Wedding dessert is the sweetest thing

bridal-cake01When planning your wedding, you’ll have to address some nitty-gritty details, like a marriage license, transportation and creating a planning timeline, all of which can be daunting for busy couples.

But when the time comes to plan your wedding cake – or your wedding day dessert – take pure joy in this sweet task. You just might find that it’s no task at all.

Planning the cake or dessert can be a fun and delicious process because these days there are more options than ever. The bridal industry is seeing more and more innovation in cake design and decoration, as well as flavor options and combinations.  

Depending on your event venue, couples may be required to use the bakery in-house (which can be a fantastic and convenient option. Sea Pines Resort and The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa are two examples of venues that have phenomenal pastry chefs and bakeries.

If your cake can be brought in, there are many Hilton Head, Bluffton and even Savannah bakeries that are experienced for the job.

Be sure to ask questions up front about timing (some bakeries only do one cake a weekend), pricing, quantity needed based on your expected attendance and their design capabilities. Make an appointment and ask to see a portfolio of their work, if it’s not already published online. Get all those nitty-gritty questions answered and details ironed out first.

bridal-cake02After you have selected your designer and baker, the fun can begin. The design of the cake usually follows the design of the wedding, whether that be in overall style (modern, traditional, whimsical or rustic, as examples) or follows the design in color. Many cake designers like to see a picture of the bride’s dress, color swatches or palate, a picture from Pinterest that the bride is inspired by or the wedding invitation itself.

Following a trend in fashion in 2014, there has been a surge in ombre-colored cakes. This pretty nuanced look has been popping up all over Hilton Head and the Lowcountry. A newer and popular trend, especially for casual, rustic or beach weddings, is the “naked” cake. These are cakes without frosting on the outside – the cake is actually exposed. In these types of cakes, the inside frosting or filling is generally thicker in the cake layers to keep it moist.   (And isn’t frosting most people’s favorite part?!)

Many couples are choosing designs with a metallic finish to reflect their design aesthetic. These beautiful cakes are brushed in metallic gold, bronze or silver and match their colors.

Whatever cake design “trend” you go with, be sure it’s one that’s reflective of your style and one you can look back on in 25 years and still find pretty.

nakedcakeWhen it comes time to selecting the flavors, many couples often opt for the Southern tradition of red velvet cake. But since any one flavor might not appeal to everyone, it’s a good idea to give your guests options. Consider rich dark chocolate cake, vanilla bean cake, sour cream pound cake, or during the fall season, consider ones like carrot or pumpkin.

For large weddings, instead of one giant cake with three, four or five or more tiers, we are seeing a trend of multiple cakes all decorated differently. Displayed like artwork on their own table, coordinating with the design of the wedding, this adds a lot of visual interest to weddings as well as providing the guests with multiple cake options. It also contributes to the “wow” factor. Each cake can be a different flavor with various filling combinations, and each can have a unique design.

Your baker will help you determine how much cake you actually need for your wedding day. A lot will depend on whether or not you are having a seated dinner or if you are having a buffet. It will also depend on if you are having other dessert options and what time your cake is being cut and served.

The bakeries and venues in our area have successfully executed hundreds of weddings – trust the professionals to help you through this process.

goldcakeWhile the tradition of saving and freezing the top tier of the wedding cake is longstanding, many couples are choosing to eat the top tier right after their honeymoon or letting their families eat it during their honeymoon. Many bakeries will include an anniversary cake one year later that is free of charge. Don’t forget to ask about this option. Either way, we know that fresh cake tastes better than previously frozen cake – no matter how talented the baker and how delicious the cake is.

If you are adventurous or just looking to do something out of the box, consider some trends beyond a cake either as a replacement or as a secondary dessert option for your guests.

For rustic, down-home or casual weddings, there’s a movement towards pies: mini pies, large pies and all sizes in between. Especially in the fall, consider serving your guests pumpkin, apple, coconut, banana cream, chocolate cream, strawberry rhubarb ... the choices go on and on.

bridal-cake03For a more refined look, pastry chefs are preparing dessert bars with an assortment of dessert cups. Tiers and mounds of macaroons, cupcake towers and cake-pop bars are all popular alternatives to the traditional cake.

Perhaps the biggest upcoming trend for 2014 is the “cronut," oftentimes served as a late dessert snack, butler-passed just like hors d’ouevres, but this time on the dance floor. Mimicking the popular donut trend we saw in 2013, the cronut is a croissant that is deep fried and frosted just like a donut. How bad could that be?

For other butler-passed desserts, consider milk shooters and delicious chocolate chip cookies, whoopee pies or oreos dipped in white, dark and milk chocolate. All ideas are a play on old-school favorites. It’s those childhood, nostalgic comfort foods that appeal to everyone and are sure to be crowd pleasers.

To give your guests something sweet to take home, you can’t go wrong with a candy buffet. Varying-sized glass hurricanes can be filled with color-coordinated candy and chocolates. Guests love filling goodie bags up to snack on during the bus or trolley ride back to the hotel. Don’t forget a cute personalized favor bag to go with it. Though this isn’t new or a trend, it’s a classic that doesn’t seem to be going away. You might also like the idea of a dozen munchkin donuts in personalized Chinese takeout containers – great for a morning breakfast snack.

bridal-cake04For late night in the Lowcountry, many couples are still enjoying campfire s’mores as a secondary dessert option. It’s a yummy treat that brings guests together in a more relaxed and quiet setting as the party rages on inside the clubhouse or under the tent.

What’s most important when it comes to choosing the sweets for your wedding day is that you and your husband like them, and you are providing your guests with options. Trust the professionals at your local venue or bakery to create the cake or dessert bar of your dreams. By providing them with direction, your vision and the ideas you have, sit back and relax. You’re sure to have a divine ending to your evening.

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