When it comes to planning a wedding, few decisions are as delightful – and delicious – as choosing your wedding cake. As eager as you may be to let the tastings begin, taking time to envision the cake of your dreams will give you the sweetest results.
Since ideally, you should order the cake six months before the wedding, it is best to start considering what you would like soon after you have chosen your reception site and the style of your wedding. It may help to look at photographs in magazines and books or online for inspiration. Think about the look and the flavor you desire to help narrow your focus. The ideas you find may help you come up with creative ways to incorporate all your favorites.
The cake’s design should match the aesthetic of the day. A formal wedding generally calls for a structured, multitier cake; it can be elaborately or simply decorated, so long as its style implies something ceremonial and grand. These cakes are often round, but square or even hexagonal shapes are more unexpected. White is the classic color for a wedding cake but chocolate and tinted frostings can be just as elegant. For a less formal wedding you can certainly embrace the unconventional. The cake can be iced playfully with swirls of meringue or strewn with flower petals that fall where they may. Or you can forgo a single cake altogether and opt for a trio of smaller cakes or even cupcakes or pastries displayed on tiered cake stands for an impressive effect.
Details and motifs from the wedding can influence the appearance of the cake. Inspiration can come from four places: location, fashion, nature and the menu. With location, not only can the reception site provide ideas, but so can the city and its architecture. The details of a bride’s dress or accessories, such as the lace in her veil or the pearls in her necklace, are wonderful to re-create on a cake; perhaps the bows on her dress can be echoed around the tiers. Adding elements from nature is always beautiful; look to the centerpiece flowers or the environment surrounding the reception. For a wedding on the beach you could adorn the cake with seashells.
As for the flavor of the cake, often the layers are white or yellow cake, but there is no reason they cannot be chocolate, lemon, carrot or hazelnut. The fillings are another way to bring in more flavor. In addition to buttercream or other frostings, you can select jam, lemon curd, fruit purees, whipped cream or chocolate fudge to complement the cake.