Wedding Cakes with Personality
Forget dresses, venues, vows and catering — when it comes to weddings, it’s really all about the cake says chef Lance Seeto. Weddings are an expensive celebration of matrimony and pleasing both sides of the family is no easy task. Unlike other celebratory events, weddings are all about critical decisions and compromises that mimimise cost, potential embarrassment and ensure that friends and family leave with at least a few good things to say about your wedding. Many of us have encountered the wicked aunty who lashes her sharp tongue from everything to the venue, the quality of the food and even the suitability of the couple. And what wedding doesn’t expect the drunken outbursts of a male relative who decides to air the family’s grievances in front of everyone. And then there are the logistical questions around the event itself. Will it be a family wedding at home or at a fancy hotel? DJ, band or wedding karaoke? A photo booth, photographer or photo-taking drones? Do you need to invite that relative you haven’t seen since you were a kid? Or would it be easier to stop worrying about it all, pick your dream destination, run off on holidays and elope? They’re all important things to consider. However there is one component of any wedding that you just cannot avoid and will have most of your guests talking about in days and weeks after the event - the cake. The wedding cake is the piece de resistance of the event. It is the main focal point, and one of the biggest expenditures you will reluctantly have to decide upon. Whilst the catered food might be the same old fare of pilau rice, a lovo feast or a grand dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the modern wedding cake is a reflection of the couple’s personality and union. The shape, colour and flavour of the cake will help define the theme of the wedding. It is a tiered, white fondant cake to reflect the traditional values of the couple, or is it bright, wacky and loud cake that screams a more modern lifestyle. The cutting of the cake is also a task full of symbolism, as the bride and groom share a piece of cake before distributing it to the guests to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other. Giving your guests a dried, artificially sweet cake might just say more about your
burgeoning relationship than you think. There was a time when wedding cakes were booze-infused fruit cakes covered with marzipan, a mix of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Over the centuries the wedding cake has evolved into an elaborate, multi-tiered dessert that in many cases is the main focal point of the wedding reception. Royal wedding cakes are a sight to behold as the elaborate lemon and elderberry creation for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently showed. Nowadays, cakes are made with many types of cake centre, from chocolate mud, vanilla, red velvet and floral scented citrus. The traditional almond marzipan has made way for fancy coverings like icing, butter cream, fondant, chocolate ganache and in some cases, none at all.
OMBRÉ SPLASH OF COLOUR
Ombré wedding cakes are one of the most popular type of cakes in modern weddings, with flowers, ruffles and watercolours to impress your guests. Named after the French term meaning to have colours or tones that shade into each other, ombré wedding cakes have made a big splash over the last couple of years and it is certainly a trend that’s here to stay. It’s easy to see why – the ombré trend allows you to add colour to your wedding cake, without it being too bright, you can use any colour and it will still look classy. Whether you opt for ombré buttercream icing with ruffles or choose to interpret the style on the interior, there are so many ways to work this the trend into your wedding dessert. Plus, the ombré effect works on every color, shade, and hue imaginable.
In days gone by, many guests would peel off the traditional marzipan or fondant icing just to eat the cake inside, and hence the naked cake was born. This trend is fairly new but it’s gaining popularity quickly for its rustic yet elegant feel. The naked wedding cake is a lovely way to showcase your cake and make it stand-out – it will truly be a enterpiece and have your guests eagerly anticipating getting a slice. The advantage of the naked wedding cake is that you can focus just on flavours and make sure that it tastes as good as it looks – the simplicity allows the baker to focus on quality cake and filling.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
Nothing denotes affluence and bling like a splash of gold and shiny metal in wedding dresses, décor and of course on wedding cakes. Edible gold and silver sheets and decorations are affordable if your cake budget is big enough. Beautiful bronze, glittering golds, charming copper and shimmering silver are all colours that could look amazing when incorporated on your wedding cake. Imagine old world glam – this is what you’ll get with a metallic wedding cake.
A FRENCH FLAIR
The colourful macarons biscuit is one of the most popular sweet treats in fine bakeries – their sweet and airy texture with just the slightest bit of crunch transports us to the streets of Paris with a coffee in hand. You can now add that sophistication to your wedding cake by incorporating French macarons – either as decoration, or you can have the whole cake made of macarons. The advantage is they can be made in almost any colour you can think of – so they will match your theme perfectly.
Many couples use their wedding cake to showcase their personalities or a mutual interest. If you share a passion for favorite hobbies, sports or career, it is a quirky and fun way to add some personality to your cake, and it’s sure to be a conversation starter among your guests. Handpainted quotes are also popular in modern cakes, with favorite poems or philosophy shouting out what the couple believe in.
BUILD YOUR CAKE
Not everyone eats wedding cake, and cutting up the traditional cake can be messy, so another great idea is to use smaller cakes to build up a wedding cake. Cupcake wedding cakes have become popular as each cupcake can be individually designed for flavour and looks, whilst still looking modern and cool. The popularity of doughnuts has also seen this sweet pastry incorporated into wedding cake stands and are sure to be a huge talking point. Just provide take away boxes for your guests so they can enjoy a sweet treat later. This is also less wasteful, as a mountain stack of cupcakes or doughnuts is unlikely to last very long. The wedding cake is an important part of the whole day so make sure you choose a reputable baker or pastry chef who can deliver exactly what you want. Respect the time and effort a pastry chef must also dedicate to buy quality ingredients, bake the cakes and spend an extraordinary number of late night hours to decorate it. You get what you pay for, but in the case of your wedding cake, pay as much as you can afford as it is also a symbol of your personality for everyone to see and taste.
Watercolour frostings has become a popular wedding trends
Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding cake was an elegant lemon and floral elderberry flavoured
Cake toppers can sometimes say it all
LANCE SEETO is a multi award-winning chef, media personality & food writer. He is currently the head chef at Malamala Beach Club, Fiji