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How Sweet It Is!
by Sara Abrams

A wedding would not be complete without a spectacular wedding cake! The cake is one of the main centerpieces of the reception, something that will be oohed and aahed over, photographed, and talked about the next day. And thankfully, gone are the days of the cheesy plastic bride and groom dolls on the top of the cake. Say hello to high art in the form of high calories!


Your wedding party is not the time to be worried about fat content or carbs. A cake must taste as good as it looks, filled with luxuriant ingredients. Fillings may consist of custard and pastry cream, or ganache, which is a filling made from heavy cream and dark chocolate. Common icings are Fondant or butter cream. Cakes can be elaborately decorated with vibrantly colored sugarpaste flowers, ribbons, lace, polka dots, or almost anything you can conceive.


A wedding cake is traditionally stacked or tiered with round cakes, or squares, or hexagons (six sides) or sometimes specially molded with a theme. It appears that the explanation of stacking the cakes does not have any deep symbolism. Dianna Tornow, a cake designer who owns Dianna Tornow Cakes in Columbia, SC, relayed that Queen Victoria started the trend of the layering cakes. Scones or biscuits would be stacked together creating a domed look and it was decided that instead of stacking the sweets, different size cakes would be made to lay on top of each other.


Dianna did point out that some rituals may be kept, for example, using the color blue on the cake to symbolize fertility, but most brides and grooms do not request any traditional significance be woven into the look of the cake. Dianna will ask the bride if she has picked her gown yet, and if she has not, it is suggested she come back for the cake consultation after she has her gown. The reason for this, is that the gown usually sets the tone of the design of the cake. For example, if the cake has lace on it, that may be incorporated in the cake with a sugar design. If the gown is modern, or traditional, or frilly, it will become the starting point for designing the cake.


Per Dianna, “The cake trends that are popular for spring-summer 2010 still remain the lace or design of the wedding gown to be simulated on the cake. Most wedding cakes are an ivory background with the white decorations. Black and white accents may be added to the cake with red roses to tie it all together in an elegant way.”


Cakes are ordered 12 to 18 months in advance after a tasting/consultation that takes about an hour. Dianna’s bestseller is a French vanilla cake with Bavarian cream and raspberry filling, frosted with butter cream and enrobed in a white chocolate rolled fondant.  Most brides prefer the cake stacked in tiers as opposed to the spacing filled with flowers.


Prepare for some sticker shock when you decide on your cake. Your cake will need to serve a large number of guests and the ingredients are costly, not to mention the labor involved. It will take Dianna at least three days to prepare a typical wedding cake with many of the sugarpaste decorations being made earlier in the week. A bride with a certain budget can order a smaller wedding cake and then add to that with sheet cakes served after the wedding cake runs out.


The cutting of the wedding cake is symbolic and a ritual that certainly takes place in most Western weddings. This sentimental moment is one of the first acts the couple performs together at the beginning of their new life. You should discuss with the cake designer or wedding planner the best way to cut the cake, and make sure the photographer and videographer are on hand to catch the big moment!


One last thing, smashing wedding cake in each other’s face is not a required ritual… It is symbolic of nothing and its origin is unclear. Unless the bride and groom both think this is a cute and funny moment, it is probably best to skip this and move onto the dance floor or tossing the bouquet!

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