In most women’s lives, the absolutely most important cake of their life is going to be their wedding cake with a hot second being their daughter’s wedding cake. So what recipe is THE best?
In America today, the most popular wedding cakes are white or silver, with a fine but dense texture, very moist and somewhat heavy. It’s decorated with a white or silver frosting as well, and served in three or more tiers. It’s often quite elaborate.
So what is “wedding cake flavor”?
My personal opinion is that it is a combination of almond and vanilla flavoring. The faint underlying almond flavoring seems to actually enhance the vanilla flavor.
So was this always the case with American wedding cakes? Were these used in the 19th century and earlier as well or are they a relatively modern invention born in the 20th century?
Apparently, the wedding cake of today descended from an archaic practice of the groom breaking a loaf of bread over the bride’s head, symbolizing his dominance over their marriage and her. Face it, that is NOT going to fly at my wedding!
The white cake today has a number of origins. White connected the cake to the bride, making the bride the focal point of the wedding. The white color was connected to purity as well. In addition, the whiter the cake, the more pure and therefore more expensive the sugar used to make the cake and its frosting.
Today’s wedding cake, with an average cost of over $500 (ouch!), does date from the 20th century, with many of its components originating in the early 1900s. It’s often covered in fondant, then decorated. The all-white cakes of our mothers have given way to colored cakes of today, often coordinated with the wedding colors.
It takes a dense cake to hold up to the weight of the decorations, but in many cases, the cakes turn out to be made of cardboard and filled with cut squares of cake inside of the boxes, ready to serve to guests. This apparently is very popular with the elite, such as Britain’s royal family.
Today’s wedding cake may turn out to be a tiered rack filled with cupcakes, ready to serve to guests by merely lifting them out of the rack. The cake topper, another 20th century invention, was originally a formal bride and groom pair or a pair of doves, either in all white or with the groom dressed in a black and white tuxedo. Today, it may be a much less formal pair of figurines, or something entirely symbolic rather than figurines of a bride and groom. Sometimes they reflect the occupations or hobbies of the wedding couple, or are caricatures of them.
The cake inside is not always white either in modern cakes. Chocolate and carrot are other favorites. One of my own aunts suggested chocolate with raspberry filling and a white frosting.
The groom’s cake is apparently a “Southern” thing. For me, that was an easy choice, since my fiance is a devout chocoholic. It’s going to be a “Rembrandt’s Torte” which everyone has already refused to make because of its tedious nature, leaving the task of making it to me. It’s a beautiful and impressive affair, and certainly something that appeals to the chocoholics. Unfortunately, the large cookie sheets used to bake the thin layers of shortbread that make this torte also won’t fit in my oven, and the actual making of the cake has to be done in a full size kitchen. After being baked and assembled, the oversized beast must then find a place to be refrigerated overnight, ready to serve on our wedding day. With the wedding being held about 70 miles from where we live, and the most likely kitchen to invade being located about 70 miles from where we live (but lacking refrigerator room for the torte) in another direction…the logistics are going to be filled with aggravation and frustration!
So I’m posting an all points bulletin to locate the “best wedding cake” ever. I’m leaning towards a traditional white cake decorated in purple and white. I’m wondering if I can come up with a topper made of polymer clay that suits GM & I too, shaving about $75 expense and still enjoying the luxury of a keepsake topper. Once upon a time, I was a skilled sculptor, and polymer clay is supposed to be moderately easy to use.
Brave heart, right? I have a bit of time. I can do this, I can figure it out and manage the logistics and we’ll get the food, the wedding cake, the groom’s cake, the dogs, the bride, the groom, and the guests all in the same location on the beach for the best day of my life ever, when I marry my best friend. Oh, and don’t forget Mother Nature. We hope she smiles down at our wedding too and doesn’t rain or bless us with stiff winds!
There’s no stress, right?