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Well That Just Takes The Cake…

Cake trends and how to choose a cake to fit your style

One of the most recognizable staples of a wedding reception, is the wedding cake. Regardless of the type of reception you plan to have, usually there is cake, or a variation. From the classic French croquembouche to more elaborate tiered cakes, or cupcakes; desserts have been the shining star of a reception! Cake designs, like bridal dresses, have changed their look just as frequently over the years. I want to discuss the cake trends over the years and how to choose a cake that suits your style.

The 80’s saw excess in most things. The dresses were poofy creampuffs and about every detail of an 80’s wedding was opulent and over the top. The cake was no exception, the 80’s saw fountains (yes, fountains under, around and through the cake), pillars, mirrors, basket weave piping, towering layers, and deconstructed layers.

Then the 90’s came, and with them simple Vera Wang dresses, simplified cakes, and stacked tiers. The biggest achievement in pastry for this decade were the flavors of cake. In the past, vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream was the standard. Brides began branching out with other flavors; carrot cake, raspberry Bavarian filled, lemon curd, red velvet, and chocolate whilst keeping with the traditional white frosting.

The early aughts’ really changed weddings cakes. The advent of cooking shows and social media ushered in a new era of baking techniques. Fondant became to go to medium for cakes everywhere!  I’m not embarrassed to say I was one of the many engrossed in shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes back in the day. The art of cake decorating was taken to new levels. Lifelike recreations of ordinary objects like purses and shoes, whimsical designs, and the topsy turvey cakes ruled. Where a cake could easily cost as much or more than your wedding dress. Specialty cakes were no longer reserved for the groom’s cakes, they were the pinnacle of the reception.

Just like in previous decades, the pendulum swung again. The last decade, cakes have calmed down in appearance and price. Welcome the “naked cake”. The literal opposite of the layered fondant popularized in the earlier 2000’s. Simple layers, real flowers, sparse frosting, less fondant being used. We are seeing couples wanting a simple elegant cake, opting instead for interesting flavors and fillings.

So, how does one achieve the goal of procuring the perfect cake?

  • First, do your research. Social media and platforms like Yelp and Wedding Wire or The Knot provide reviews for you to read. Some venues, will require your cake or dessert be from a licensed facility to ensure it is properly prepared.
  • How much cake should you order? The average slice of cake served at wedding is 1”x 2″. Often, couples are talked into a much larger cake than what they need or see a picture of a cake this is much larger than their needs that they choose based on the design. Click here for what size cake you really need. People aren’t eating a slab of cake, a little cake can go a long way to feed your guests.
  • Show your pastry chef pictures of cakes you like so you’re on the same page. The more details, the more hours, the more money it’s going to cost. Ask if they can offer cake tasting samples.
  • Savor the flavors. It’s what you want. If honey lavender buttercream and a buttery pound cake is your heart’s desire…. go for it. Vanilla doesn’t have to be the standard.
  • If cake isn’t your thing, host a dessert bar, boasting some of your favorite desserts you enjoy as a couple. Everyone will find something they like.
  • If you want a lot of cake without breaking the bank, cupcakes, or sheet cake can supplement a small wedding cake nicely.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about cakes!

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