With summer finally here, wedding season is also in full bloom. And with weddings comes wedding cakes.
I’ve been making cakes for a while now so this isn’t to say that I’m incompetent or anything. However, with every wedding cake a certain, how should I put it, level of expectations is put into place, both by myself and the spouses-to-be. No cake is perfect unless it is a fake, and even those have issues probably only noticeable to the decorator, but nevertheless the strive for perfection for someone’s wedding day is always there.
No matter how many wedding cakes I do I always get nervous and begin overthinking details that really are quite simple. Scrollwork for instance is really not that difficult to achieve unless you are aiming for scrolls that are all exactly the same, in which case use a template in the form of a press not unlike a cookie cutter. Borders, dots, word piping, all of these little things I don’t really think too much about when decorating a party cake I get all flustered while applying these techniques to a wedding cake. Of course, there is good reason.
Wedding cakes are traditionally white. I don’t make very many white frosted cakes because the margin for error is practically not there as white shows every imperfection and every crumb and if the wedding is outdoors anything that might be blowing in the wind. Yes, white is evil. Now camouflage or chocolate… Anyway, so to counteract some of these, we decorators have a few tricks up our sleeves, but more than that there are things called decorations we usually use to hide any imperfections that may arise. Of course lighting plays a big role too, as bright light will show off every tiny crack and divot while low light will make it look flawless. And then there is the issue of heat, which we all know can melt the frosting right off the cake, or humidity which can turn a perfect fondant cake into something that looks like a pansy in heat.
Most cakes should be set up no more than two hours before they are to be viewed and eaten, but this isn’t always possible to accomplish. I know when I did my sister’s wedding cake, which was an eight tier monster that had to be driven ninety miles in the middle of winter over icy roads and set up six hours before the wedding for the photographer, I had to make sure I had everything with me to fix any mishaps that may occur until the event. But once I set everything up and fixed the areas that didn’t travel so well which of course meant they wanted to be the back of the cake (and yes brides, there is ALWAYS a back to a cake) it stayed in perfect form for eight hours, and probably would have been fine for a couple hours longer, until we cut it up and served it. Of course, we had cut wedding slices thinking guests might want to try all three flavors, but there ended up being over half the cake leftover in the end. Then again, this cake was enough for 300 people and there were about 150, so I’m not too surprised.
But still, wedding season is here and wedding cakes are needing to be made and with our lovely unpredictable Northwest weather we decorators never know which trick we are going to have to pull out of our sleeves. I just hope that for the cakes I am doing I’m able to put a smile on the newlyweds faces and fulfill their dreams of a wonderful wedding. After all, they chose me out of all the decorators and bakers out there.
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