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Wedding Cakes: Choosing The Perfect One!
Find A Baker For Your Wedding Cake
Nadine, the bride whose wedding I'm planning, has picked her cake! How about you? It's truly amazing the number of cake options there are out there and the number of bakers. Where do you begin? First, get yourself an armload of bride's magazines or do some research on the Internet. There are tons of sites that show all the different cake options there are to choose from. A really great way to find bakers in your area (besides the yellow pages!) is a site called weddingwire.com. They list all the things you would be looking for to plan a wedding from florists to bakeries to photographers. You can click on your geographical area and they will give you lists of the vendors, plus reviews and links to the vendor sites. Reputable bakeries should have a website with lots of photos of their work from which to choose. Pay close attention to the reviews on weddingwire. One bad review is understandable...a cluster could signal a big fat UH OH!
Wedding Cake Choices
Wedding cakes in recent years have just exploded as far as creativity! Brides can choose from very formal traditional looking cakes to more casual and just for fun cakes. Polka dot cakes, striped cakes, even leaning-on-purpose almost Dr. Seuss-ian looking cakes have made the wedding cake scene. It's all a matter of personal taste for the bride and groom and the tone they want to set for their wedding and reception.
Try using some of your wedding flowers to adorn your cake. A good baker should be able to use them to decorate your cake, although you, as Nadine is doing, will have to order a few extra flowers for your baker to use. Or you can use real ribbon or have your baker make ribbon from fondant to create bows or a ribbon stripe around each layer of your cake in a color to match your bridesmaids' dresses. Another pretty look is small edible pearls embedded in an otherwise smooth fondant frosting, lending a very elegant appearance to your cake.
Cake Decorating Trends
There are dozens of new cake decorating trends. One very beautiful trend is to duplicate the look of a certain fabric, such as damask onto the cake. This creates a visually stunning cake, especially paired with fabric runners to match on the guest tables at your reception. Cakes are also going vintage, with the everything-old-is-new-again look including bride and groom cake toppers and cream colored or ivory colored cake frosting instead of white to give your cake an almost antique look.
Cakes are also taking on elaborate 3-D effects with stunning artfully designed fondant pieces placed on top of the cake to give it extra dimension. Plus, they are growing taller and taller! It's not unusual to see four and five tier cakes now where three used to be the norm. Monograms are still very big and at more casual weddings, cupcake cakes which tend to be a little more user-friendly than hard to cut, elaborate cakes. The use of fresh fruit instead of flowers has become more common now and could be duplicated on the reception tables for less costly centerpieces. Brides on a budget who still want the look of a multi-layered cake are having their bakers add artificial layers made from cardboard and frosted to look just like the rest of the cake. Those tiers are removed when it's time to cut the cake, so your guests never have to know!
Which Is Better: Buttercream Or Fondant?
Buttercream vs. Fondant
And here's the cake she chose! You'll have to imagine it with real red roses instead of the cream colored ones pictured here, but isn't it beautiful? This baker is able to do the entire cake in buttercream and make it look as smooth as fondant without the yucky non-flavor of fondant. Yum! Can't wait to see it and taste it!
What is buttercream frosting, you may ask? Well, in my humble opinion, delicious! It's a wonderful blend of vanilla, butter, confectioner's sugar, and milk that can be flavored with anything from hazelnut to peanut butter. What's not to like about that?! Fondant, on the other hand, is an icing that has a more sculptural element to it. You can roll it out flat and cut it into pieces to form bows, flowers, or any number of things. However, many people find the taste of regular fondant not even in the same league with the yumminess of buttercream. Smart bakers have now discovered the wonders of buttercream fondant, a very pliable frosting that tastes as good as buttercream, but with the ease of handling as fondant.
If you love the look of regular fondant, but don't like the flavor, make sure the baker you choose can actually make buttercream look as smooth as fondant. It takes an experienced cake decorator to do that. Also, make sure your baker gives you the opportunity to sample different flavors to determine which flavor you like the best. If they don't give you that option, move on! They are not the baker for you!