Wedding Cake Ideas

October 2, 2017
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of

Wedding trends and traditions are always changing, but there’s one constant that hardly any couple can resist – a sweet treat to help them celebrate! We’ve asked the incredibly talented Melissa Samuels with Melissa’s Fine Pastries out of New Orleans for her expert insight on wedding cake traditions, trends and all the tasty treats inbetween.

Q. Hosting a destination wedding allows couples to think outside the box in terms of tradition. How important is it for couples to stick with a traditional wedding cake vs. a sweet alternative like pies or cupcakes?

A. We find our clients want something a bit more bridal because so many details of a destination wedding are unconventional. There is just something about a tiered cake that screams “wedding.”

Q. Our readers are saying “I do” all over the globe. Do you think their cake is a good opportunity to incorporate cultural touches like specific color schemes or patterns?

A. Absolutely! As a cake studio, we specialize in curating custom designs that incorporate a couple’s history and culture. A sugar peacock feather or white chocolate replica of your grandmother’s brooch can be that special touch that makes your wedding cake unique and memorable. 

Q. Some countries/destinations have specific, unique wedding traditions (i.e. the Hawaiian lei exchanging ceremony). What are some creative ways couples could possibly incorporate those into their cake designs?

A. A favorite New Orleans wedding tradition is the cake pull. Cake pulls are small charms tied to ribbons or attached to bracelets and each charm has its own unique meaning. The charms are inserted into the cake’s bottom tier before the reception starts and the bridesmaids pull the ribbons from the cake during the party to reveal their charms. It’s a great tradition shared by the bride and her girls and is fun for the guests to watch and enjoy. Other traditions can be represented in the cake’s design. The Hawaiian lei exchange, for example, can be represented with handmade gum paste leis or a cascade of the traditional plumerias and orchids.

Q. It is said in fashion that everything old becomes new again. Do you think the same is true of cakes? For example, groom’s cakes seem to come and go…

A. Cake trends follow fashion trends to a T. Chevron print, ruffles and touches of metallic have all been seen on cakes in recent years, but simplicity has made a major comeback. Many brides want a textured buttercream or “naked” cake that looks effortless and ready to eat.

Q. What’s your stance on using fondant? Couples seem to have a love/hate relationship with it. It can add a flawless look, but sometimes a not-so-great taste.

A. Fondant is a sugar dough that is rolled into a thin sheet and wrapped around an iced cake. When used properly, it is a delicious addition to a wedding cake that allows for a smooth, porcelain finish. Fondant is extremely versatile and can be used to make everything from lace designs to tree bark texture. It has gained a bad reputation because it is often used improperly. Sometimes the fondant itself is low quality, which makes for a not-so-tasty experience. We import our fondant from Switzerland and it has a very pleasant marshmallow-like flavor. We encourage our clients who are apprehensive to sample our fondant and taste the difference for themselves.

Q. What would you recommend for couples to get the best of both worlds – a pretty and delicious cake? Are there any techniques or combinations you prefer?

A. Couples can have a cake that looks just as beautiful as it tastes if they are working with a high-quality cake studio. You should never compromise taste for looks or vice versa. Our cakes are baked from scratch and layered with delicious, house-made fillings like chocolate mousse, lemon curd and whipped mascarpone. Then we ice them in whippy, soft Italian buttercream. Once we have created that foundation, we begin the decorating process. Cakes are sculpted, painted or airbrushed until they meet our client’s vision. As a wedding-focused bakery, we take the time to adorn your cake with handcrafted sugar pearls or custom painted monograms. A traditional, high-volume bakery may not have the luxury to include such detail.

Q. What are some of your favorite flavor combos? Also, could you give a few examples of ways couples could incorporate flavors that are unique to your location of New Orleans?

A. One of our favorite flavors is our White Chocolate Raspberry Cake. It’s a white chocolate chiffon cake layered with whipped mascarpone, seedless raspberry jam and fresh raspberries. Red Velvet is also a Southern classic, with its cream cheese filling and beautiful color. But, for a quintessential New Orleans experience, we recommend our Café au Lait cake. It delicately incorporates that delicious coffee flavor with a touch of chicory and cream.

Q. What trends are currently popular and what trends do you foresee in the near future for cakes?

A. The naked cake is extremely popular right now with its simplicity and approachability. If Fashion Week and the Met Gala are any indication, we will see silver and intricate, textural designs on wedding cakes for 2017.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue. You can order a copy here.

Photo credits: Eau Claire Photographics (main), Archetype (1st), Ardent Studio (2nd), Catherine Guidry Photography (3rd), Dark Roux Photography (4th), Marissa Lambert Photography (5th and 6th), Matt and Julie Weddings (7th), Stevie Ramos Photography (8th)

Wyndham Alltra

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