Wedding cakes can go from the easiest to one of the most complicated decorations; each has its very own creative differences depending on the imaginative juices of the baker. They ought to satisfy the main function of the cake, that whatever embellishments it possess, it can still be edible and can be eaten.
The groom’s cake grew out of an old tradition that is very much in vogue again. These cakes are often playful and depict an interesting or amusing side of the groom’s personality. Additionally, for a large wedding, the groom’s cake provides secondary flavor combinations. This very personal cake can be presented to the groom as a surprise by his bride, and it can be the perfect counterpoint to the “main” cake. Keep in mind that on occasion the groom’s cake might end up being more complicated to execute than the main cake. Moreover, the smaller scale cannot accommodate every idea.
I’ve been undecided about changing my surname, but it means a lot to me fiancé so I’m going to take the plunge and become Mrs Taylor. I’ve not told anyone (well except now all of you!) so for my Marks and Spencer cake I’m going to order a personalised wedding cake topper that says Mr & Mrs Taylor in pale blue and put that on top of the cake, as well as mixing up some blue icing, to dot all over the cake. Then I’m going to do a big ‘reveal’ at the wedding as a surprise for my husband-to-be! I think it would be such a nice wedding day surprise for him and I know the cake will look fabulous. I just need to keep quiet until the wedding day!
When it comes to frosting, you have a number of choices. Buttercream (made from butter and sugar) is smooth and creamy and it stays soft, making it easy to cut, color and flavor. Fondant is another popular option—it's rolled out before it's draped over the cake and makes a smooth, firm base for decorative details. Before you dive into one type of icing over the other, consider the weather (buttercream could melt in the heat and/or sun), your budget (ornate fondant designs can get pricey quickly) and taste preferences.
When most of the tots his age were making messes in the sandbox, pastry genius Ron Ben-Israel preferred to observe his Viennese mother’s culinary magic as she whipped egg whites into frothy meringue or transformed flaky crust into ethereal apple strudel. “I was enchanted,” he gushes. “Watching a fruit reduction become a gelée was fascinating. But I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that the art and science of baking would become my life’s passion.”
Will a faux cake or a faux tier save you money on your wedding cake? I’m sorry to say, but the answer is no. It seems like having a chunk of Styrofoam vs. a piece of delicious cake should cost less. I know logically, it sounds like it should. So in an effort to dispel that myth, I will explain why it’s not the case. A faux tier, or cake dummy, as we call them, costs about the same it does to bake the actual cake. So, no cost savings there. Second, I personally find cake dummies more difficult to work with then real cake, so I’m my opinion, it actually takes longer to decorate them then it does real cake. So the time that it typically takes to decorate can actually be longer, which means, you guessed it, no cost savings there either!
When making your own or someone elses wedding cake, timing is key. You will need to work out how much time you realistically have in the week leading up to the wedding and plan things accordingly. Decorations such as flowers, toppers and some royal icing shapes can be made quite a while beforehand to remove the stress in the immediate lead up to the big day.
If you still want the cake to look like it has several layers then ask the baker if they will decorate a false tier (normally a box or polystyrene)- then you are saving money, but you will still be paying for the decoration which is the most expensive bit as it takes the longest. One of the cheekiest cheap wedding cake ideas is having a secret section within a fake cake that you can cut into making it look like you have the real thing!
Almost as much as Ron loves baking, he thrives on teaching. He spends over 30 days a year wearing his professor toque. He is the only Guest Master Pastry Chef at the renowned International Culinary Center in New York City (founded as the French Culinary Institute), where he contributed to the creation of the Cake Techniques & Design program and works with students in the Professional Pastry Arts program. Ron also leads workshops, master classes and personally appears at industry events around the world, including Sugar Salon Paris, Cake Design Festival Milan, LA Cookie Con in Los Angeles, America’s Cake Fair Orlando, Cake & Bake Masters Mexico City, Tendencias in Cartagena, Columbia and many others.