From the flavor to the style, your wedding cake choices can say a lot about you and your partner as a couple
Find Out Your Wedding Cake Personality
The wedding cake style you choose will definitely send a message to your guests, so it is best to go into your cake consultation with an idea of what each style can signifies. While there are a number of ways to express yourself through pastry, these popular styles often really set the tone for the wedding day, which is a natural reflection of you!
The Naked Wedding Cake
On trend right now, the naked wedding cake is perfect for the no-frills couple. You both are minimalists who are in love with love for what it is. You’re interested in raw, unadulterated beauty, and that is just fine by us.
The Topsy-Turvy Cake
Your fun and funky spirit cannot be crushed by a formal affair. Some may say your relationship is a little wild, but hey, who cares? You love every unpredictable moment of your partnership and wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Blinged-Out Cake
Most likely, the two of you are really into super-nice things, and may have expensive taste. You both want only the best of everything for your significant other and have probably been planning your “dream wedding” since you learned to tie your shoe.
The Classic White Cake
There is nothing wrong with a traditional three-tiered wedding cake. Your relationship is rock solid and built upon the old-fashioned notion that your marriage is made to last.
The Sculpted Cake
You and your partner are a unique match. You express yourself through everything that you do; why would a wedding cake be any different?
The Modern Cake
Chic and shiny, a modern wedding cake is all straight lines and sharp edges. You and your partner are definitely on the same page most of the time. You both like clean lines and minimal frill. You are all about being honest and direct and feel that your union represents a generational evolution in marital intelligence.
The Floral Cake
Real or sugared, flowers mean one thing: you are head-over-heels for one another. You two are all romance, all the time. You’d made us sick if it wasn’t so freakin’ adorable.
The Ombre Cake
You and your partner love to strike a balance. Whether it is a formal wedding followed by a righteous party or a sweet and savory snack, you two believe you can have it all... and you do!
The Beach Cake
Aside from telling your guests you’d rather be on the beach, a nautical wedding cake indicates a lot about your relationship. You’re laid back, easy going, and are super in-tune with your partner.
The Single Layer Cake
A simple, decorated sheet cake indicates more than a small guest list. It suggests that you believe in intimacy and practicality, and you want to savor each special moment of your big day and your new life with your partner.
What Statement Should Your Wedding Cake Make?
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Wedding cakes today can be anything: stacks of meringue, fantasies of fondant, fruit pies, layered “naked cakes,” savory creations of rice flour, et cetera, et cetera. Delicious, by Will Cotton, 2008. Copyright: Will Cotton. Delicious, 2008. Polystyrene, acrylic polymer, pigment, gypsum, 30ˮ x 20ˮ x 20ˮ. Courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery, New York.
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A little while ago, I received an email from a dear old friend with a delicate question. Hello! How are you? What should we serve for dessert at our wedding?? For some food writers, answering would be a breeze: An eight-layer chiffon sponge with citron curd, crème Chantilly, and Valrhona ganache by Frou Frou et Frou Frou or something like that. But I don’t like desserts, and I’m a bad novice baker. At my own wedding, these flaws were embraced. My mother baked a canola oil–based blueberry cake (we were on an island off the coast of Maine) that tasted more like a breakfast bread. The afternoon was misty. Foghorns called to each other in the distance. Guests ate clams and lobsters and corn and blueberry cake—and some pie, I think—as day turned to night. I fondly recall serving my mother’s cake to the Lions Club members who cooked our lobsters, and watching them wash it down with rum.
I do know that a wedding dessert is not just a dessert. It is a statement! A prominent Beverly Hills wedding planner I call for advice, Mindy Weiss, is adamant that it “represents a couple’s love story.” The cutting of the cake is the bookend to the promise "I do." (Sometimes, when my husband and I fight, I wonder if we should have cut a cake.) It is also political! Even as I write this, the Supreme Court is pondering what it means to help make that statement, via Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—a.k.a. the “cake artist” case.
I consider recommending breakfast bread and rum, but my betrothed friend likes dessert and is a bit old-fashioned. To be traditional, he would break a cake of barley over his wife’s head, as ancient Romans did for good fortune. Or serve fruitcake, ambrosia of the royals. Even Kate and William’s eight-layer confection was, beneath the fondant, fruitcake—that mortar-like substance dating from at least the mid-Renaissance. (Harry and Meghan are rumored to be planning a lemon elderflower cake, but a lemon is also a fruit.) Or be French and serve croquembouches, or Italian and serve crostate and confetti.
