I think that, along with choosing your wedding dress, choosing a cake is one of the most pleasant and exciting parts of your wedding preparation. It is definitely the tastiest one! Going to see your chef-pâtissier, looking through the cake catalogue or simply eye-devouring the cakes in exposition… Is there anything more seducing than that?! Well, only sampling your own cake – the one you had chosen after a scrupulous selection process or the one you fell in love with at first sight.
However, even if you usually know what you want, even if choosing something for hours has never been about you and even if it takes you about 30 seconds looking at a menu to decide what you will be having – trust me, when it comes to choosing your wedding cake, you might find yourself at a loss. You will be surprised just how many types and kinds of wedding cakes there are nowadays. And since your cake will be the centerpiece of your wedding reception, it is really hard to overestimate the importance of its design, quality and, of course, taste.
I myself have not yet decided which cake I want for my own wedding (which will take place in August 2016, by the way 😉 ), and so I thought it would be a good idea to write a few words about the different types of cakes that are ‘en vogue’. Hopefully it will help you and me to make up our mind!
Let’s start with the eternal classics, shall we?
If you’re a classic white-dress-black-tuxedo couple, this is what you might be looking for. Classical elegance, tiered structure, tender pastel colors coupled with beautiful décor of pearls, lace or even crystals – these are the elements of a traditional wedding cake. Add fine garlands, lacework, floral cotton appliqués, satin or lace ribbons for a bespoke wedding cake. What you should consider when opting for a traditional-yet-unique cake for your big day? Firstly, the size. A seven-tier pyramid looks impressive but if you have a small wedding of 30-40 guests you will most probably waste the cake and the money. Secondly, consider different flavors: if it is a sever-tier cake, you could make each tier with its own flavor. Ask your pastry chef for suggestions to preserve the harmony of flavors. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- chocolate and vanilla
- chocolate praline
- chocolate and raspberry (my favourite! 😉 )
- dark chocolate and pear
- strawberry and cream
- lemon and vanilla
- red berries and cream
- dark chocolate and white chocolate
- coconut and chocolate
Obviously this is far not an exhaustive list of wedding cake flavors you can play with, add your favourite fruit or go for surprising combinations. Here are some more pictures of beautiful traditional wedding cakes to tease your imagination 😉
The second type of wedding cakes I would like to talk about is a classical French croquembouche – a sweet pyramid made of dozens butter choux buns filled with flavored pastry cream chocolate or fruit mousse, and then dipped in crisp caramel. As finishing, these sweet profiteroles are dipped in toasted almonds and decorated with traditional nougatine and spun sugar.
If you are organizing your wedding in France or simply want a French touch for your wedding cake, this would be a great choice. The advantage of this cake is that it is still easy to cut for bride and groom, plus it is usually a bit of a lighter option compared to a traditional cake, usually wrapped in sugar icing. It is also easy to eat: all the embellishment like sugar strings are removed before this piece montée is served to your guests.
You can opt for a customized option and take active part in the development of your croquembouche’s decor and flavor palette. Here are some crème patissiere flavor tips you might find useful:
- vanilla (you can never go wrong)
- cointreau (your adult guests will appreciate it)
- raspberry coulis (… & chocolate)
- praline (forever good)
- chocolate (… & raspberry)
- lemon (especially good for summer weddings)
- chocolate & raspberry (!)
- raspberry & chocolate (?)
- did I mention chocolate & raspberry? :-\
Next comes another pyramid cake – a cupcake wedding cake. This is the one I’m seriously considering for my own wedding. These soft baked sponge cakes, decorated with different toppings are fun and cute, simple and elegant, sophisticated and surprising – all at the same time. Out of all wedding cakes that can be personalised, this one is probably the most “personalisable”! Go and add your combined initials, or a memorable date (wedding date?), or a catchphrase that only you two will understand… The choice is limited only by your imagination.
Another reason why I love cupcake wedding cakes is because I don’t have to choose between vanilla and raspberry or chocolate and raspberry. I can take both. And add ten more flavours if I want to! You see, as a typical woman I love to have a big choice. But at the same I get lost when faced with having to take a multiple-choice decision. And if someone tries to hustle me, I stress out even more. Vicious circle 😦 Rings any bell? Seriously, if I had to choose, right now, whether I want a dark chocolate fondant or red berries and cream for my wedding cake, I’d most probably opt for a giant blueberry muffin. With a carrot on top. And then I’d run away. If you are like me, cupcake wedding cake will save your sanity.
And by the way, for those of you who are worried about how you two will cut those tiny cupcakes. Very easy: any respectable chef patissier will offer a small (or big) traditional cake on the very top of your cupcake pyramid. This will be the part for you two to cut 🙂
Useful tip: place a bunch of nice paper bags right next to your cupcake wedding cake and your guests will be able to take some with them!
From one pyramid to another we go. And yet another French delicacy – macaron wedding cake. I doubt there is a person who tried these small, perfectly round delicacies and who hasn’t fallen in love with them immediately! In fact, macarons come in hundreds of colours and flavours: from classical chocolate or raspberry to extravagant black macarons with edible gold and silver leaves. The advantage of a macaron wedding cake is similar to that of a cupcake: it is much lighter than a traditional cream-&-sugar wedding cake (they are only made with almond flour), and it is very easy to eat.
I especially appreciated this one (above) because it reminds me of Milk&Honey 😉
Useful tip: give boxes of sublime macarons, for example from Ladurée, as sweet presents to your guests. Place them in their hotel rooms along with any other memorabilia you choose. Depending on the number of guests and hotels they stay in, consider delegating this task to your wedding planner.
Off to our next type of wedding cake – themed cake. This one is, undoubtedly, the most unusual type of all. Do consider it if you are planning a themed wedding or, for example, if you wish to share your life’s passion with your guests. Some people surprise their guests with “scuba-diving” cakes, featuring sugar sharks and bright corals. Go for Vegas themed cake, Disney or Pirates of the Caribbeans wedding cake if your wedding is themed accordingly.
Useful tip: themed wedding cakes require extra time and work to design and prepare. Consider dealing with it much earlier than you would with any other type of wedding cake.
The last type of wedding cake I would like to tell you about is competing in originality with the previous one: a cheese cake. No, not a cheesecake with that delicious strawberry sauce. An actual cheese. Cake.
If you are getting married in Cote d’Azur, why not go French all the way? This type of cake would be a great “side” to your main, sweet, wedding cake. France has so much to offer in terms of gastronomy and haute cuisine that it would a pity not to make your guests “profiter”! Your cheese cake can resemble a classical wedding cake, with several tiers, several types of cheese and several colours.
Useful tip: add fresh grapes and walnuts, embellish it with satin ribbons or fresh flowers and it will look stunning right next to its “colleague”!
If you don’t know, which patisserie to choose, try these:
Ladurée – for macarons
Fauchon – also for macarons
Lenôtre – croquembouche wedding cakes and macarons
Scrumptious – for cupcake wedding cake
So Sweet – cupcakes again
Personally, I think it is always a good idea to make a small research before ordering your cake – just to see what’s out there. Well, if you are reading this post, you might be doing just that already. So go ahead, choose the one for yourself and share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below! 🙂