Best Wedding Cakes: How They Stack Up

Your wedding: a once-in-a-lifetime occasion (one hopes), with the spouse – and the cake – of your dreams.

Obviously, you can’t entrust that special cake to just anyone. The following bakeries all come highly recommended. We’ve seen these cakes; we’ve tasted these cakes. They’re not only gorgeous, they’re delicious. And when you’re paying a pretty penny for the most important dessert of your life, don’t you want it to be eaten?

Check out these bakeries online, and then call ahead to schedule a tasting. While you’re at it, look into their other offerings as well. It’s never too early to plan the sweet table! Ah, research can be such fun.

Obviously, these are fine custom cake bakeries and price is ultimately determined by your cake flavors and designs, but we’ve given you some estimates to get you started, along with some of our favorite flavor combinations.

Bittersweet, 1114 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Judy Contino has been one of Chicago’s favorite pastry chefs for the last thirty years. She knows her sugar… and eggs and butter and flour and chocolate. Favorite Flavor Combo:  Almond Cake with Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Crème Brulee and Fresh Strawberries with Vanilla Buttercream. The Nitty-Gritty: figure $4.50 – $7 on average per person; 50% deposit to reserve your date.

Bleeding Heart Bakery
, 1955 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Known for their elaborate fondant constructions and their “tattoo” cakes, this bakery caters to the young and hip. It’s your Rock ‘n Roll cake of choice. Favorite Flavor Combo: the Champagne Situation, Devil’s Food cake soaked with Champagne, with Champagne Pastry Cream and Champagne Buttercream icing. The Nitty-Gritty: figure $10 per serving; 50% deposit required to reserve your date.

flour. cake & pastry, 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Janet Lee and Nicole Chibnik have years of restaurant and hotel work under their toques, including stints at the Ritz-Carlton, Spiaggia and NoMi/Park Hyatt. Here, they run the show, turning out beautiful, custom cakes covered in Italian Meringue Buttercream and Rolled Fondant. Favorite Flavor Combo: Yellow Buttercake with Cheesecake Filling, Fresh Fruit and that delicious frosting. The Nitty-Gritty: Prices start at $6 per serving for Buttercream and $7 for Fondant.

Gerhard’s Elegant European Desserts, 720 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest
No preservatives, all-natural ingredients and elegant European-style pastries and confections make this a go-to bakery on the North Shore. Favorite Flavor Combo: White cake with Lemon Mousse, fresh berries and real Vanilla Buttercream. The Nitty-Gritty: figure $6-8 per serving; 1/3 deposit required to reserve your date.

Three Tarts Bakery, 301 S. Happ Rd., Northfield
Ever been to a wedding where every guest licked their cake plate clean? Chances are, head “Tarts” Kate Coyne and Anne Heinz made that cake. All butter, all the time. Their “Cutting Cakes” (all the flavors without the stacking and decoration) are an ideal back up for the main event. Favorite Flavor Combo: Espresso and Chocolate Cakes, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Poured Ganache icing. The Nitty-Gritty: figure $5 and up per serving; $200 deposit to reserve your date.

TipsyCake, 1043 N. California, Chicago
As Chef Naomi Levine puts it, “we’re an Australian-run bakery in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. No other place like it!” They’re particularly known for their Groom’s Cakes. Favorite Flavor Combo: Coconut Cake with Passion Fruit Curd. The Nitty-Gritty: figure $5-10 per serving; 50% deposit required to reserve date.

Lead photo: A Bittersweet Bakery creation.

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