Dummy cakes (or imitation tiers as those in the cake world like to refer to them) are simply iced and decorated polystyrene blocks. They come in all sorts of amazing shapes and sizes as well as traditional wedding cake styles with sharp or rounded edges. Have a look at the wonderful Dummies Direct for some of the amazing designs they have created…yes, we do buy most of our dummy cakes from them.
Dummy cakes are generally used for display/ wedding show cakes and photoshoots. If you have designed a five tier showstopper complete with handmade sugar flowers you definitely do not want to be transporting a real cake version from wedding show to wedding show. Have you tried lifting a five tier wedding cake? Unwieldy is an understatement. Who knew when we started Bluebell Kitchen that we would also become weightlifters!
So, to answer your question do I need a dummy cake? This is completely dependent on your design and the number of quests 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. We love dummy tiers.
Or perhaps you have invited 100 guests to your wedding but you have set your heart on a wow five tier design.
According to Erica, “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!” Who knew that the world of cake decorating was so cloak and dagger.
Charlie adds, “There shouldn’t be any visible difference between the iced and decorated dummy tiers and the iced and decorated real cake tiers.”
In the above photos can you tell which tiers are the dummy tiers?
Traditionally the bottom tier is cut, so you do need to remember this if you have chosen 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 is the intricacy of the design, so you must always consider this when opting for extra tiers whether they are dummy or real cake tiers. However, the whole reason you might want to add additional tiers is to enhance your design and make your wedding cake a showstopper that is still talked about (for all the right reasons) years later.
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 cake designer should 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!