When buying wedding desserts, throw tradition out the window
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — On your wedding day, you can have your cake and eat it too.
For our next episode of Weddings 101, we visit two Central New York bakeries to learn what’s trendy in the world of wedding cakes and desserts, what to expect at a cake tasting, and how much cakes cost.
The Gingersnap Bakery in Phoenix, N.Y. is known for multi-tiered wedding cakes, elaborate fondant work and handmade sugar flowers. Owner Kelsie Mack started working in restaurants and bakeries when she was 15, and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.
When designing a wedding cake, Mack first schedules a meeting about six months before the wedding to hear the couple’s vision. It’s a multi-step process. Even after the meetings, planning and sketching, it will still take a week to bake, assemble, frost and display the cake.
Gingersnap Bakery’s stacked cakes start at $4.95 per slice. Extras like fondant work and sugar florals take extra time (and cost extra money). Dessert displays vary widely, she said, ranging anywhere from $3 to $7 per person.
Mack says big cakes (three to five tiers) are still the bulk of her business, but dessert displays are “more interactive and can look grander.”
“People go crazy if you do a small-tiered cake, surrounded by cupcakes, cookies, dessert shooters, French macarons and brownies on different tiered stands,” she said.
That’s exactly what my fiancé and I wanted: a small cake with mini desserts. We met up with our friends at the nearby bakery The Sweet Praxis Bake Lab for our custom tasting, and tried every flavor combination we could possibly handle (before the sugar crash hit).
Swiss meringue buttercream and raspberry compote? A definite winner. Peanut butter and lemon? Well, we learned our lesson. Sweet Praxis cake tastings cost between $30 and $80, depending on the level of customization.
“Some people still use cake toppers, but right now, we’re seeing a big trend in topping wedding cakes with fresh flowers,” said Walls.
Walls also said one classic tradition — freezing the top tier of your wedding cake to eat on your one-year anniversary — isn’t as popular as it used to be.
“We’d be happy to duplicate your cake in miniature form, so it’s fresh a year after the wedding,” Walls said. “Then you can eat it on your anniversary and relive those memories, without freezer burn. A year-old cake is just not ideal.”
Wedding cakes vary widely in price, based on tiers and customization. For example, a 8-inch multi-colored palette cake with raspberry compote/chocolate ganache filling and vanilla buttercream frosting would cost $90 at The Sweet Praxis and serve 28-40 guests.
That said, a two-tiered Sweet Praxis cake with a 6-inch top and 8-inch base, would also serve up to 40 guests, but it would cost $230 because of decorative macarons, gold leaf and meringues.
The Sweet Praxis offers a wide variety of miniature desserts, ranging from $1 to $2 each. Couples can order brioche doughnuts, cookies or cookie sandwiches, cream puffs, lemon drops, truffles, buckeyes, pie bites, tart-lettes, bundt-lettes, and macarons to surround their wedding cake display, or even replace it.
Walls says it’s best to plan for 2-4 mini servings per guest. If you’re expecting 150-200 guests, you can easily spend $1,000 to $2,000 on mini desserts alone.
In the end, every baker says the same thing: pick the flavors and fillings you love, not what you think your guests will love. “You’re taking the first bite,” Walls said. “The cake should be your thing, for you to enjoy eating together. Especially if you’re doing mini desserts for everyone else.”
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Original article found at https://www.syracuse.com/living/2020/02/when-it-comes-to-wedding-cakes-throw-tradition-out-the-window-weddings-101.html Excerpts reprinted here.