The centerpiece of a reception, the grand wedding cake is tantamount to the flowers, the music, and the wedding gown. Moreover, the cutting of the cake is practically up there with exchanging the marriage vows.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
The centerpiece of a reception, the grand wedding cake is tantamount to the flowers, the music, and the wedding gown. Moreover, the cutting of the cake is practically up there with exchanging the marriage vows. It symbolizes the bride and groom’s very first duty as a married couple. Feeding each other those first slices of cake represents the newlyweds’ devotion to one another. If only the rest of their days would be so sweet! A highly anticipated part of the celebration, it is also probably one of the most photographed rituals ever, making a beautiful wedding cake timeless.
Corner Stone understands how important a stunning wedding cake is to nuptial bliss. For two decades, Owner and Pastry Chef Liz Stone with Pastry Chef Walter Pulla have been creating exquisitely designed and delicious cakes. One of their creations was featured in Martha Stewart’s bestseller, “Wedding Cakes”.
At an initial consultation, Ms. Stone provides a tasting and discusses ideas, food allergies, colors, and flavors with each couple. The bride and groom-to-be should contact the store about five months in advance.
The days of plain, white hatbox wedding cakes are over. Today’s trends lean toward white cakes with accentuating designs that often express the couple’s personality. The direction might be determined by the invitation’s theme, the color of a bridesmaid’s sash or the ribbons on the flowers. Instead of the compulsory bride and groom on top, flowers, bows or birds might be perched atop the cake. All of Corner Stone’s cakes have a butter cream coating and are embellished with fondant decorations, from rose petals and flowery vines to ribbons, Swiss dot, and filigree.
On the inside, a white cake with layers of filling is still the hands-on favorite, but depending upon the couple’s taste, flavors may be dictated by the time of year. In spring and summer, fresh strawberries and cream with another layer of lemon curd or chocolate is popular. Carrot cake and red velvet cake are big in the fall, while a heavier cake with chocolate pralines might be perfect for a winter wedding.
Another trend is a throwback to what Ms. Stone calls the “Betty Crocker” look with the wavy icing strokes. Whether, simple or intricate, elegant or whimsical, as Ms. Stone says, “Cakes have become very personal and we put our heart and soul into each one.”
At 350° Classic Bakeshop, the dessert possibilities for the big day are endless. Owner and Executive Pastry Chef Keyes Clemmer is on the cutting edge of the cupcake trend. More and more couples are choosing cupcakes, in lieu of a cake, for their receptions. They can be made according to any theme, flavor, or color. Fondant florals, such as delicate keepsake roses or calla lilies, are breathtaking.
What about the cutting of the cake? The Bakeshop offers enchanting 5-inch three-layer cake toppers that the bride and groom may cut into, keeping the ritual and photo op intact. As decadent and fancy as the couple prefers, these toppers are decorated with royal icing Swiss dot patterns, fondant ribbons, or just about anything the couple prefers. Some opt for separate toppers for the bride and groom in different flavors.
The combination of these darling mini-cake towers and cupcakes cost less, are easier to serve, and cater to the guests’ varied tastes. The fact that they may be arranged as glorious centerpieces on each table at the reception is, well, the icing on the cake.
On Greenwich Avenue, Versailles has been whipping up beautiful wedding cakes for 32 years. The bistro café and patisserie takes pride in their French confections and in customizing each and every one. The first step is calling Manager Rasa Lavigne, who will arrange a tasting with one of the pastry chefs, preferably at least two months in advance. From that conversation, the couple can decide on the look and taste of their cake.
Providing patrons with a myriad of options, the pastry chefs at Versailles could even tailor the cake so that each tier is a different flavor. Combinations may include any of their specialties, from dacquoise with crusted almond meringue to bagatelle with fresh strawberries set in cream to opera with layers of cocoa biscuit, mocha cream, and dark chocolate; and tiramisu, those ladyfinger biscuits with amaretto. For a traditional French cake, Versailles also offers the croquembouche, made with cones of cream puffs, coated with caramelized sugar and adorned with marzipan flowers.
Another popular alternative Versailles offers is having the chefs create a fake top tier or two. The nuptials may still cut into the bottom layer for the photo, while back in the kitchen individual squares are pre-cut and ready to be served. The guests need never know that half the cake is not edible, but magnificent nevertheless.