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Wedding Cake Trends & Sweet Selections

The wedding cake is the crown jewel of the reception ceremony. It should reflect the bride and groom’s unique taste and personality. Wedding cake trends have definitely changed in the past few years. Cakes by Monica has been designing wedding cakes for 15 years in the Sioux Falls, Sioux City and Yankton areas, and has noticed some changes:

Thanks Duff! “Ace of Cakes,” cake decorating challenges, and various Food Network shows have brought some fun design ideas to the wedding cake table. They have informed viewers of various ways to creatively decorate. On the down side, Duff’s wedding cakes can be expensive because of the extensive skill and preparation involved. Increasing, there are brides in the area willing to spend a pretty penny, however most couples are more budget conscious these days. A decorator can whip up creative solutions that incorporate these unique techniques, yet still offer the bride some of the key elements of a modern cake without the price tag.

Hip to be Square!
Square has been very popular this year. About 1/3 of the cakes are square in shape. Some brides are mixing it up with a hexagon shape, or stacking up squares and rounds together. Be prepared to spend a little more for shaped cakes. A square cake, in the same size as a round, actually yields more servings; therefore, it will cost more.

Anything Goes! Miniature wedding cakes, reception table cakes and cupcakes have also gained in notoriety. A miniature wedding cake is a great way to keep costs down. You can use it as a head-table centerpiece and serve sheet cakes from the kitchen or your buffet line. The topsy-turvy cake has also increased in popularity. The topsy-turvy aka “tilted” has become a favorite for the whimsical bride and groom. Be prepared to spend more on this option.

What Tops the Cake? Once again, anything goes. Some brides use beautiful personalized etched crystal designs. Probably the most popular include monograms, fresh flowers, statuesque figurines, tiaras and sometimes nothing at all.

Design Dreams: There are so many design options, and searching the Internet only makes for an exhausting experience. Some interesting trends have emerged: cake jewelry, polka dots, stripes, edible pearls, fresh flowers, fondant or gumpaste flowers and bows, satin ribbon, rhinestone buttons and lots of swirly or scroll patterns.

Flavor Assortments:
Rarely are all white wedding cake served anymore. Most brides offer 2-3 flavor choices. White, chocolate and marble are still the most popular. Fillings have become huge. A filling adds moisture and is worth the additional small expense. Fill your sheet cakes so they taste similar to what’s in the actual wedding cake. Champagnes, berry flavors and carrot have also become popular choices.

To Fondant or Not to Fondant? What is this stuff? Some say it tastes awful! It’s all over the Internet and popular wedding magazines. It’s the only thing Duff uses these days! It’s the most popular icing in Europe. The reason: You can shape and form it into drapery, bows, flowers, figures; the list goes on. You can even paint it or make it sparkle! It looks super smooth and always has the telltale contoured top edge. Fondant texture is very different than traditional butter cream. Because it is a rolled sugar “dough” (meaning it is rolled with a rolling pin and lifted over the cake), it is heavier. Rolling it thin helps. Some people have a difficult time getting past the chewy texture and taste. I have found that different decorators use different fondant, so don’t be afraid to ask for a sample or a flavored fondant.

Butter cream is still the most popular icing. Some people prefer the non-dairy whipped icing, but it is definitely not as popular, and it does not hold up well after a few hours. There are non-dairy icings out on the market, but they have odd ingredients that may not be suitable to everyone.

The most popular and economical Midwest choice for brides in this area is a traditional 3-tier butter cream wedding cake with sheet cakes in the kitchen - simple, yet elegant and customizable in a variety of ways. Happy Tasting!

-Cakes By Monica, Vermillion, SD

This article was also featured in the 2009 VOW Wedding Planner. To view a PDF of this article, go to the CATERING, CAKES & BEVERAGES section of VOW.