Wednesday, September 22, 2010

my wedding Wednesday: the cake

My husband and I don't have much of a sweet tooth.  Boxes of cookies and chocolates have a way of lingering around the house for a long time.  (Sea salt chocolate caramels are an exception - I will eat one a day until they are gone.)  So when it came time to think about our wedding cake, both of us had it pretty low on the list of priorities.  We figured that this was an area where we could save (to make up for areas where we splurged - like my dress)!  

The Inspiration
I looked through magazines and books and a couple of favorites stood out.

#1 The Knot:
I loved the grosgrain ribbon on this cake and I really liked the shape/proportions.  However, my mom nixed the idea of fresh flowers on a cake (she said she didn't like to picture icky floral water on a gorgeous cake).  Some of my favorite cakes have lush peonies on them, but as I said above, the cake wasn't the biggest priority for us (picking battles) - so I we steered clear of fresh flowers. 
The Knot Wedding magazine 
#2 Martha Stewart:
I absolutely fell in love with this coconut flake cake below - I was convinced it was what I wanted - until I remembered that I wasn't THAT wild about coconut cake!  The flakes area also pretty dry (we tasted some) so I eventually put this behind me (I'll a variation of this cake sometime and I will get to live the dream).  My mom also said it didn't look like a wedding cake.  Fair point - it didn't look like a traditional wedding cake which is what she really meant to say. :)
Martha Stewart Coconut Cake
#3 The Knot:
I liked the dots and the thin ribbons on this cake. 
I liked the subtle grey with white dots and charcoal ribbon on this cake.
Karrie & Brian from theknot.com

Tasting our way around New Orleans
The benefit of getting married 6 months after your brother in the same city, is that you get a bit of a heads up on what things are going to cost.  I must say, I was a little surprised when I learned how much wedding cake costs - $3.50 per slice and up!  With 300 people invited to our wedding - that was going to be too much money!  I seriously considered making our cake - but there are enough horror stories on various blogs that I realized this wasn't a good idea.  You don't want to be making a cake for 200 two days before you get married.  A lot can go wrong (and food poisoning can happen if you can't refrigerate it properly).  No thanks. 

I went home to New Orleans one weekend last summer with photos of cakes I liked in hand (I had these two and a couple of others in a binder).  We tasted cakes at:
After two days of tasting we settled on getting our cake from Swiss.  The price was right (~$2/slice), which was a far cry of the $4 - $7 per slice we were seeing at these other bakeries.  yes. seriously $7/slice.   We settled on a basic 3 tier cake (feeding around 250) with a plain swiss dot print and a silk ribbon around the base of each tier (like the first cake above).  Because Swiss Bakery sort of does their thing their way (in business over 80 years - so must be doing something right), I didn't really think about the shape or proportion of our cake.  I just assumed it would come out just the way I wanted.  

Our Wedding Day
I liked the way it turned out, except for a few details.  The profile was a little wider than I had imagined (I was picturing something taller and narrower) and that the wedding cake pulls were not actually inside the cake (they were under drops of icing on the cake board).  Also, it had a messier texture than I anticipated.  Nothing was a deal breaker, just not what I had imagined.  Tasted pretty good though - we went with the classic almond flavor with buttercream frosting (I think).   
Our wedding cake
photo by Celeste Marshall
I loved our little topper.  I wrote a blog post about it a few months ago.  I found this antique Japanese bisque topper on ebay for $13.  I was inspired by a sweet family heirloom, antique cake topper at our friends Ross and Abby's wedding last fall.
Top of the cake
Photo by Celeste Marshall
It wouldn't be a southern wedding without a groom's cake!  Since we met at Stanford, the groom's cake was a chocolate version of our (very fierce) tree mascot. Originally he wanted a carrot cake, or maybe even red velvet - but settled on chocolate after a few tastings.  We ended up getting the Groom's cake from Haydels (note: they wouldn't deliver to a residence, so we had them deliver it to our caterer which worked out great).
Chocolate groom's cake
Photo by Celeste Marshall
Our Friends!
I thought I would finish with a photo montage of wedding cakes from our friend's and family's weddings over the last few years for inspiration.  
Graeme and Cary
cupcakes from Sprinkles!
Palo Alto, CA

Cullan and Jill
A sweet tiered cake with a family heirloom topper
Salem, MA

Amy and Michael
Probably my favorite wedding cake ever - love the swiss dot and the huge peonies!  Heaven!
Napa Valley, CA

Laurie and David
Loved the purple orchids
Cape Cod, MA

Tyler and Lindsey
the simple dots, black ribbon, and the lush peonies  - GORGEOUS
Atlanta, GA

Ross and Abby
Bread pudding!  Love the originality
San Francisco, CA
Tommy and Mallory
Mousse filled goodness - best tasting wedding cake ever.  Hands down.
New Orleans, LA
Julia and Evan
the flower detail was really beautiful!
New Orleans, LA

There have been many other beautiful cakes (Annie & Owen, Brian & Paulina, Megan & Jason to name a few), however before my blog days I wasn't always so good about taking photos!  

p.s. If you live in any of these cities and want the name of any of the bakers for the cakes listed above - I am happy to contact friends and ask for you!


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