Archive for Monday, February 26, 2001

Cakes now centerpiece of weddings

February 26, 2001

After the "I do's" are murmured and the toasts shouted, the bride and groom soon conduct their first task together as husband and wife.

The tradition of the bride and groom cutting the first slice of cake together is one that has stood the test of time. Many see it as a ritual or just a great photo opportunity, but it originally symbolized the first undertaking of a newly wed couple.

Many who have planned weddings will attest to the fact that the wedding tasks begin much earlier than in the past, including deciding on the wedding cake itself.

Wedding cakes today have become centerpieces of grand proportions, as elaborate and creative as one can imagine. Today's cakes are created to reflect the personalities and tastes of the happy couple.

But wedding cakes from centuries past were anything but elaborate.

In fact, they weren't cakes at all, but usually wheat bread. Believed to have originated in Roman times, the groom would break the bread over the bride's head to symbolize his dominance over her. As the crumbs fell through her hair, guests scurried for the pieces and kept them as good luck tokens. Some even believed if placed under a pillow, the bread would bring a woman visions of the man she would marry.

The wedding bread took on a sweeter taste in England around the 17th century in the form of sticky buns. Two centuries later, the buns evolved into a pie and were finally replaced by a wedding cake, known then as a bride's cake.

Today, wedding cakes are elaborate, detailed works of art.

The actual cake serves as a canvas on which couples can express their individuality. David Wuollet, from Wuollet's Bakery, in Edina, Minn., says the possibilities are endless.

"Our job is to make their dreams come true. If we can do it, we're going to do it," he said.

Pinpointing the perfect cake usually begins with the couple sampling a variety of cake flavors at their bakery of choice.

Among some of the delicious choices are chocolate, carrot and marble pound cake.

These tasty layers can be filled with lemon, amaretto, raspberry the list goes on.

As the centerpiece of the reception, all eyes eventually make their way to the cake. Whether it's a towering, seven-tier creation or an intimate size cake for a smaller wedding, ornamentation and decoration add personality and character to the dessert.

A variety of elements are used to decorate a cake uniquely, including edible flowers, fruit and even leaves. Another option is ganache a sweet, rich chocolate that has a pliable texture. Using ganache, bakers are able to create any color of flower, one petal at a time, to adorn a cake.

Another workable material with a sweeter taste is marzipan. Marzipan is a paste made of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites that can be used as icing or molded into edible flowers or other decorations.

One of the more unusual requests Wuollet received for a wedding cake was made by a couple who enjoyed running.

He designed two cakes in the shape of tennis shoes with the shoelaces tied together. He has also produced cake creations in the shape of mountains and other desserts inspired by nature.

Even with the endless possibilities for a unique and memorable wedding cake, Wuollet says the traditional white cake is still the most popular. Just like years ago, a white cake traditionally symbolizes a bride's virginal attributes and purity, as does her white dress.

In addition to wedding cakes, many couples are choosing to have a sweet table a sort of dessert buffet for guests.

To some, these tables are a great way for couples to express their ethnic backgrounds. Some of these expressive desserts include the French croquembouche, a traditional form of wedding cake in France that actually consists of small pastry puffs arranged in a pyramid and covered in a caramel glaze.

The Scandinavian Kransekage is a traditional almond cookie baked in graduated rings and assembled with curls of icing. It is still used as a wedding cake in regions of that area.

Whether it's a table of desserts or a tasteful cake, the sweetness of a wedding day can be greatly enriched with the dessert of your dreams.

Working with your local baker and sampling fillings and decorations is the best way to create the perfect cake for the perfect day.

Courtesy of ARA Content,, email:

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