Over time the idea of a cake has slowly simmered down. The hot new trends of cake pops and dessert tables are taking the attention away from the grand art of cake decorating. Until I starting working with Momma Sasha, my proximity to beautiful cakes was limited to my birthday cakes which were always some sort of Disney theme from our local Safeway. The idea of having a big cake for a celebration was something I looked forward to, especially since I started seeing some amazing creations from Fleur de Lisa Cakes. Large, multitier cakes aren’t seen as a necessity as they once were when it comes to wedding traditions. The tradition of cutting the cake is now seen as an interruption in the party flow. So if there is no cake cutting, is there still a need for a traditional cake?
While I am not a huge fan of cake, usually only eating a bite or two total (unless its a really delicious ice cream cake with a very specific kind of Safeway icing), having a cake at a wedding is about more than flavor. The art of baking and decorating a cake is a talent that takes skill and practice along with flowing creativity. Just like a florist creating center pieces and bouquets or a caterer dressing a plate of perfect fillet, a baker’s confection is the “icing on the cake” (pun intended) for their big day while treating their guests to another special treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.
Traditionally speaking, cutting the cake (or a loaf of bread back in Roman times) was the first thing a couple did together after getting married. Cutting and serving cake to guests was a united effort to share, invite, and thank guests for attending the wedding. With couples today picking and choosing what traditions to include in their event, I like the idea of keeping this tradition and since I know how much my non-groom Brandon loves cake, he would be on board, partying and cutting cake at the same time.
Just because couples choose to keep the traditional cake doesn’t mean a dessert table is out of the question. Cake bakers can still get creative on smaller dessert options without eliminating the idea of a main cake as well. A popular wedding magazine recently suggested having a cake baker decorate one layer of actual cake along with multiple layers of styrofoam while then serving sheet cake to guests who would “be none the wiser”; marrying the idea of having a big cake while saving a few dollars. Sounds like a great idea, but what about having a smaller, yet main cake and lots of other little desserts? This way you can have different flavors and different looks that are tied together by the design of the main cake.
Another way to keep both the cake and the dessert table is to offer things that can be homemade like Grandma’s famous snickerdoodle cookie and Aunt Peggy’s fruit tart? Bringing in family recipes in potluck kind of way gives certain guests some importance and melds with the tradition of sharing your family with your guests. Having multiple kinds of desserts to make every guest happy still doesn’t mean a couple needs to negate a cake.
Here are some of my favorite cakes I have seen and their counterpart dessert options:
This three-tiered fondant cake covered in ombré colored candied hearts is simple and modern. The main cake can come in many sizes and can be supplemented by raspberry cheesecake bites and heart-shaped beignets.
Macaroons have been a trendy staple since the dessert table first became popular. These blue macaroons match the ruffled three-tiered wedding cake. Another fun and tasty treat that is gaining momentum on the dessert table are churros. Add a fun colored dipping cup for the chocolate, a neat patterned paper napkin and churros can go with anything.
Chocolate is a favorite when it comes to desserts. Chocolate chip cookies especially. They are the perfect accent to this single tiered honeycomb chocolate cake. To make the chocolate more adult, top off the evening with a chocolate Guinness milkshake.
There are some cakes that take my breath away. This hand painted single tier cake is one of them. In an instance like that, I wouldn’t want to clutter the table with other rich desserts. Mochi ice cream, a Japanese dessert of ice cream inside “mochi”, pounded or pressed sticky/sushi rice, is one of my favorite desserts. bite sized in any flavor and (mostly) drip free, guests will love them. To take another more adult approach to dessert, cosmo jello shots are sure to keep the party going on the dance floor.