Category: Planning & Etiquette
Sugar?! Maroon 5 has been singing about it, and couples have been saying “Yes, please!” to it – and each other – for what seems like forever and a day. And yet finding the perfect wedding cake is not always the proverbial piece of cake. Rather, the process of finding the right confection is multitiered and involves a fair amount of scheduling and decision making. Here, three local bakeries offer slices of advice for twosomes searching for that toothsome sweet something.
Every design needs a starting point, which is why pastry chef Scott Calvert of Austin’s The Cake Plate recommends that couples start the process with a few ideas in terms of style and flavors. There’s no need to go bananas with brainstorming (unless you want a banana cake, of course) – just come up with a few wish-fors and must-haves, for example: cream cheese frosting, floral piping, chocolate cake, a groom’s cake, pastries on the side or cupcakes in a variety of flavors.
Whoever said “It’s what’s inside that counts” wasn’t talking about wedding cakes. The wedding cake is as much style as it is flavor, if not more so. For traditionalists and romantics, Italian cream cake with royal icing or silk leaves proves to be a timeless pick among the dearly beloved crowd. Jennifer Johnson of Johnson’s Bakery in Bastrop says her most popular option is white cake with raspberry filling, which she attributes to the fact it’s timeless, tasty and elegant. In terms of trends, she says she is seeing an influx of Southern-inspired styling, with touches of burlap and raffia.
Meanwhile, Scott at The Cake Plate says his shop is seeing a movement toward modern cake designs – with repeating patterns and metallic color schemes, like gold, rose gold and silver. He also noted that more and more people are opting to pair a bride’s cake with a sweet assortment of pastries such as petit fours, chocolates, cookies, macaroons, mini cakes and even tiny pies.
Simply Sweet, located on Main Street in Bastrop, steers clear of trends and themes in favor of their steady, made-from-scratch cupcakes. Why cupcakes over cakes? For the fun factor, say husband-and-wife owners Steve and Sheila Sarff, but also because it allows couples to forgo a flavor decision in favor of variety. The shop offers a lengthy list of flavors, but Simply Sweet is also happy to whip up custom flavors and frosting colors for brides and grooms to be.
The Groom’s Cake
The groom’s cake originated in Britain during the Victorian era as a richer cake than the bride’s because men were believed to have stronger stomachs than women. Over the years, the tradition is more commonly observed in the South, where the women – like the men – can certainly handle their cake.
In general, the groom’s cake tends to be more laid-back than the traditional wedding cake, sort of no fences when it comes to themes, flavors and styles. Johnson’s recently made one that was shaped like a bass fish, and the bakery has also fulfilled requests for a groom’s favorite pie or snack, such as lemon bars. The Cake Plate reports that about 75 percent of its wedding cake orders include a groom’s cake, and it specializes in a range of options – including football stadium cakes that pay homage to the couple’s alma mater.
There’s a lot to remember with wedding planning, which is why it’s great to ask the experts what you shouldn’t forget when it comes to selecting a wedding cake.
Steven at Simply Sweet said the quality of the cake should be top of mind. For freshness and quality’s sake, don’t forget to ask about ingredients.
For Jennifer at Johnson’s, her answer was one often applied to the realm of real estate: location, location, location. Don’t forget to factor in your wedding venue. She always talks to couples about their reception space, because whether it’s indoors or out will inform the type of frosting she recommends. Case in point: Jennifer recalls how she once had to make last-minute adjustments to a groom’s cake because its peanut butter frosting was literally melting due to the warm weather and outdoor venue.
And last but not least, Scott at The Cake Plate says the couple should never forget the fun factor. “Many aspects of planning a wedding can be stressful. Cake should not be one of them.”
The Cake Plate of Austin, est. 1996
Pastry Chef/owner: Scott Calvert
Specialties: Large wedding cakes
His favorite flavors: Mexican vanilla with buttercream and sliced strawberries and chocolate pecan praline
His favorite styles: Gumpaste flowers, piping and lace applique
Lead time for orders: Six months or more
Johnson’s Bakery of Bastrop, est. 2014
Baker/owner: Jennifer Johnson
Specialties: White cake with raspberry filling, raspberry cream cake, peanut butter on chocolate cake and Italian cream
Her favorite cake: Italian cream with coconut and pecans with cream cheese icing
Lead time for orders: Three months or more
Simply Sweet of Bastrop, est. 2012
Bakers/owners: Steven and Sheila Sarff
Specialties: Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, Italian cream, red velvet, snickerdoodle and strawberry
Their favorite: Cherry chip cake with cream cheese frosting
Lead time for orders: One week (or more depending on customization preferences)
Tastings: Pricing varies
Bonus Bakery: Sweet Treets of Austin, est. 2010
If cake pops, cake balls, tarts and bars are must-have accompaniments to your fanciful wedding cake, Sweet Treets Bakery in Austin a delicious Cen Tex go-to. This sugar shop caters to specialty diets and uniquely offers a gorgeous lineup of cake stands for rent.
Learn More: Check out our list of Venues & Vendors to learn about more cakes and catering options in the Lost Pines Region and Greater Austin.