Cakes With Character

Put a Personal Touch on Your Wedding Dessert

Cakes With CharacterGone are the days of cheesy, plastic bride and groom cake toppers. Couples are thinking outside the box for their wedding desserts, and the result is not only beautiful but delicious.

“Weddings are moving away from the standard for baseline cakes—carrot, white or red velvet were the standards for many years,” said Derek Spendlove, chairman of the baking & pastry arts program at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. “Now, the most popular flavors we’re seeing are mousses—flavor infusions to the actual cake or dessert.”

Unique flavors are taking inspiration from the wedding flowers. Daffodils, for instance, are being paired with a little bit of lemon and a berry mousse. Other flavors to please the palate include chocolate mousse, peppermint, chocolate basil, buttercream, hummingbird, tiramisu, chocolate mint and lemon curd with different fruits and berries.

“There was a time when you had two choices, white or chocolate,” Spendlove said. “If you didn’t like either of those, you were probably in trouble. You also had a choice of buttercream and fondant. Fondant has a bad rap, but now you can infuse flavors into the fondant by adapting oils.”

Many brides, armed with a brain full of Internet research and magazine spreads, understand that fondant, a cream confectionary that can be molded, means elaborate decorations—edible masterpieces that often become the focal point of the day and the wedding photography.

Cakes With character“In the early days, it was just standard yellow or chocolate. They took the cake, cut it up and people looked at it… ‘Yeah, it’s a cake,’” Spendlove said. “Now, it’s decorated. They’re looking for the wow factor. They want to see elegance, flavor, color, texture, height and eye appeal.”

Spendlove said many brides want their cakes to emulate the soft, satiny feel of their wedding dress. Some cake décor is taken after the china pattern.

Mary Schaefer, culinary program director of Virginia College in Jacksonville, FL, suggested that couples keep it simple. “What’s in is a single candle on the top with a gorgeous holder,” she said. “Antiques are pretty big. The bride will take a cake topper passed on from the family and glue on some satin or little flowers.”

Other options include fresh flowers, monograms, childhood photos, fondant bows with fresh fruit, truffles and crushed candy around the sides.

If you think the bride’s and groom’s sweet teeth end with the traditional wedding cake, think again. Couples are incorporating a unique menu of yummy goodies for their big day.

Schaefer said many weddings have action stations, where someone makes custom desserts for their guests, such as ice cream, crepes or an assortment of mini desserts in shot glasses.

Spendlove said he’s seeing a rise in mini-pastries, petit fours and truffles. “They are popular items at weddings, simple elegant,” he said. “Many times, you can put them into nice boxes that people take away from the wedding.”

Cakes With characterPerhaps what gives the wedding true character and shows the couple’s personalities is the groom’s cake. According to Schaefer, the number one theme for groom’s cakes is the groom’s hobby. “If he’s a fisherman, the cake has a theme of fishing; if he’s a golfer, the cake will have golf balls on it,” she said.

The cake also can simply be something the groom likes, such as a big donut or a hamburger. “What’s really big is the alma mater, like the Florida Gators, and edible images like the groom’s baby pictures,” Schaefer said. According to Spendlove, some brides are also requesting cakes that represent their personality and interests. “I saw a bride who had a cake that was reproduced into a sailboat because she was into sailing. The groom was into building, so he had a house for his cake,” he said.

One thing is sure. Couples are adding their own twists to their wedding menu. “They’re no longer looking for a piece of cake on a plate, but [something that represents] who they are as bride and groom,” Spendlove said.