There are so many things that go into planning a wedding: the perfect ring, the perfect dress, the perfect venue, the perfect cake. Okay, so maybe the wedding cake isn’t the first (or even the fourth) item on the list, but it’s typically a centerpiece of the reception; thus, some attention needs to be paid to ensuring it fits your taste.
Upscale Cake Options
For those who plan to spend more money on their cakes and are looking for visually attractive options, there are several unique ideas. Chalkboard cakes, which are cakes wrapped in edible fondant that looks like a chalkboard, allow the couple to truly create a one of a kind dessert that embodies their personality. They can include details from their story together, an important date, or an outline of a photo of the two of them.
Another popular option is that of textured cakes. Typically, these are multi-layered cakes that include more frosting than usual pasted into shapes, decorations, or intricate designs. The icing can be different colors to highlight the textures or the same color for a more streamlined approach.
Requests for painted cakes have also increased. As with the two-dimensional versions, these cakes can include intricate designs of landscapes, flowers, or other items, or be a simple watercolor. Any of these options allow the couple to let their personalities show and provide a beautiful focal point during the reception.
Cakes on a Budget
Some cakes are practically works of art (and cost about as much) but there are a number of options for those on a more modest budget. Depending on the theme and budget of your wedding, you can take the DIY approach and have a friend with baking chops take the lead.
If you prefer a more professional approach but are trying to minimize cost, one option is to order cakes that are not “wedding cakes,” per se. Many restaurants will allow this option as their dessert prices are fixed regardless of whether or not it is for a wedding. This will keep costs down and also enable you to purchase several flavors, which provide discerning guests some variety.
If your budget and preferences permit you to hire a professional baker, there are a plethora of decorative options. Cakes with metallic icing or “naked cakes” (those without any icing, or with icing only between the layers) are emerging trends for 2016. Tropical, rustic, and winter themes can each lend their own unique touches to the cake – bright or matte colors, flowers, fondant in winter shapes like icicles or trees, even carved pieces of wood can serve as accessories to a cake.
In addition to icing colors and quantity, there are a number of supplementary decorations that can be added to cakes to make them more fancy, fit a theme, or include personal touches that embody the ethos of the couple. Lace detailing provides a traditional but elegant touch. Baroque pieces add an old world, French motif. Fondant is an excellent way to take a simple white cake and add cut outs to match the theme.
Cake toppers are perhaps the best way for the couple to exhibit their individual and collective personalities. Some go for the traditional smiling, handholding bride and groom; others have found routes that are more interesting. Brides pulling their grooms back to the altar, toys (Legos or figurines), love birds (stuffed birds in wedding attire), and even funny Polaroids of the couple indicate a sense of humor. Beach chairs, animals, and pinwheels also add a distinctive touch.
Many couples forgo the imitation bride and groom toppers, instead opting to put their names or “Mr. and Mrs.” on the cake. Some include flowers instead of personalizing the topper for a simpler touch.
Alternatives to Cake
If cake is not your cup of tea, there are a number of modern alternatives to satisfy guests’ sweet teeth. Many people prefer pie to cake, particularly as a comfort dessert during the colder months. The couple can choose several different fillings to go inside the pies, allowing guests to sample a bit of each or just choose a larger piece of their favorite.
Another option could be cupcakes, or macarons made of either egg white or aquafaba meringue. Both of these desserts allow the couple to create the illusion of a layered cake while letting guests have their own individual dessert. There are an endless number of flavors as well, providing variety with regard to flavor, color, and, in some cases, texture.
Some couples forgo the aforementioned options altogether and let guests scream for their ice cream. Sundae bars are increasingly popular, particularly with the younger crowd, as they provide an abundance of flavor and topping options for less money than purchasing an expensive wedding cake. Guests can have a single scoop of vanilla or a triple scoop double fudge brownie with nuts, caramel, whipped cream and maraschino cherries, depending on their individual preferences. Be sure to offer all-fruit sorbet for the health food crowd.