For further ideas I turn to those great witnesses of fashionable contemporary culture, Twitter and Instagram, and discover that some wedding cakes today are stacks of meringues (Vera Wang Pour Ladurée). Others are stacks of Oreos (actress Katie Lowes). A food publicist directs me to “naked cakes,” like Christina Tosi and Will Guidara’s seven-tiered one—these are outré and unfrosted and, according to famous planner Marcy Blum, served by “rebels.” Speaking of rebellion, some mavericks choose dessert tables full of cupcakes and dump cakes and pies—as did Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent—or hire soft-serve ice cream trucks, as did Boston-area chef Will Gilson.
I could be pedantic and point out that in British English, dessert means “a serving of fresh fruit after the main course of a meal.” I love fruit. Why not gorgeous bowls of transparent greengage plums? Or what about one of those recent “cheese cakes” that are just stacks of cheese, starting with sturdy Cheddar and ending with a heart-shaped Brie de Meux, with their implicit claim that nothing says “I love you forever” like stinky cheese?
My friend does like cheese. But when I interrogate him further about his confectionary preferences, I receive only the following: I like layers. Why so terse? Then I remember that he, like my husband, is from Vermont. I consider the character of the New Englander. Their signature quality is not asking for help. If my friend actually wanted me to make this layer cake, it would go against his fiber to request it. After considering several cryptic replies, I settle on: I’m working on it.
But I’m still not sure where to start. So I appeal to Maggie Austin, a Washington, D.C., ballerina turned cake designer (she prefers designer to the tendentious artist) who has made sugar chimpanzees for Jane Goodall, sugar topiaries for the Obama White House, and bespoke sugar-flower edifices for anyone able to meet her (minimum) $10,000 fee. Online her creations are featured with headlines like “9 Stunning Cakes That Belong in a Museum.” One made me cry.
Austin arrives at my house on a cool morning, hair in a neat bun. Black-clad and petite, she walks with the ramrod-straight posture of a dancer. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that all her tools fit into one rolling suitcase and a hatbox—from which she produces a beige top hat. It is not a hat, I learn, but a piece of Styrofoam covered in sugar fondant.
“But can’t we decorate a real cake?” I ask. Anyone can bake a cake, Austin explains. Today we will be making the fragile edible art that turns common pastry into visual poetry. Or a match for the centerpieces. Or a status symbol. A statement!
Such edible art is made, I learn, of gum paste. It is a combination of confectioners’ sugar, egg whites, and a gum additive called Tylose. I wonder if we might take a shortcut by using Elmer’s glue. But Elmer’s doesn’t dry the right way and is inedible, if nontoxic. Plus, this is no time for debate. We must make leaves! We roll and squoosh green gum paste with what look like cuticle sticks for giants (they’re called CelPins). We press it into silicone molds shaped and textured like the two sides of a live leaf. And voilà!: lovely leaves, looking ready to flutter in the wind! These quickly dry in whatever position they find themselves, fixed forever in graceful organic motion—a pretty, if entirely too optimistic, symbol for wedding another person.
My eyes fall upon the clock. An hour has yielded two leaves. “How many leaves per cake?” I ask nonchalantly. “A lot,” answers Austin with the calm steeliness of a ballerina.
I write down squoosh and roll, uncertain whether these are terms of art or personal illustrative words. An hour later, we have produced two hydrangeas. “And how many of these?” I inquire in a convincingly casual tone. “A hundred, maybe.” I begin squooshing and rolling with urgency. A hand flutters onto my CelPin. “You have ridges on your hydrangea.” It’s true. I do. “People’s personalities,” Austin explains, “tend to come out in their flower work.”
Both fondant and gum paste have a reputation for being tasteless. I don’t know if it’s my flagging stamina or my palate, but I find both oddly delicious. They taste like the outer candy shell of a gumball-machine gumball—fleeting but nostalgic. It is time to begin construction of our statement flower: a perfect replica of a rose by British breeder David Austin. There are dozens of layers of nearly transparent peach petals to make. “You want to do this all in one sitting,” Austin tells me. I take the wrong meaning from this and sit down. A half hour later she says, “Let’s get out the vodka.” This is exciting because I need perking up, but it’s not for me at all. We mix it into rose-gold edible paint, with which we edge our rose petals, hydrangeas, and leaves.
Austin effortlessly arranges our few but lovely flowers, along with dozens she brought with her, by sticking them by floral wire on the fondant-covered “cake.” She steps back.
My breath catches. It all makes sense. Sprays of periwinkle hydrangeas burst in feckless disarray from clutches of kiwi-green leaves, a leafy halo for the diaphanous peach rose. The flowers appear brushed by the gentlest breeze, the sweetness of a fleeting moment captured for eternity. (Gum paste holds its shape and remains edible forever.) I feel hopeful, innocent, confident in the promise of the future. Austin departs on her tiptoes, probably ferried in a chariot pulled by centaurs.
