Unique Wedding Cake Flavors
Traditional cake flavors for wedding cakes have always been white (as the most popular), chocolate, Italian cream, and even red velvet. Some “adventurous” couples have even ventured into lemon and strawberry, even cheesecake or tres leches. But now the gloves are off and couples have decided to take a new leap into the idea of “adventurous” wedding cake flavors.
From wonderfully creamy peanut butter cakes with fresh strawberry jelly fillings, layers of spice cake, maple-caramelized apples, and maple buttercream with hot caramel fillings, to even chocolate fudge, raspberry sour cream, pumpkin, and chocolate chip with various fresh fruit and chocolate mousse fillings, the wedding cake is more than ever becoming a luscious creation deserving attention on the wedding day.
No one would ever know the tempting secret hiding beneath some of the beautifully exquisite cakes we see in today’s weddings. Couples may no longer want white cake, chocolate cake, or even strawberry cake hiding amongst the flowers and icing.
Instead, expect requests like carrot cake with orange curd filling, vanilla bean chiffon cake with raspberry crème brulee and passion fruit mousse filling, devil’s food cake with dark chocolate ganache filling and brownie chunks folded into the ganache, apple spice cake with milk chocolate ganache and vanilla bean crème brulee filling, Spanish almond cake with amaretto crème brulee and soft caramel filling, molasses spice cake with espresso and white chocolate ganache fillings, coconut cake with white chocolate ganache filling and fresh berries, and more. It’s enough to make you want to go get a cake now!
But the amazing flavors don’t stop there. In order to really take advantage of this new trend, brides and grooms are digging deep to fins their cultural roots, or borrowing from others. Almond flavored ring cakes called kransekake, moist fruit cakes soaked in rum, and even more savory wedding cakes from Korea made of ground steamed rice covered in red bean powder are all popular choices for brides nowadays. (TheKnot)
As amazing as all of these delectable flavors sound, and brides can really have any flavor cake or filling that they could imagine, the outside of the cake has just as many options for flavoring. It is said that, “It’s what’s inside that counts.” These days, both the interior and the exterior of wedding cakes have to be spectacular. We’re going to begin with the different types of icing.
The most popular icing by brides of all cultures is Fondant, which has a thick, dough-like consistency and a sweet candy taste. This is my favorite too! Many people think badly about fondant because too many people use the poor quality store-bought fondant, which has a bad taste to it. In my experience, I learned that it truly needed to be homemade to exude that light marshmallow flavor it was meant to taste like. One benefit of fondant is that it provides a silky, smooth surface that provides a fantastic canvas for more intricate designs, such as airbrushing, stencils, weaving and more. It’s also great for outdoor weddings. It’s durable enough to withstand the wind and the sun, and provides a protective layer to the cake that will stand up to more challenging temperatures.
Buttercream is also an extremely popular wedding cake icing, coming in a close second to fondant. Buttercream is extremely easy to work with and it’s great for covering up minor imperfections in the icing with a scroll, a dot, a ribbon, or even a flower. But do keep in mind that buttercream is better suited to indoor, air-conditioned venues, as a breeze may cause this stickier frosting to attract debris, and hot weather can lead to a melted mess. (ctnow)
In the past, bakers didn’t have quite so many options for cake icings, and so just used some of the most basic flavors for icing their cakes. One of these is a Decorator White with its sweet, vanilla flavor. This icing is generally very stiff, great for making decorations, and it yields truer colors due to the pure white base color. For colorful cakes, this icing is ideal for coloring.
Decorator Chocolate is another really basic, but delicious icing with a sweet chocolate flavor. Just like the decorator white, this icing is very stiff and great for making decorations. However when black icing is needed for a wedding cake, this is the ideal foundation. It just needs a little black icing coloring to make for a delicious, better tasting black icing.
Royal icing was once the most popular icing for wedding cakes amongst brides for its very sweet flavor, and its candy-hard exterior for lasting decorations. This icing yields beautifully rich, deep colors. However, it is prone to fading when sitting in bright lights and requires more icing color than buttercream to achieve the same intensity.
Over the years, bakers have gotten extremely creative when trying to please their brides, and have developed some new ideas for cake icing. Whipped Cream is one of them. This icing has a creamy, delicate sweetness and a light, airy consistency. Unfortunately, it yields only pastel colors as it cannot hold deeper shades, it must be used immediately for freshness, and it must be refrigerated until use. This icing is so light and airy that it will shift and move on the cake in windy weather, and can easily melt in the slightest warm temperature. This icing is not recommended for outdoor weddings. (Wilton)
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Chocolate Ganache is another delicious concoction made by the creative bakers of the world. It creates a very smooth, glossy glaze with a luxurious mouthful, as the cream makes the chocolate much smoother than it would be on its own. Cooled ganache is firm enough to handle, but it can be shaped and still melts on the tongue very easily. It's a novel choice for couples in the mood for something out of the ordinary. This is a very sturdy icing that holds up well in outdoor weddings, but cannot be pushed too far as it is chocolate. (bakingbites)
Cream Cheese has been around for a long while, but it traditionally used with carrot cake. It is now making a much bigger stamp on the wedding cake industry as more and more brides are requesting it. Cream cheese frosting is a creamy, richly flavored topping, the main constituent generally being real cream cheese. The heavier weight of cream cheese usually requires the sides of the cake to be left smooth, combed, or decorated in a basket weave pattern. Cakes frosted with a cream cheese frosting should always be refrigerated until ready to serve as it will not hold up well in hotter weather or windy conditions.
Marzipan has been used for centuries by pastry chefs all over the world. It is not commonly used as a whole cake icing, but can be mixed with other icings and flavors to make a great frosting. It looks fabulous though for colorful cake decorations and figurines, as this is what it is designed for. Marzipan has to have at least 25% almonds otherwise it is considered almond paste. This is just as delicious as it is attractive on a wedding cake.
Finally, Sugar Paste is an icing sugar and gum-based paste, also referred to as pastillage or roll-out icing. As it can be used as an allover icing, it is traditionally used for modeling flowers or sculptures. This has a similar firm consistency when it dries as marzipan, and therefore can crack or crumble if not used correctly. It is very difficult to use and needs to be handled with extreme care. (PastryWiz)
No longer are brides limited to the traditional wedding cakes of the past. They are getting more creative than ever in designing their cakes and choosing their flavors. But cakes are not the only products (or services) that wedding cake bakers provide.
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness