Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wedding Cakes over the years

Recently I had a conversation with a lady who is trying to start a cake making business. I realized that I have made a lot of cakes over the years and, more importantly, that there has been a great change in styles of cakes.

I have been helping with wedding cakes since I was 10 years old. The first one I helped with was for my sister, Margaret, when she was married back in 1962. My mother was in charge but I helped prepare the banana cake and then she decorated it. She worked with a different kind of frosting or icing as we sometimes call it. It was a lemon frosting that was a little stiffer than the buttercream that we are familiar with.

I will try to find photos to add when I can.

From there I helped with cakes for my siblings but my mother always did the decorating and I watched. When I got married I designed the concept of the cake and my mother made it but a half hour before the reception someone turned and bumped it so we never got a photo of it. No wedding cake for me but it was ok. The thought and dream was there.

When my first child turned 1, in 1978, I made a cake and since he was born it August it coincided with the local community Fair. I had watched cousins and aunts enter things in their State Fair's in the states. I entered it and won a prize . . .kind of fun. This doesn't make me a professional or anything. I just enjoyed doing it so I persisted and learned some more things about cake decorating.

Birthdays came and went with more cakes but the first layered style wedding cake was actually an anniversary cake for my parents-in-law on their 32nd wedding anniversary in June of 1980.

Royal icing was being used and flowers could be made ahead of time and saved so at this time I was learning how to do that.

Later in October of that year I did my first wedding cake, on my own. I am not sure but I believe that the first one was for my sister-in-law, Allyson, when she married David Cichy back in 1980. It was a challenge and I remember making flowers ahead out of royal icing so that I could practice and prepare. I was 8 months pregnant when the day arrived so it was an "awkward" challenge but still very fun.


Next was one for another sister-in-law, Ruthanne, in 1984.


Fondant covered wedding cakes were becoming more popular. Fondant was homemade at this point so I tried it on the next wedding cake making three lawyers for our sister-in-law, Marilynne, in 1991.

The fondant was formed by draping it over the cake (or in this case a styrofoam cake base) and smoothing it with my hands. Then I applied dots to each layer to make the desired effect. 

and revisited for a brother-in-law, Greg and Karina later that same year.

Then this one for a niece in 1998.

Some of these were fondant over styrofoam and some were real cakes.

In recent years these are some of the cakes. The styles changed over the years and so it is interesting to see how it evolves and how each couple has their own personalities that influence what they choose.

Such as, in September of 2007 this cake was created at the request of our oldest son. He wanted chocolate!!!

So the base cake is chocolate with raspberry filling and a buttercream icing, then drizzled with a chocolate ganache. It was delicious but I spent months experimenting and having his aunts and uncles taste test different recipes so that we could come up with this final product.
Scott & Adina

In November of the same year there were two weddings on the same day. One was a friend of our daughter so the cake below was created for her.

It is displayed by sitting on glass.

 Nolan & Janae

Cranberries fill the glass bases below the cakes and topped with fresh flowers.

The second wedding that day was for our nephew and his bride. They wanted a casual wedding cake so this is a tiered Rice Krispie cake.

 Max and LeiLani

In 2009 our daughter was married and again taste testing and all kinds of experiments were done before this could be created. I think I do that because I don't do cakes everyday.

Adam & Victoria

The top layer is chocolate with raspberry filling (a family favorite). The middle and bottom one are white with two layers. One had lime pastry cream filling and the other has strawberry pastry cream filling. The idea was to make it colorful when it was cut.

In 2010 I took my first Wilton cake decorating course with Victoria. Here is one of our creations.

French Vanilla with buttercream icing,
 with Strawberries and drizzled chocolate
Strawberries and cream
 Weddings were changing to be more casual so we experimented with how to decorate this cake for a cousin who was having a reception in a barn. The colors are there but it needed to be more casual and not go to the expense of a full cake.
We took the old styrofoam, fondant covered cakes and tried ribbon.

Finally we ended up putting this vintage lace over the dots and using the three colors of flowers and ribbon to make the end product.

Cupcakes are all the rage! They have been reinvented and brought back to popularity. Here is a vintage themed idea for a wedding cake. This was done in 2011.


More cupcakes for a wedding are on order. This was a joint effort with Angela Gardner. We tried to match the wedding colors and under Angela's direction we proceeded with the following.
 Hydrangeas and Roses were requested

Originally flowers were made with creamy frosting or icing as we call it now. Next Royal icing was introduced making it possible to make flowers ahead and add to a cake. Now fondant and gum paste flowers are becoming popular. They require different techniques and tools but provide another beautiful make-ahead flower that can weather the heat or cold.