Sunday, May 16, 2010

How Much Ribbon?

Wrapping ribbon around the base of a cake is a very popular design these days. Many bakeries/bakers ask the bride to provide the ribbon simply to assure the correct color the bride is looking for. I can do a week's worth of stories on how brides were upset because it was sage green instead of hunter green, or it was baby blue instead of pastel blue! To avoid these issues, it's usually best for all concerned when the bride hands the baker the ribbon and says, "THIS is the ribbon color for my cake!"

Many times I've been given a quantity of ribbon that wasn't sufficient to go all the way around a cake. Fortunately in the couple of instances this happened, it was a color that was easy to match and I ran out at the last minute to pick up some additional feet of it.

But as a bride, how do you know how much to provide?

Remember those math, algebra and geometry classes where you tried so hard to stay awake? Well, let's hope you did because those lessons will apply here.

Square cakes are pretty simple. A 10" square cake means each side is 10" long. So a minimum of 40" is needed (10" x 4 sides = 40"). But don't hand your baker just 40". Add a little extra to allow for the icing that will extend the sides ever so slightly. Add a little extra to give the baker some slack to work with in case something happens. A cake that requires 40" of ribbon, I would recommend at LEAST 50 to 60 inches.

And that's just for one tier.

Round cakes is where the geometry class comes in. A 10" cake is 10" across the diameter. To find the circumference (the distance around the cake), it's a simple case of "diameter times Pi", or 10" x 3.14 = 31.4 inches of ribbon. Again, add a little extra "just in case". I'd recommend 40 to 48".

And that's just for one tier.

Seriously, I had a bride who was thinking out loud and said, "So for a 10" cake, two feet should work, right?" Uh......... No. So I had to do the math with her so she could see how much she would really need.

As you, the bride, shop for your wedding cake, find out if the baker provides the ribbon or if the bride provides the ribbon. If you, the bride, are required to provide the ribbon, work with your baker to make sure you provide enough ribbon to create the cake of your dreams.



  1. Hi Debi, I hope you are doing well. I realize this is an older post, but I wanted to thank you for sharing this information. I noticed that you posted this at 3:14pm and coincidentally your calculation includes Pi (3.14). I do have a question, how do you recommend the cake cutting with real ribbon? Last time I did a cake with real ribbon for the bride I had to interfere with their cake cutting process to quickly remove the ribbon off that layer. Any other recommendations? Thanks in Advance.

  2. I make sure to position the cake so the ends of the ribbon are in the back or on the side near the back. Right before the cake cutting photo, I walk the couple thru the steps of where they will cut, how to lift the cake piece onto the plate (seriously, they are nervous and scared to do these very simple things!). I "open" the ends of the ribbon, pulling them to the side, giving the couple a small "doorway" to cut their first piece. Once the photo is taken (and I give time for any relatives to take photos), then I step in to do the cake cutting and just whip the ribbon off of the cake as I am disassembling it.

  3. Thanks Debi. This is similar to what I did previously, but I noticed in picture and video during the cutting ceremony the ribbon was just hanging there. Didn't really like the look. It was as if the ribbon fell. Maybe, I'm missing a step. Do you have pictures? Thanks a million.

  4. I don't have photos but can offer a couple of ideas that may work with you. YOu can predetermine where the cake will be cut by the couple. When you wrap the ribbon around the cake, make it about 2" short, so it doesn't meet in the back (where they will cut. Cover that 2" space with a 2-3" piece of ribbon. Remove this small section when they are ready to cut. All other ribbon will be in place and look nice for the pic. Another idea is when you remove the one long piece of ribbon for the cutting (as mentioned above), take some scissors and cut the "lifted" part of the ribbon off, leaving no ribbon to just hang there. Hope these are helpful and I welcome ideas and suggestions from others who have handled this in a unique method!

  5. Thanks Debi. Your recommendation of cutting the original ribbon shorter and then placing another piece was an idea I had, but couldn't figure out how to clearly explain like you did. Thanks a million.
    I'll probably try that.

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