Hottest Cakes For Northern California Brides
Cakes that make a statement
by HCTG Senior Staff Writer Jolene Rae Harrington
Your wedding vows brought everyone to tears, the guests are raving about the food, and the band is so lively that even old Aunt Ethel took a spin on the dance floor. Now it’s time for the Grand Finale, and all eyes turn to…the wedding cake. Maybe it’s been displayed in a corner for guests to admire in mouthwatering anticipation; or perhaps it makes a dramatic entrance as your caterer wheels it into the ballroom. Everything has gone perfectly so far, yet you wonder: Will it be divine or will it be a dud?
If you’ve entrusted your dessert to one of the Bay Area’s hottest confectionery wizards, you needn’t worry. Your cake is sure to be not only a masterpiece of cutting-edge style but also the embodiment of gastronomic ecstasy.
If you’re like most brides, you want your celebration to convey something unique about you and your husband-to-be. Working closely with a cake maker to create your own wedding cake is one way to “express yourself” at your reception. The best dessert artists only do custom work, and it all begins with the consultation. In a private brainstorming session with your cake maker, you’ll look at photos from their past designs, exchange ideas and taste some samples. Sonya Hong of Butterfly Cakes in San Francisco comes to consultations armed with colored pencils and her sketch pad, and will do a rendering of the proposed cake right before your eyes.
Sam Godfrey of Perfect Endings, whose fantastic creations have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in O Magazine, emphasizes that before planning a cake, each aspect of the wedding needs to be taken into consideration. Where will it be held? During what time of year? Will you be having a garden reception or dining in an elaborate ballroom? What will the bride wear? What type of cuisine will be served? Which flowers and colors has the bride decided on? “The cake should look like it belongs in the environment in which it is displayed,” explains Godfrey, and tying the cake into the rest of the design elements helps create a cohesive look and feel. Often cake makers ask the bride to bring in color swatches, their dress or a photograph of it, and the name of their florist.
Such details can also directly inspire the cake maker’s creative genius. For one high-society wedding held in Grace Cathedral, Katrina Rozelle of Katrina Rozelle Pastries & Desserts baked an ornate beauty with each luscious tier linked by baroque arches and garnished with roses similar to the one’s in the cathedral’s courtyard. Beth Robideaux, the pastry chef at Michael’s on Main in Aptos, baked a groovy “mod” cake with neon-colored polka dots that matched the wedding invitations of one couple who had decided on a retro 60s theme. Godfrey, Hong and others often take their cue directly from the bride’s gown. The richness of satin, delicate clusters of seed pearls or an intricate pattern of embroidered lace incorporated into the cake’s landscape mirrors the bride’s attire, and makes a striking visual motif.
Cakes might even capture a couple’s sentimental nuances. Kay Dillon of Beaux Gateaux recalls that at one consultation, the bride and groom showed up with a sack of paperback books that had special meaning for them. “They asked if I could bake a cake that depicted them as vintage leather-bound first editions.” The edible books, which included a volume of bright red marzipan with gold calligraphy and gilt-edged pages, looked good enough to read, and the couple had something strikingly original to present to their guests.
For Maralyn Tabatsky, the baking pro behind Have Your Cake, a concoction she dreamed up for a second marriage stands out in her mind: “The bride wanted a true showpiece that also made the children of their new extended family feel included. We started with the idea of a large sandcastle, then added details like a moat, and small pails and shovels bearing the names of each child.” The bride and groom themselves were depicted lounging in beach chairs, dressed in tux and pearls!