Cakes have changed a lot over the past several years. If you ask someone married 20 years ago about the decisions they had to make when selecting their wedding cake, they were probably as simple as yellow or chocolate? The standard white frosted 3-layer cake with pillars between each layer and the bride and groom perched lovingly atop is no longer the only cake in town.
Couples can select from, classic and clean to as non-conventional and extraordinary as you can get.
Some couples have opted for cupcakes rather than wedding cakes and some have moved away from the cake all together and selected self-service dessert bars. There are many different ways to satisfy the sweet tooth.
If you are planning on having a wedding cake here are a few major cake trends.
- Flower power: Simple classic cakes with either smooth or basketweave frosting and flowing with fresh flowers
- In Shape: Round cakes, square cakes, combinations of round and square layers as well as fun asymmetrical layers. Bottom line, bold and creative shapes and sizes are becoming increasingly more popular.
- Colorful Designs: Leaving the plain white behind and focusing on exterior artwork and design (with a baker of course). Cakes can be created with bright frosting in the color palette of the wedding or adorned with intricate designs and shapes applied to the frosting to match the invitations.
Fondant to buttercream, cakes has become major focal point of receptions. Whatever you select, your guests want to see unique cakes that represent both you as a couple and the event so, get creative and have fun with it!
A few cake terms to know before approaching the bakery.
Basketweave: Interwoven vertical and horizontal lines (like a wicker basket).
Buttercream: A smooth, creamy icing that stays soft so it's easy to cut through. It can be colored and/or flavored. Also used to create piping, swags, and other borders, as well as decorative rosettes. It can be used as filling too.
Dotted Swiss: A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble a fine dot swiss fabric.
Filling: A food paste, often fruit or cream-based, dividing or contained within cake layers.
Fondant: A sweet, elastic icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin that's rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake. It's a smooth, firm base for gum paste flowers, decorative details, and architectural designs, and has a porcelain finish.
Ganache: A sweet, rich chocolate, denser than mousse but less dense than fudge, which can be used as icing or filling.
Gum paste: A paste of sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin used to mold realistic-looking fruits and flowers to garnish a cake.
Latticework: A piping detail that criss-crosses with an open pattern.
Marzipan: A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, used to mold edible flowers or fruit to decorate the cake. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets, like fondant, and used as icing.
Pillars: Separators used in a tiered cake. They can be made of plastic or wood in several lengths to achieve the desired look.
Piping: Decorative technique created using a pastry bag and various metal tips. Piping details include leaves, borders, basket-weave patterns, and flowers.
Pulled Sugar: A technique in which boiled sugar is manipulated and pulled to produce flowers and bows.
Royal icing: Made of egg whites and confectionary sugar, this icing starts life as a soft paste piped from a pastry bag to create latticework, beading, bows, and flowers.
Tiered: A multi-layered cake effect in which each layer is separated by columns, often several inches in length. The open space between each layer allows for the placement of decorations on top of each layer.
Topper: A figurine placed on top of a wedding cake. Traditionally, the cake topper has been a bride and groom. Today we also see the couples' monogram of initial of their last name.
Torte: A dense cake that does not use leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda.
Whipped cream: Heavy cream beaten to achieve a thick consistency. Not recommended for outdoors.
Groom's Cake: A smaller cake prepared for the reception and either served along with the "bride's" wedding cake or boxed and sent home with guests.