Have I internalized it all? Will I be able to reproduce our meticulous work on my own? No! Not in the slightest! Still, I can’t tarry. There’s the vital matter of the part of a layer cake one actually eats.
I decide to whip up a few options. But after putting on an apron, dusting off my mixer, and flouring cake tins, I am hindered by the discovery that I’ve collected pastry books more for their poetic flavor than their practicality. I’ve chosen three cakes from Malinda Russell’s 1866 A Domestic Cookbook—the first cookbook known to be written by a black woman, brimming with beautiful-sounding confections. I’d settled on A Queen’s Party Cake (1 qt sour cream, 6 lbs sugar, 6 lbs butter, 5 lbs raisins . . . whites of 18 eggs, yolks of 10 eggs, 1 tsp soda, 2 tsps cream of tartar, flour) A Wedding Cake (3 lbs each of flour, butter, and sugar, a lot of brandy, rosewater, 30 eggs) and A Bride’s Cake (24 egg whites beaten to a stiff froth” and very little flour, flavored “with peach or lemon”). But these enticing recipes lack elementary information. Mix what with what? When? Cook how? For how long?
This leads me to the award-winning pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz of New York’s Flora Bar and Café Altro Paradiso, who has recently created a stir with her cakes. She tells me that her resolution last year was to learn more about layer cakes. “I’d been a little traumatized by bad cake experiences,” she says. “But the last thing you taste at a meal is what you remember, so I had to start making them.”
I meet Pickowicz, who wears black Blundstone boots and a dishwasher’s shirt, on a warm, drizzly morning in the kitchen of SoHo’s Café Altro Paradiso. She begins with some philosophy. “It has to taste delicious,” she says, pulling two industrial baking sheets filled with buttercup-yellow genoise sponge from a refrigerator. “That’s the only thing that matters to me.” What about gum paste? CelPins? She laughs. “I don’t even use cake pans except to cut circles out of these big sheets.” Pickowicz is radically au courant in other ways. “My cakes are almost all gluten-free. I want as many people as can possibly eat them to eat them.” Sometimes they’re made of millet today’s is rice flour.
She gives me a simple recipe for making the sponge and shows me how to use a 9-inch cake round as an extra-large cookie cutter. I taste a leftover corner. It’s only barely sweet. “Sugar is not a flavor,” she says. “It tends, actually, to obliterate flavor.” She has no such prejudice against booze, and we drench each layer in lightly sweetened Prosecco until it emits a burble of wine when pressed upon. “Never skip the soak,” she warns. “It makes the transition to the filling more subtle.” Then come sour passion-fruit puree, passion-fruit seeds, celeriac mousse, and celeriac crumble. The mousse is airy and tangy, and I would love it as much with pink lamb chops as inside a cake. The crumble is lightly crisp and muted—understated savory cotton candy. Our work is quick and casual. “If things don’t line up perfectly, it doesn’t really matter.” The cake is chilled, then frosted with a heavy whipped cloud of barely sweet Swiss buttercream. Onto this go a few live (inedible) cherry blossoms, pilfered from dining-room arrangements, and three small branches on a wabi-sabi slant. I delight in Maggie Austin’s artistry, which is of a different caliber, more sculpture than baking, but there is something to be said for how little time—under ten seconds, by my watch—it takes to decorate this one.
On my two-hour train ride home to Hudson, Pickowicz’s cake gets quite warm when I open its white plastic container, I see it has acquired a Tower of Pisa tilt. But I rechill it and serve it after a dinner party, and its layers are still beautifully defined. The flavors are subtle, barely sweet, sour, tingly, a luscious array of contrasts that blend beautifully in each bite.
I’ve missed the window for advising my friend. He gave up on me ages ago, anyway, and has planned to order right off the dessert menu at Olmsted, the Brooklyn restaurant where his (tiny) wedding is taking place. I should really reply to his note about layers, though, before sipping champagne with his grandmother at the ceremony next week. Omnia vincit amor! (“Love conquers all!”), I type to him, thinking that, in truth, a wedding dessert is something everyone should choose for himself.
15 Wedding Finger Foods That Will Delight All Your Guests
Wedding season is a special time for any couple. Between bridal showers and bachelor or bachelorette parties, no one should want for festive events during this special window of time. But before anyone can walk down the aisle, the soon-to-be newlyweds have lots of decisions to make, from colors of dresses to flowers on the table. There's also the wedding cake and reception menu, too. Some of these chores are easier (and tastier) than others. So before you worry about what to serve your hungry guests, we've compiled our best finger foods for a wedding reception. Choose one, choose some, or choose ambition and choose them all. No matter how you choose to wedding, there are no wrong answers with these wedding finger foods.
