Engagement season is here! For couples getting ready for the big day, now is the time you’re considering those all important details – including that sweet centerpiece: the wedding cake. We speak to Jeanne Topham, founder and executive pastry chef of one of our favorite local vendors, I Dream of Jeanne Cakes. For I Dream of Jeanne Cakes, this is one of the busiest tasting times of the year. After all, dessert is the last part of your meal – not only should it be delicious, it’s got to be memorable. Most importantly, the cake is a reflection of your style and taste Here’s what to expect when going into your tasting.
There’s a whole world of flavors out there – ranging from simple vanilla to an exotic tropical fruit or a rich & dark chocolate. In the spring & summer, “vanilla cake with fruity flavors like zesty lemon, strawberry, orange, lime, and passionfruit are always well received,” according to Jeanne. Want to get away from the mainstream? Be adventurous by combining lemon and blackberry or coconut and almond in your cake. She suggests “adding fresh fruit to the filling for a delightful surprise or have the cake served with a scoop of sorbet or ice cream.”
Do your taste buds tingle at the thought of the dark side? “Chocolate cake is amazing with a rich dark ganache, salted caramel or a buttercream filling inspired by candy bars like Heath Bar, Almond Joy, Cadbury Fruit and Nut, Three Musketeers.” How cool is that? If you share a love of favorite candy with your significant other, having itturned into a cake flavor could be the perfect choice!
“Just like fashion, flavors can follow trends as well,” says Jeanne. Right now we’re seeing a lot of clients asking for chocolate and salted caramel, or incorporating more texture, more crunch into their cake by including nuts, chocolate chunks or even a layer of a baked nut meringue.. Love tradition? Bring in a family recipe that you want to use to create the wedding cake. Or recreate the dessert from your first date into the cake flavor you serve at your wedding.
“When couples feel overwhelmed by the flavor choices, I like to ask what their favorite dessert is to order when they’re dining out, or what their favorite ice cream is. It’s fun to watch their faces light up as they describe the best dessert they’ve had, or talk about how they can’t stay away from Almond Joys. That gives us insight about what they like, and gives us a chance to create something unique for them.”
Like everything, the cost of a wedding cake can vary greatly between bakeries. The cost is based on how intricate the design is, the size, and the quality of the ingredients used. It’s no surprise that cakes made with top quality, natural ingredients taste better, but can also be pricier. When bakers source their ingredients locally, they are also affected by the rise & fall of crop prices (for example, sugar prices rose 80% post Hurricane Katrina after two national refineries were forced to close). Just think of a meal at a nice restaurant – you expect the chef to take care in selecting the ingredients, and creating a great meal. The same goes for your cake.
Stay tuned! Next time, Jeanne dishes on what to expect at the design meeting…
I Dream of Jeanne Cakes is based in Massachusetts, with a commissary in Lawrence, MA. With a reputation for cutting edge design, they’ve been named Brides Magazine’s 100 Favorite Bakers and chosen as one of America’s Most Beautiful Cakes. Using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible and committed to using only the highest quality ingredients, I Dream of Jeanne Cakes makes sweet dreams possible.