After the hopeful groom pops the question, the thrilled bride pops the cake.
“Cake pops are so trendy,” says Renée Pratt, certified pastry chef and owner of Renée’s Fine Cakes in Tecumseh. She began making them a year ago after a steady stream of brides requested the balls of cake, covered in icing, charmingly decorated and then stuck on a stick like a lollypop.
The bite-sized treats are now de rigueur for the well-appointed sweet table at the wedding reception. Even the most traditional bride loves the hot trend.
Pratt’s most popular pop flavours are chocolate raspberry and banana. She also whips up special flavours by request, such as chocolate orange with Grand Marnier. The pops are decorated according to the wedding theme or colour scheme, with hearts, flowers, the couple’s initials or other motifs. Cake pops, as well as fresh strawberries, can be dressed like mini tuxedos and bridal gowns.
The insertion of a little stick into each pop enables easy picking and eating. The pops can be arranged on platters like skewered hors d’oeuvres or stood up in glasses, offering a posy of pops. Or the stick can be left off, presenting cake balls on trays. “They look like truffles, but there are not as sweet,” Pratt says.
Recently, a bride and groom tied the knot with a winter wonderland theme. Stickless cake pops became little snowballs liberally sprinkled with edible disco sparkle dust. They shared the sweet table with handmade cupcakes adorned with fondant snowflakes.
Cupcakes are another preferred delectable for wedding receptions. In place of a multi-tiered wedding cake, many couples are opting for tiers of cupcakes, crowned by a small cake set off by a mini bride and groom or other topper.
This trend arises from another: Sensible spending to get the best value for the wedding budget. Some halls charge an extra fee to cut and plate the wedding cake for the guests. Rather than pay the fee, couples are choosing cupcakes that are readily accessible to guests who can help themselves throughout the evening.
Some brides pass on the wedding cake completely. Of the 237 weddings that Reneé’s baked for in 2011, maybe half a dozen brides ordered the elaborate, formal tiered cake.
“For the princess-y brides who want the big cake, we do a large artificial one,” says Pratt.
A diminutive cake would be lost in a banquet hall filled with 900 guests. In such a setting, the pastry chef and her team have built a soaring sixfoot tower of cakes supported on separate stands. Two of the cakes on the lower level were edible, giving the couple something to cut and share with their guests.
“Seventy-five percent of brides want wedding cakes that are simple and elegant,” Pratt figures. The rest bounce in with ideas inspired by The Cake Boss.
“My face lights up,” the chef de pâtissière says. “Our motto is: We can do anything.”
Consequently, Pratt’s team has crafted a small mountain of a wedding cake, with a model Charger driving up the road winding around its slopes, chased by handmade figures of the bride, groom and their pets.
When another couple planned a Halloween themed wedding, the groom had a definite vision: a black cake set with the Grim Reaper overseeing the bridal couple kneeling under the blade of a guillotine, with blood-red letters declaring, “Till Death Do Us Part.”
Asked to do a purple cake, Pratt readily obliged. “I love feathers, so I’m excited if the couple is doing a peacock theme.”
Cake pops, cupcakes and wedding cake are definite highlights of the sweet table. To round out the selection, Pratt suggests tortes, pastry platters, fruit trays, plus anything traditional that grandma wants to contribute in the way of family or cultural treats. Another stunning confection is the French croquembouche, a tall golden tower of stacked round cream puffs bound with spun threads of sugar.
As enticing as the sweet table will be, not everyone will pay it a visit.
“Most of the men, as soon as dinner is done, they go to the bar. Older people go home when the dancing starts.” Pratt assures, “If you have 100 guests, 200 pieces are wonderful.” Dividing the goodies between two tables, one set at either end of the room, is a thoughtful convenience for guests grazing throughout the evening.
What’s the next big thing to dazzle brides? Embellishing the sweet table with giant glass jars filled with jelly beans, jujubes and other candies, coordinated with the wedding colours, of course.
Bottom line: “Think of your needs and think of your budget,” Pratt advises. She admires today’s brides and applauds their savvy.
“These are smart girls, working girls, who are paying for a lot of their weddings.” They know every decision costs, so they are making every morsel count.
© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star