The Casual Monogram
Monograms make wedding details like your cake feel customized and bespoke, but if fancy-pants letters piped in white icing aren't your style, then go ahead and dial down the formality. More casual chalkboard letters or hand-painted initials feel unfussy and fresh. Cake by Erica Oɻrien Cake Design .
This Very Accurate Dog Owners Wedding Cake
I absolutely love this one! How doggo even has cake in the face.
The rich fruit cake is easy to make, ice with marzipan for a perfect fruit cake.
Ingredients for Dark Wedding Fruit Cake:
|*||220 g plain flour|
|*||1𠑄 tsp salt|
|*||1𠑂 tsp mixed spice|
|*||1𠑂 tsp ground cinnamon|
|*||200 g butter|
|*||2 Tbsp black treacle|
|*||1 Tbsp marmalade|
|*||1𠑄 tsp vanilla essence|
|*||4 medium eggs, lightly beaten|
|*||800 g mixed dried fruit|
|*||100 g chopped mixed peel|
|*||150 g glace cherries, halved|
|*||100 g blanched almonds, chopped|
|*||250 ml orange liqueur , or orange juice|
|*||200 g brown sugar|
Instructions for Making a Dark Fruit Cake
|Step 1:||Soak the fruit |
Soak 800g mixed dried fruit, 100g chopped mixed peel and 150g glace cherries in 250ml orange liqueur overnight.
|Step 2:||Preheat oven |
The next day, heat your oven to 150C/300F/Gas2. Grease a 20cm/8inch round or an 18cm/7inch square cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.
|Step 3:||Flour mixture |
Sieve 225g plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon into a bowl.
|Step 4:||Butter mixture |
Cream 200g butter and 200g dark brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and then mix in 2 tablespoons of black treacle, 1 tablespoon marmalade and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
|Step 5:||Add eggs |
Beat 4 eggs, and fold them a little at a time into the mixture adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture with the last of the eggs.
|Step 6:||Add flour mixture |
Fold in the remaining flour mixture until well mixed. Then mix in the soaked fruit mixture with 100g chopped almonds.
|Step 7:||Bake |
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and make a slight hollow in the centre. Bake in the oven for 3 hours and then test with a skewer. If it's not ready bake for up to another hour testing every 20 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
|Step 8:||Cool |
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
|Step 9:||Soak |
Once cool, make a few holes in the cake with a skewer and pour over 3-4 tbsp of Orange Liqueur. Let it soak into the cake. Store the cake wrapped in foil and in an airtight tin or plastic container, holes side up.
|Step 10:||Store |
For a rich and moist cake, spoon over a few tablespoons of brandy, Orange Liqueur, or for an alcohol free version use cold tea, every week until you are ready to ice and decorate your cake.
1. Add ingredients
2. Sift flour
3. Add mixture
4. Mixture in cake tin
5. Add orange Liquor
6. Ready to store
Below is a picture of the finished product after following the wedding cake recipe provided.
Bake Your Own Wedding Cake!
If you’re having a small wedding, or if you are on a strict budget, you might consider making your own White Wedding Cake (or having a family member do it for you. This is a very simple recipe, and I have suggestions for you on how you can make a smaller cake like this and still feed all of your guests with the same cake. Read on!
You don’t have to be a professional cake decorator to bake your own wedding cake. I’ve always had an interest in baking, but I wouldn’t say I have any kind of special talent that is above any other avid baker. When my son was in Kindergarten, his teacher was getting married and asked if I might be interested in baking a cake for her small wedding. I was terrified to take on the responsibility, but I agreed to do it!
Wedding Cake in a Jar — this will change your life!!
I am in love with this dessert! Yes, I think I want to marry it. I mean, who doesn’t LOVE wedding cake?? This girl sure loves a good piece of wedding cake!
I began dreaming of putting all of the perfect wedding cake elements into a little jar several months ago, when I started planning my cousin’s wedding shower. I immediately knew what type of wedding cake I would assemble: MY wedding cake.
Almost 15 years ago, and I still remember it’s perfection. Moist, perfectly sweet ((but not too sweet)) white cake filled with a yummy lemon curd, covered in the most perfect vanilla buttercream, topped with a beautiful mix of fresh seasonal berries.
Now, as many of you know, I am NO cake decorator. So, the beauty above will never come out of my kitchen and I am OK with that! But that doesn’t mean I can’t make something just as tasty!!
