake.
Cake Tastings: FREE for up to four flavors
PGTP cake pops are baked cake pops—providing a light and airy texture—versus being truffle cake pops, which are made by rolling cake crumbles and frosting together.
Order Deadline: 4 weeks before the wedding
To custom order your wedding cake pops from Pop Goes the Party, click here.
Sweetly Dipped Confections
Serving the Tampa area
Sweetly Dipped Confections is an award-winning custom cake-pop company that is perfect for any wedding.
“You know, you expect to go into a wedding and see a beautiful manicured cake. You don’t necessarily expect to see a cake pop cake," said owner Brandi Matiyak. "They’re fun, you can make them match your theme.”
Starting Prices: $2.25/cake pop on a stick and $2.50/cake pop on a cake (plus $40 flat fee for fondant and base of cake)
Cake pop cakes are made from styrofoam covered in fondant to look like a cake (a real cake wouldn’t be able to support the weight of all those cake pops) with cake pops attached to it using toothpicks.
Order a cake pop cake or a tiered display, which can include cake pops, gourmet apples (chocolate, caramel or candy), chocolate covered strawberries, pretzels, marshmallows, Rice Krispies Treats, Oreos, madeleines, donuts and more. Matiyak will also work with local bakers if she doesn't provide what you’re looking for.
“If we don’t make it, we’ll find a way to make it happen,” said Matiyak.
Cake Tastings: $25 for tastings, which gets applied to your cake order if you book with Sweetly Dipped Confections
However, if you're referred through Marry Me Tampa Bay, your tasting is free! Sweetly Dipped Confections is currently offering take-home tastings due to the pandemic.
Guests can choose from baked cake pops or truffle-like cake pops without a difference in price.
Order Deadline: 6 months before the wedding (especially during peak season in the spring and fall)
To find out how to book Sweetly Dipped Confections for your special day, contact them via the online form.
Tampa Bay Cake Company
Based out of Apollo Beach
This high-end cake studio primarily focuses on wedding cakes, specializing in fondant-covered cakes, but also offers buttercream as well.
Owner Emily Lopez is known for her flower cakes (flowers made from edible buttercream) and sugar flowers, which are a great substitute for placing real flowers on your wedding cake.
“I have a really great reputation with a lot of wedding vendors in the area," said Lopez. "A lot of planners come to me because they know my cakes are going to taste really good, they know the designs are going to be stellar, and they know I’m reliable.”
Starting Prices: $5.50/serving for naked or rustic buttercream cakes, $7/serving for buttercream cakes, $8/serving for fondant cakes
An important part of determining your wedding cake budget is figuring out how many guests you need to serve.
“Typically I don’t recommend that you serve 100% of your guests because usually 100% of your guests won’t eat cake," said Lopez. "So it’s usually around 80, 85 percent of your guests will eat cake, so that’s how many pieces I recommend. The catering company might cut your pieces a little bit smaller than I would generally suggest, so it all depends.”
If you have a large guest count and want to save some money, you can choose to do a smaller tiered cake (minimum slice requirement is 75 servings) and have a kitchen cake (same flavored sheet cake) in the back for when it's time to serve.
Tampa Bay Cake Company also offers dessert bar options like cake shots, cupcakes and brownies.
Cake Tastings: $25 deposit that goes toward the cost of your cake
Tastings include a sample of white and dark chocolate ganache, high-quality fondant and four flavors of cake. You can upgrade to the luxury tasting if you would like an additional four flavors of cake.
Due to Covid, guests can order take-home tasting boxes.
Order Deadline: 6 months before the wedding
Lopez only books one wedding per date, so you won't have to worry about any conflicting wedding deliveries/set ups. Delivery starts at $50, but you can receive a discount if your venue has Tampa Bay Cake Company on their preferred vendor list.
Click here to find out how to request a quote.