Wedding cakes: how to choose one for you: the cake is an ancient tradition. It is a fertility symbol. Earliest records show that the ancient Romans broke cake made of wheat or barley over the bride’s head as a symbol of her fertility.
If you are deciding upon buying a traditional, three tiered, iced cake then read on. If following my DIY theme, or wanting to consider some alternatives then click on the related links:
So, how do you choose a cake?
The cake you choose will reflect your personal tastes. If you simply can’t agree you may have different layers to satisfy everyone! Let’s first consider the ingredients:
Cake Icing and Frosting: Butter cream – there are two methods of making this the Swiss and Italian way. Rich butter cream is made from egg yolk, icing sugar, butter and flavour of your choice. Butter Cream is made from icing sugar, butter and milk or fruit juice. Fondant – sugar syrup crystallized to a smooth creamy white mass and used for icing cakes and decorations. Royal icing or glace royal – a beaten mixture of sugar and egg whites. Cake decorators icing– mainly used in the USA, it’s a mixture of flour, shortening, salt, water, with icing sugar added until it reaches its desired consistency. Marzipan – it must have at least 25% almonds, (otherwise it’s almond paste) with eggs, icing sugar, lemon juice and almond essence. Sugar paste, or pastillage, or roll out icing, is an icing sugar and gum based paste.
Cake flavours: popular choices are chocolate, almond, charlotte royal, grand marnier, even cheesecake and in summer months fresh fruits.
Cake bases: either a “plain” cake or “fruit” cake are the two basic cake bases. A classic wedding base is a rich fruitcake – I don’t think you can beat Mrs. Beeton’s recipe. Ideally the base should be made two months in advance of the wedding, so order at least two to three months in advance.
Cake shapes and styles: these vary from square, round, even love heart shapes. Then there are Victoriana, basket weave, daisy, and rose petal designs.
Cake ornaments: wedding cake tops, or figurines, are a very personal choice. Today a mixture of ribbons, lace, charms, beads, tulle and bows are used. Fresh flowers are increasingly popular.
Tiers: traditionally there are three tiers, the top tier being kept for the first christening. The number of tiers ultimately depends upon you.
So, how do you choose your wedding cake! Well, if you are still mystified there is no harm with sticking to tradition – a three-tiered rich fruitcake, covered with almond paste and outer layer of royal icing decorated in your bridal colours.