What are dummy cakes and do I need one?

Cornflower blue buttercream wedding cake finished with gold painted elements and handmade gold painted sugar flowers designed by Bluebell Kitchen

Dummy cakes (or imitation tiers as those in the cake world like to refer to them) are iced and decorated polystyrene blocks.  You can have traditional wedding cake styles with sharp or rounded edges.  They also come in all sorts of amazing shapes and sizes where your only limit is your imagination.

What’s a dummy cake?

Dummy cakes are generally used for display/ wedding show cakes and photoshoots.  If you design a five tier showstopper complete with handmade sugar flowers you definitely don’t want to transport a real cake from wedding show to wedding show.  Have you tried lifting a five tier wedding cake?  Unwieldy is an understatement.  

Do I need a dummy cake?

This is dependent on multiple factors.  This includes your design and the number of guests attending your wedding.  Dummy tiers are brilliant for adding extra height to a cake.  This is especially true if you want to include extra deep double stack tiers for a real wow factor as shown below.  

White wedding cake finished with delicate edible lace, handmade sugar ruffles and handmade white sugar roses designed by Bluebell Kitchen

Perhaps you’re having 100 guests to your wedding but you’ve set your heart on a wow six tier wedding cake design.  This allows you to add extra design detail to the cake and the nice thing about it is that only the bride and groom need to know.  

There shouldn’t be any visible difference between the iced and decorated dummy tiers and the iced and decorated real cake tiers.  This is the most important aspect to consider when including an imitation cake aka dummy tier as part of your wedding cake.  Below is a design we created and delivered to The Globe Theatre in London, which shows just that.  Can you tell the difference between the dummy cake tiers and real cake tiers?

4 tier white sharp edged wedding cake finished with rich Autumn colour sugar flowers at The Globe Theatre designed by Bluebell Kitchen

Cutting dummy tiers

Traditionally couples cut the base tier.  You do need to remember this if you’re planning to have a dummy tier as the bottom tier.  You might want to pose as though you are cutting the cake rather than having a shock as you try to cut into the dummy cake!  Take it from us they are not easy to cut.

Are dummy cake tiers cost effective? 

Yes and no.  At Bluebell Kitchen our main cost of your wedding cake design is the intricacy of that design.  You always need to consider when opting for extra tiers whether they are dummy or real cake tiers.  As your wedding cake designers, we would always discuss this in detail with you.  In fact, the whole reason you might want to add additional tiers is to enhance your design.  This can ensure your guests talk about wedding cake, for all the right reasons, years later.

5 tier shows topping wedding cake finished with gold paint, ivory handmade ruffles, handmade sumptuous pastel sugar flowers designed by Bluebell Kitchen

The positioning of your wedding cake at your venue can also seriously affect its look.  What might appear amazing in the confines of a small cake studio may be dwarfed by the size of the room when set up at the venue.  A good example is getting married at a large world famous wedding venue e.g. The Natural History Museum, where your design must be placed boldly front and centre so that all of your guests can see your wedding cake and not tucked away in a corner!  Of course, we’d advise you of this during your consultation.  

On a last decadent note, you could order a seven tier design of extra deep double stack tiers made from dummy cakes finished with hundreds of handmade sugar flowers and simply use cutting cakes for serving to guests.  Once again no one need ever know!


Photos: Rebecca Douglas Photography, Bluebell Kitchen

We are Erica and Charlie Bell, a mother-daughter team creating breathtaking wedding cakes and macarons from our studio in Maidstone, Kent.   We love nothing more than getting to know our couples, and creating distinctive designs that are inventive and imaginative.  Our one-of-a-kind cakes that are designed down to the very last (sugar) detail. We deliver across London, Kent, Essex, Surrey, Sussex and beyond.

Want to learn the secrets of sugar craft, create your own favours or macarons?  Join us at our cake school in Maidstone, Kent.

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