So, here is what I did. Earlier in the week, I made THE MOST PERFECT lemon curd, thanks to a recipe from Alton Brown. You can view the recipe HERE.
I doubled Alton’s ((oh, yes, I feel like I can call him by his first name after attending his Alton Brown LIVE show in OKC earlier this month — but if I saw him in person, I would freeze and stutter!!)) recipe, acting on this one truth: You can NEVER have too much lemon curd. Lots of zesting, juicing and egg separating is totally worth it when I know what is coming at the end!
Alton’s recipe instructs the reader to combine the yolks and sugar BEFORE placing the mixture on the heat. ((check))
Then mix in the zest & juice. Finally, place the metal bowl of yolks, sugar & lemon over the pot of boiling water and whisk until thickened. I think this step took about 20 minutes because I doubled the ingredients.
Before adding the butter, I chose to strain the mixture. Straining was not an instruction included in the recipe — but it DEFINITELY needs strained.
Do you see what I see?? Mainly zest. I sure hated to throw it away, so I gave each of the boys a giant spoon full. They winced and their eyes watered — in a good sour bomb, cry baby, war head sort of way. It was a hoot! And – hello vitamin C!! Now they are healthy as little solider horses.
Back into the double boiler ((with no flame)) and butter added. People this is heaven.
Just look at this quart of perfection. Mouth-watering, golden gorgeousness.
I told asked mom to make 2 White Texas Sheet Cakes ((just the cake — the best white cake I have EVER eaten, trust me)). That, my friends was my first mistake. She took this as an opportunity to yank my chain, texting ((which is a recent talent she has acquired)) me a message saying she had no almond extract, but used pineapple juice instead & it will be fine.
As I read the words, my eyes bulged and my throat constricted. I was on my knees planting spinach in my garden, dirt practically up to my elbows, when I received her text. I quickly responded while muttering “things” to myself.
She is something and yes for some reason, this cake DOES bring out the jokester in her — just read about her initial elaborate trick HERE. How do you like her use of emojis??
With the cake and curd finished, it was time to move on — buttercream. Not just any buttercream though. I needed to create the perfect Wedding Cake Buttercream ((WCB)). WCB is serious business. I mean it set the entire tone of the wedding and very possibly the marriage. Really, it is a life & death issue. “IT-HAS-TO-BE-PERFECT” — I yelled these words at my inner self as I began gathering the ingredients.
For my WCB, I used the usual suspects: pure cane powdered sugar, salted butter & salt. Instead of milk, I used ((almost the entire carton of)) heavy whipping cream & started with the plan of using only almond extract.
I used chilled butter and whipped it for 30 seconds before adding the powdered sugar.
Then I decided to use half vanilla// half almond extract as the flavoring. This was a good decision — it was perfectly flavored.
Next came the cream. I wanted a thick, fluffy, spreadable buttercream — and cream is the ticket to get there.
What I don’t have pictured is adding about 3 T of whole milk, it was just a little too thick.
I am forcing myself to share my secret to reaching WCB perfection — it is a good secret. I don’t want you to be in the dark about these important buttercream things, so I compel myself to let it be made known. Sugar – the secret is sugar. Pure, granulated cane sugar.
Add 2 T of sugar while whipping the buttercream on high. Once incorporated, turn the mixer off and taste. You will want to wet yourself – it is just that good. I am not kidding, you have been warned.
Now, I know I have been talking a lot and yes, there are several steps. But, that is just how it is in the wedding world — so hang in there. It’s worth it. It is time to assemble the cakes in a jar.
The cakes need to be completely cooled before cutting – or else, you may cry. Save the tears for the I do’s and cool the cakes, or better yet make a day ahead. Jelly jars are the perfect serving size, so find a ring cutter that will allow the cake layers to slide right into the jar and start cutting.
Now you need to know – there will be cake waste. That is okay AND it is also okay to freeze the unused bits OR throw them away ((gasp)). I would like to encourage you NOT to yield to the urge to eat the remnants. Especially don’t make yourself cute mini taste-tests. That can be VERY pants-tighteningly dangerous, I would imagine.
Put a nice dollop of WCB in the bottom of the jar. Well, we could just stop here – because this buttercream is just that good.
But the cake is just so good too. So add a cake round.
Oh, and that buttery lemon curd — it makes my heart flutter so.
And, don’t be stingy with the curd! A nice heaping tablespoon is a good amount.
One remaining delicious dollop of WCB tops the last cake round. Then, you need to find the cutest little helper money can’t buy to help top the jar cakes with a beautiful blend of seasonal berries.