From a macaroon tree cake to one shaped like a camera - Here’s five sugary tips on how to make your wedding cake the centrepiece of your reception
Issue: Mar 2013
The wedding cake isn’t simply a sweet finish to a satisfying wedding reception, it can make a bold statement, be a creative expression of the couple, or be the centrepiece of the celebration
As couples get more adventurous in the way they celebrate their nuptials and make it memorable for themselves and their guests, the wedding cake has become increasingly integral to the wedding reception. No longer content with fake tiers or standard issue affairs, the happy Mister and Missus are now planning their wedding cake with as much thought and detail as the other aspects of their wedding.
Here are five tips for every soon-to-be-married pair when shopping for their wedding cake.
1. Maximise Your Investment
Given that the wedding cake is likely to take up a significant amount of the wedding budget, it would not be a bad idea to make it the focal point of the reception or dinner. This will give the cake greater “airtime” instead of relegating it to its one-minute of fame when it is wheeled out to be cut and consumed.
Work it into the décor of the room or match it to the theme of the wedding, but most importantly, give it a central place so that it becomes your centrepiece and, hopefully, a talking point.
2. The Look of Love
Fresh flowers can be used to decorate the wedding cake like these strewn with rose petals from Awfully Chocolate
How your wedding cake should look is the next thing you have to consider. You could draw inspiration for the design from the theme and colour of the location of the wedding or patterns on the bride’s gown, bouquet or jewellery. Awfully Chocolate uses fresh flowers to adorn their wedding cakes so couples can opt for the bridal flowers to be used on the cake.
Traditionally, wedding cakes are white or cream coloured. But other colours are perfectly acceptable as well. Local chocolate cake specialist, Awfully Chocolate, for example, offers wedding cakes in all their rich brown glory.
If you cannot decide, there is always the option of having a different pattern etched on each tier. Swissôtel The Stamford does it perfectly, working in a uniformed look by using the same colour throughout the cake and the same kind of decorations strategically placed.
(Left) While round wedding cakes (Canelé), are the traditional favourites because the shape is symbolic of wholeness and completion, (Right) Swissôtel The Stamford lets you have a different design on every tier if you cannot make up your mind about which pattern you like
Most wedding cakes are round because the shape is symbolic of wholeness and completion. These days, though, they can come in any shape you want. The non-conventionalists can opt for oval or hexagon-shaped cakes. Square cakes are popular and perfect for the contemporary-style wedding.
Those seeking a tongue-in-cheek take on tradition can opt for a different shape in each tier or even asymmetrically-staked tiers.
Creative couples can go to Canelé to have their cakes customised to reflect their shared passions like this camera-shaped cake or this haphazardly stacked cake that lends a quirky look for couples who are looking for something different
Photo credit: www.cakecentral.com
Adventurous couples can incorporate items that are meaningful to them in the decoration. They can even opt for novelty-shaped cakes. Artisan patisserie, Canelé, for example, does customised cakes for all occasions.
3. Go Through the Taste Test
As important as the look is, how the cake tastes should rank high in priority as well. In the past, wedding cakes tend to be dense fruit cakes with marzipan icing. These days, they can be anything your bakery of choice has to offer. What needs to be considered are: type of cake, flavour, filling and icing.
Awfully Chocolate wedding cakes that come in three flavours – All Chocolate, Chocolate Banana and Chocolate Rum & Cherry - are double-creamed to suit the theme and style of the wedding
Cake types abound. The more common ones variations of the butter cake which includes the pound cake, white cake, yellow cake, fruit cake and coffee cake. There are also the chiffon and sponge cakes which are softer cakes. Some confectionaries even offer gateaux which is a French sponge cake often made with ground almonds.
For the finish, there is royal icing, fondant, buttercream, whipped cream, meringue, ganache (a rich chocolate icing), and cream cheese.
If the possible combinations seem astounding and a little confusing, Swissôtel The Stamford’s advice is to go for something light because it is likely to satisfy most people. Their Vanilla Sponge with Lemon Bavarian and Fresh Raspberry Cake fits the bill to a tee with its zesty lemon flavour.
Chocolate connoisseurs will welcome Awfully Chocolate’s devotion to all-things chocolate. Their cakes are so soft, they send their own crew to the wedding to slice and serve the cakes because they require masterful handling. The wedding cakes, like all their cakes, come in three flavours: All Chocolate, Chocolate Banana and Chocolate Rum & Cherry and are double creamed to suit the colour and theme of the wedding.
Whether fruit-filled like this Strawberry Shortcake (left) or chocolatey like the Le Chocolat Croustillant -Crispy Chocolate Cake (right), Canelé offers them all in their wedding cakes
Canelé offers French-style confectionaries that run into the exotic. Their fruit-filled cakes make for refreshing choices for a tropical wedding. Try Fruit de la Passion (Passion Fruit Cake), Le Fraise (Strawberry Shortcake), Le Cerise (Black Forest Cake), or Le Pomme Verte (Green Apple Cake). For richer variations, they offer Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, Le Noisette (Roasted Hazelnut Cake), and Le Chocolat Croustillant (Crispy Chocolate Cake).
If there are too many choices to make, a different flavour for each tier is possible. Simply make sure the bottom tier, which is the largest, is in a flavour most of the guests will enjoy.
4. Get Creative
Canelé’s macaroons can make for an interesting variation of the wedding cake, adding a splash of colour
The wedding cake need not necessarily be a cake. Cupcakes stacked in tiers are an option as is the macaroon tree. Canelé’s macaroons come in an assortment of flavours including chocolate, cookies and cream, rose, salted caramel, and hazelnut, and an array of colours which will certainly add pizzazz to the matrimonial soiree. A bonus is that different flavours can go into the macaroon tree, providing a buffet for the palate.
Croquembouche, a French cream puff pile sealed together with sticky toffee, makes for an interesting alternative to the wedding cake
Another option is croquembouche, a French cream puff, which can be found at Canelé. The puffs are stacked into a pyramid and doused with sticky toffee, making for delightful bite-sized desserts that have a wonderful crunch on the outside and are creamy on the inside.
5. Be Practical
Bakeries require quite a bit of advance notice when it comes to wedding cakes. Six to nine months is not uncommon. So, shop early to avoid disappointment.
Another consideration is also the price. Wedding cakes are priced by size which is calculated based on the guest list, estimating one slice per guest. Cupcake tiers, macaroon trees and croquembouches do not come in large sizes so if selecting any of these for a large wedding party, more than one of each might be required.
Shopping for the wedding cake is something that would probably appeal both to the groom-to-be and the future blushing bride. After all, what’s not to like about tasting slice after slice of yummy desserts? With these hints, the experience should be the start of a sweet, sweet union.
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