When I was 12 or 13, I remember being the hostess at my cousin’s wedding. One of the first things that I saw when I walked into the reception hall was this beautiful wedding cake. For years, I dreamed of a fairytale wedding cake just like hers. The cake was tall, separated by columns with a few tiers, although I can’t remember exactly how many there were. At the top of the wedding cake were the bride and groom, and on the side were the bridesmaids and groomsmen standing on staircases that led to the top. The staircases were also connected to smaller cakes that adorned the side and underneath the cake was a fountain. I think many brides remember the era of the big cakes with all kinds of special decorations on them. I just stood there amazed and looked at her beautiful wedding cake decked out in the colors of the wedding and dreamed of the day that I would cut into my own wedding cake that looked just like that. That cake was probably the second most admired part of that wedding.
As brides, we want that reaction to our wedding cakes as well. We want people to mill around it and admire the creation that is a symbolic of a couples new union. We have dreams of hearing those “ooh’s” and “ah’s” and the conversations about the décor, the colors, and the height of the cake. The right wedding cake should take the breath away of all your guests, and make them anxious to take a bite.
The wedding cake is one of the major elements of the wedding day. Because it is such a big purchase, much time and purpose needs to be dedicated into making the perfect cake. If you have never planned a wedding before, you may have a hard time figuring out where to start. Well, by the end of this article, I hope that you will have a clearer understanding about what you need to create that wedding cake of your dreams.
The Shape Basics
First, let’s focus on the different shapes of most cakes. The shape of your cake is very important because it can affect the number of people that can be served and the price as well.
Round: This is the traditional shape of most wedding cakes and is still widely used by most brides. Because the shape of the round cake is the most simplistic, it is usually the least expensive; plus it’s usually easier to decorate.
Square: The square wedding cake is, usually, used by brides that want to break away from the traditional round cakes; but at the same time, they still have the look of a basic wedding cake. The square cake can be more expensive because it may require more labor. Oftentimes, the baker has to cut the sides of the cake to make them look sharper and neater.
Heart: For those eternal romantics, this is the cake shape for you. Again it may be a bit more labor intensive depending on how it is to be frosted and decorated. It’s also important to keep in mind that the amount served from this shape may differ from that of other shapes.
Mad Hatter: This is for the couples that really want to have a more whimsical & fun feel to their wedding cakes. These cakes are usually uneven & slanted shaped. This is for the bold couples that are not afraid to be different. Instead of the traditional wedding décor, these cakes are usually decorated in bold colors and patterns.
Hexagon: This is a cake with six sides. This is another shape that is growing in popularity because it is a deviation from the traditional round wedding cake. Again, the price of this cake is more expensive than that of a round cake because of the time it will take the baker to cut and frost these cakes, but the finished product can be absolutely breathtaking.
You basically have two different types of icing – butter cream and fondant.
Although there are a variety of recipes for making butter cream icing, it is usually made with butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. It has a thick but creamy texture that is easy to cut through. For a bride on a budget, butter cream icing is a great way to go because it is usually cheaper than fondant. It can also be used as a filling for your cake as well. A downside to butter cream is that it can melt in hot settings, so if you are having an outdoor soiree, butter cream icing may not be your best option.
Fondant is made from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. It is very elastic in texture. With fondant, you can literally roll it out with a rolling pin. Because of its strength and elasticity, many bakers use it for unique architectural designs. It can be shaped and molded into many different designs. Fondant is usually more expensive because it is more labor intensive.