Have Your Cake and Enjoy It!

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Deciding on your wedding cake sounds easy, right? WRONG!  Between the look, the taste and of course – what type of frosting… you will want to pull your hair out!  There are dozens of choices and endless combinations, not to mention that the cake and the frosting you choose will depend on a lot of factors; the location of the wedding, the outdoor temperature, what style of cake you want… and (of course) your taste. Having a great looking cake that tastes bad is  just as much of a disaster as a delicious cake that looks awful.

For me , the most important part of the cake is the frosting so I have broken it down into three main types:

Buttercream frosting is made from butter or margarine combined with powdered sugar, flavorings, and liquid. This is by far the most popular frosting because it is easy to work with and very adaptable, plus it holds up well to humidity and temperature variations. These characteristics are especially important in the case of an outdoor wedding where there is an uncontrolled environment. If you love the look of fondant but can’t live without  buttercream frosting, relax…. a skilled baker can replicate the look of fondant with buttercream.

Whipped Cream frostings are made from powdered sugar, flavorings, and whipped cream – what could be simpler? Unfortunately the whipped cream is sometimes a problem since this type of frosting requires refrigeration and does not hold up well to heat or high humidity. However, this is the sweetest and fluffiest of all frostings and is a real treat  if the conditions are right. As far as the design is concerned, the possibilities are endless with a talented baker.

Fondant creates a very smooth and elegant cake covering but is less sweet and more dense than other frosting types which have lighter whipped textures. The main benefit of fondant is that, unlike buttercream frosting, in a fairly short amount of time you can have a silky, perfect-looking cake. In just a matter of minutes you can roll out your fondant, cover your cake, and smooth. You can also use fondant to create interesting shapes and figures for your cake that you wouldn’t be able to do with plain frosting. Accomplishing the same thing with buttercream frosting can be nearly impossible, even for the most dedicated cake decorator. However, fondant doesn’t always taste as good as buttercream.

There are no clear-cut rules  but, consider the taste and temperature to be the deal breakers. You absolutely cannot have a cake with whipped cream frosting in the middle of July in Louisiana and you will never get the same texture and taste of buttercream frosting using rolled fondant. Figure out what is the most important thing to you and use your baker’s expertise and advice to  accomplish your main goal – having a beautiful cake that holds up at least until it is cut.

Last but certainly not least – arrange to taste cake samples together. Finding a cake you both love will be a lovely memory.  This is definitely the best part of wedding planning!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 Tipsycake, Chicago,IL

 

Leeson’s Cakes, Tinley Park, IL

Sharon’s Custom Cakes, Crete, IL

Oak Mill Bakery Chicago, IL

 

 

Wacky & Tacky – Good weddings gone bad!

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I don’t know when it happened but a while back someone decided that weddings were a good time to make bad choices. Almost as if masses of people simultaneously had the same thought “Let’s turn our wedding into a sideshow!” and then it spread like wild fire.

I am not talking about some of the god-awful wedding or bridesmaids gowns or even the ridiculous theme weddings that some people think are clever and unique. Generally these folks know exactly what they are doing and are trying to make a statement or prove something. More power to them for decimating a somber moment. I am referring to weddings that appear to be  tasteful and then – BOOM! The tacky shows up and has no where to hide.  

After having watched one of the most tasteful weddings in my lifetime on BBC America, I thought it was a good time to cover the other end of the spectrum.

Eleven tackiest things you can do at your wedding:

#1-  Brides do not smoke in their wedding gown. Invest in nicorette.

#2- It is not acceptable to have the wedding cake look like anything other than a cake.

#3- Wedding gowns with logos on them are  advertisements and unless the owner of the logo is sponsoring your entire affair – leave the patches on your windbreaker . Either way it is completely tacky. The only thing on your gown should be lace or beading.

#4- Keep shoes on during the reception.  No one wants to see your feet. It is also a safety issue since there may be the chance of broken glass. If your feet hurt, buy a second pair of lower heeled matching shoes and wear them. Or better yet – buy a pair of shoes that are comfortable to begin with.

#5 – Buy a gown that fits. Exposing too much cleavage does not make you sexy or more attractive. Having rolls of back fat spilling over a strapless gown is not appealing. Wearing a dress so short that you  need to invite your gynecolgoist is not a good idea, either. This is not a money issue, brides will spend thousands of dollars on designer gowns and then even more money to have them altered only to look like a Vegas Showgirl.

#6- Garter removal. I get it – you guys are married  and in love and you want everyone to know that you get to ‘do it’ tonight. But, for the love of God -  someone please get rid of this awful wedding ritual. No one uses garters anymore and the whole pulling up the dress thing is downright creepy, especially when it goes just one tiny bit too far.

#7 – Toasting should be a time for raising glasses and spirits. The best toast can bring the guests to tears of joy in two sentences. The worst can last forever and mention things that are way to personal.

#8 – The first dance or any dance is a bad time to crank out a tacky tune.  Boyz II Men, “I’ll make love to you” comes to mind. Check and re-check your playlist and try to save the make out dance party music for another time.

#9 – No bare midriffs for bridesmaids, guests or (heaven help us) flower girls. You have your entire life to show everyone your smokin’ body and I think gramps could live a little longer without life support not having to worry if his 4 year old great-granddaughters nipple is showing.

#10-  Cash Bar. You heard me. A cash bar says “I really only care about  me and not you”.  If funds are low, have a smaller affair. If you can only afford a small amount, restrict it to bottom shelf liquor or wine and beer. Or wine only. Or just have the reception at Olive Garden with the immediate family.

#11 – Having any conversation with any guest about the cost of the wedding. This is prior to the event, during the event or after the event. Unless said guest is one of your nearest and dearest, they don’t need to know firsthand how much your nuptials set you back. Before the event it makes you appear to be asking for money, during or after it is bragging and both are unacceptable. Let everyone speculate about your lavish affair and smile, knowing it was well worth it.

Whether your wedding budget is $10,000 or $10,000,000 you can avoid most of these mistakes by using reputable professionals. At each and every Bridal Expo you can rest assured that our vendors have your best interests at heart.  Take their advice and use their ample experience to avoid being featured on a tacky wedding website!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago