Saturday, December 09, 2006

"LET THEM EAT (WEDDING) CAKE: PART III"

One important thing to remember about wedding cakes: they don't have to taste like cardboard anymore.

In the past, brides often felt that they either had to sacrifice SUBSTANCE or STYLE -- even just a few years back, a beautiful and/or creative wedding cake wasn't necessarily....tasty. On the other hand, a yummy wedding cake was oftentimes limited in terms of how creative it could be.

So, how do you make sure that the cake is both tasty and tasteful/beautiful/magical/[INSERT YOUR FAVORITE ADJECTIVE HERE]?

There are a few things to think about on your quest to find the perfect cake--one that your friends and family will enjoy eating--and looking at.

1) CHOOSE A BAKER BASED ON "YOUR VISION": Before you go cake shopping, think about the overall theme/vision of your wedding, and how your cake is meant to fit in. Things to ponder: color scheme, traditional versus modern, and shape. My suggestion is to take clippings of cakes you've seen (and either adored or even hated!) in magazines or websites--this will help you think about what path you're taking--and how the bakery can help meet your needs. In addition, keep in mind the season in which you will hold your wedding reception, as well as whether you are partial to integrating real flowers into the cake--or if you want to let the cake speak for itself in terms of color and style. Many cake makers have websites, which is a great place to start--you can really get to know his/her individual style (whether they are more of a 'romantic' when it comes to creating a cake, or if their taste tends towards funky or unconventional).

2)INGREDIENTS, INGREDIENTS, INGREDIENTS : According to "The Knot", there are a myriad of tasty options when it comes to wedding cake confections. According to the Knot website: "Buttercream, made from butter and sugar is smooth and creamy, and it stays soft so it’s easy to cut, color, and flavor...easily shaped into swags, borders, and flowers. Fondant, another popular option is made of sugar, corn syrup, water, and gelatin, and is rolled out with a rolling pin before it’s draped over the cake. It makes a smooth firm base for decorative details, and it has a porcelain finish. Other icing choices include marzipan, a paste made from ground almonds, used in sheets like fondant; whipped cream, a sweetened whipped heavy cream (great with fruit fillings); and ganache, a rich mix of chocolate and cream."

Although you needn't be the Rachel Ray of wedding cakes before going to see different bakers, it's a good idea to get schooled on the type of ingredients mentioned above, as the ability to fufill your vision--not to mention the price--will depend on the type of ingredients used. The importance of BALANCE when it comes to a successful wedding cake cannot be overstated--emphasize to the prospective baker that the cake needs to look amazing--and taste that way too!

3) MIND OVER MATTER (THINKING ABOUT THE BUDGET) : No matter what goes into your cake (literally), it's important to remember that while brides have beautiful visions, if the price doesn't work, then you may need to scale things down. The cost of the cake is, at least most of the time, calculated per slice. And, according to the Wedding Channel, most brides spend between $3-$6 per slice. (That money adds up as you find your guest list getting longer and longer!) However, the price per slice for more complicated and elaborate cakes can go up to as much as $20 bucks! Therefore, you should get as much as possible for what you pay, since this is a large expense that is one of the most noticeable.

Like with every other item on the list of expenses, make sure you get what you want--in writing. (Will purchase of your cake include delivery and set up? What about a cake topper/stand? Whether big or small, the questions aren't stupid--and should be asked. Your vision is important, but the price must be right. Make sure you have open communication with each prospective baker--you'll thank yourself for it.

These are just a few of the things you need to think about when attempting to achieve BALANCE as regards your wedding cake. Your guests should be wowed by both the taste of the confection--and the imagination that goes behind it.

Stay tuned!

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