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1/ Forget the faux. Some couples, in an effort to cut costs, opt to display a decorated fake cake, or cake dummy, and serve a sheet cake that’s been hidden out of guests’ view. While this might be more cost effective, the cake dummies are made from styrofoam, which can’t be recycled and doesn’t biodegrade, so consider the cost to the planet.
2/ While you’re at it, forget the fondant. Although fondant remains my icing of choice for its aesthetic value, it’s less eco-friendly than buttercream. First, most bakeries don’t make their own fondant in-house. (It’s the only thing I don’t make from scratch.) Instead, fondant is generally ordered from one of the major fondant suppliers and shipped long distances to get to your baker. Second, some fondant contains gelatin, an animal-based substance derived from the bones of cattle, pigs, and horses. It’s not vegetarian, and it’s not eco-friendly: Raising animals for food wastes massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. (To learn more, go to goveg.com.)
3/ Go organic. Most, if not all, of the ingredients that go into a cake have a readily available organic counterpart. Ask your baker if he can create an organic cake. Although you can expect to pay more, your conscious, your planet, and hopefully your guests will thank you.
4/ Buy your cake locally. Thinking about having your cake shipped to you by a nationally-renowned cake designer? Consider the impact that has on the environment. Instead, find a local baker who can replicate that cake you saw on Ace of Cakes.
5/ Use found objects. There are many realistic alternatives to purchasing a brand new cake plate or cake topper. Try: borrowing from someone you know, raiding your grandma’s kitchen cabinets, scouring your local Goodwill, or hitting garage sales. A search for “cake plate” on Craigslist turned up the gem on the left. Look around. Chances are, you’ll find a cake plate or cake topper you love–and probably a bunch of other stuff you didn’t even know you needed. Be sure to ask your baker how big your largest tier will be so you know it will fit.
6/ Recycle as much as possible. Okay, so you can’t recycle your cake, but your baker may be able to reuse any plastic dowels or separator plates (used to support the tiers). You can also pass on your cake topper and cake plate to a friend or consignment shop, or donate it to a thrift store. Either way, ensuring it gets reused means it doesn’t end up in a land fill.
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