When you think of a typical wedding, there is always a beautifully decorated, multi-tiered wedding cake that is waiting to be cut and smashed into faces during the reception. These wedding cakes, regardless of how beautiful they may be on the outside, are meant to be eaten and enjoyed by all of your guests, so it’s important to get a cake that is just as delicious as it looks. In part three of our series, we visited Have Your Cake, whose award-winning wedding cakes have been well-known in San Francisco for over twenty years.
Have Your Cake
Tastings by appointment.
Maralyn Tabatsky has been creating gorgeous wedding cakes for the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty years, having opened Have Your Cake in 1987. Her true talent in baking and cake decorating is evident in her portfolio’s broad range of styles, from elegant and sophisticated to whimsical. Maralyn’s cakes have been featured in publications such as the San Jose Mercury, Elegant Bride and Today’s Bride. Her bakery is one of the few in the entire Bay Area that is certified kosher, and she offers vegan cakes as well as non-dairy cakes to suit her clients’ needs. We sat down with Maralyn to sample a few of her cakes and to find out her secret to such a successful business for over twenty years.
1. How long has your company been in business?
I’ve been doing this for about twenty six and a half years.
2. How many weddings do you serve per year?
I do all kinds of events – birthdays, anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, christenings – pretty much the range of special occasions. But I have concentrated on weddings because I like doing them. During the busy season, I’ll do several cakes per week. It comes out to about 50 to 60 wedding cakes per year.
It could take anywhere from 4 to 20 hours to make a cake, not including the baking. It’s a big range. For example, a much more elaborate cake with all these sugar flowers will take hours and hours.
3. What are your most popular cake flavors?
Vanilla cake with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Cheesecake with a graham crust. Spice cake with a coffee mousse filling and a salted caramel icing. Chocolate with a chocolate mousse filling and a chocolate ganache on the outside. These can all be non-dairy or vegan.
4. What does a typical wedding cake cost?
I would say my rates are mid to high depending on the design. Again, because I do a wide range of kinds of designs, I have a wider range of prices. A three-tier cake to serve 100 to 120 guests starts at $750. I do all desserts and offer dessert bar options.
5. What are the most important questions brides should ask their bakeries?
There’s such a wide range of clientele. Sometimes people just want a cake for cake cutting and they want to serve other things to their guests. Other times people are like, “I don’t care what I’m going to serve, I want cake because it’s a wedding and I want wedding cake.”
So, I have had to learn about what kinds of questions to ask my clients so that I can get all the details and make sure that they’re happy. For example, sometimes people have a dessert buffet as well whether I do it or somebody else is doing it. Sometimes the caterer does the dessert buffet. Or maybe somebody in the family is making a particular kind of dessert that’s a family tradition. So in those cakes there may or may not be cake for everybody that’s needed you know. Or sometimes when people have a full banquet, those are multi-course. So you know if it’s a guest list of 250 people maybe I’ll only do cake for 150. I try to guide them and be generous without having them stuck with too much cake.
I’ve learned to ask when are you serving it? How is this going to be served? And if they don’t know, they need to know and talk to their caterer.
6. What qualities define a good cake?
Two components mainly. It definitely needs to taste good. Dessert is the last thing people eat. So you know how it is when you go to a restaurant – you have a wonderful meal, and if the dessert is disappointing it puts a damper on the whole meal in a way. It’s what you remember because you eat it last. So you want the cake to live up to whatever wonderful food the caterer has made. So that’s really important. And then you want the cake to look beautiful which there’s a wide range of what that could be. But you want it to be lovely because it’s probably something that people are going to be seeing during the entire reception. I’d say probably 95% of the time the cake is out during the reception, so people can see it.
7. Tips for preservation?
Nothing should be in the freezer for a year. Well, very few things you know. They lose quality a little bit. And it could easily get dried out or something like that. It’s a lovely idea to keep the top tier your first-month anniversary, or when you’ve returned from your honeymoon. If you call us at least a week ahead, we’ll be happy to make another for you for your one-year anniversary.
Maralyn gave us four of her most popular wedding cake flavors to taste: vegan chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and covered with a chocolate ganache, a vanilla cake called Italian cream with fresh raspberries and whipped cream and a vanilla buttercream frosting, cheesecake with a graham crust and a spice cake with coffee mousse filling and salted caramel icing.
We started with the vegan chocolate cake because we were intrigued by the vegan aspect of the cake. Her layer filling and ganache were not vegan, but the vegan cake base was moist, flavorful and the sweetness was expertly held in check. It didn’t taste too rich or too sweet at all and was the perfectly balanced cake, making it one of our favorites.
The cheesecake with a graham crust was delicious and was the perfect blend of flavors, none of which were too overpowering or overwhelming. The Italian cream included fresh raspberries and fresh whipped cream, which can be a difficult cake to master but Maralyn’s version was well-executed and light and tasty.
Our favorite was the spice cake, which provided very well-balanced flavor in every bite. It wasn’t overpowering and had more character than just a simple white cake. The coffee mousse filling and salted caramel icing were the perfect flavor combinations to create a delicious experience.
All of Maralyn’s cakes are truly excellent. She really is a master of keeping every single cake moist and the sweetness perfectly balanced. You can’t go wrong with any of her wedding cakes.