Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cakes Actually Worth Eating...

Now that wedding planning is in full swing, things are moving a long at a haphazard pace. Recently, Jon and I went to a cake tasting. In my mind, wedding cakes were more there for looks, not for the taste. Kind of a "last resort" if the guests hated everything about the meal, party, and overall felt resentful about the fact that they had to listen to someone's drunken cousin, Shelia, boohoo through a crappy "poem" that she had written for the occasion.

Please excuse my preconceived notions, but I thought wedding cakes were either some derivative of white or chocolate. Sometimes an odd flavor that no one really eats (like pistachio) sneaks into the mix because some bonehead couple ordered it because they wanted their wedding to be "unique". Bad move. Nothing like $1500 worth of cake sitting on the table because it is green, and tastes like sweet-nutty insulation.

Wedding cakes, in my mind, are overly sweet with a nasty after-taste. To me it is almost alcoholly, if that is even a word. If it is not the alcoholly taste, it's aspartame. The "better" of the cakes I have had throughout the many weddings I have been dragged to have lacked the after taste, but had the texture of sugared insulation. I had never met a wedding cake that I just thought was worth the hefty price of anything that has the word "wedding" in front of it. Any cake that did taste great did not look like a wedding cake.

Here drags in Jon's mother, who SWEARS she had the best wedding cake ever and that we should have one like his parents had. However, his parents really didn't have a wedding cake. They had 12 different flavored, regular cakes on cake stands connected with those atrocious bridges that you see in the all the weddings in the 1970's. The thing took up an 8 foot folding table. It was an eye sore with tulle and kinds of gaudy fluff. I am sure my future child's spouse will feel the same way about my wedding cake (because it will be an actual wedding cake, not 12 different flavored cakes with white icing posing a wedding cake). However, that is yet to be know. That being said, Jon's mom gets a big FAIL on the true wedding cake rating system.

So you might have noticed, despite my attempts to edit and correct, that there are some tense shifts in my writing in some places. Try as I might there will be at least one that sneaks in. This is because what you read above refers to how I previously felt. I now feel different. Here's why:

We went to a tasting at a place call Cakes By Gina. The only reason I had given her cakes a second glance is because I found a similar image of the one below with white and monarch butterflies that I fell in love with, and Gina had something similar that I thought could be adapted. You see, thinking that flavor was out, I was going for at least beautiful.

Martha Stewart's Over the Top Version
(Is there even a cake under there?)

Similar to Gina's verison

I was torn about the butterflies though. You see, we are getting married in December. Not many butterflies in the winter, and they really wouldn't really jive with that winter wonderland theme we were trying to work. Maybe snowflakes instead. But then I thought about it, and finally settled on birds. Jonathan and I are both outdoorsy. So instead of the cascade of butterflies, a flock of birds.

Again with the digressions, sheesh. So anyway, we get there and learn that Gina does torte-style cakes. I did not realize what that meant. Apparently, it means that there is a layer of cake, a layer of flavoring of some kind, followed by more cake, then icing. Sounded cool. So we order a few flavors and a few of the filling options. I take a bite...

The cake was the best cake I have EVER tasted. Light, moist, not overly sweet. Turns out Gina uses something like 30% less sugar than a traditional recipe calls for so that the actual flavor of the cake comes out. Fancy that. The first bite was traditional white with a vanilla butter cream. Decadent, delicious. Not to be outdone...except by the chocolate cake with the chocolate butter cream filling. I'm drooling just thinking about it. I think we tried 6 different cakes and 4 different fillings.

Then I got depressed. You see, we aren't having a groom's cake because Jon is having his relatives each bake some traditional culturally-relevant dessert, including, but not limited to the elusive kolache. Therefore, I thought we were going to be stuck with one flavor and have to duke it out. You see, Jon is an over-opinionated groom who actually has ideas about what he wants. This has already caused havoc in other departments, but again, I digress. Then I was informed of the following: Gina allows you to have each tier a different flavor at no additional charge. Wha What?! So, here's how it is going down.

Shape: Round
Color: White with aqua swirling "damask-like" scroll pattern.
Number of tiers: 6
Theme: Flock of 2D birds similar to this flying in a flock up the side as if on the aqua wind.
Icing: Butter cream with gum paste birds
Flavors!: (Starting from the bottom tier up)
Tier 1: Traditional Bridal white with a vanilla butter cream filling
Tier 2: Chocolate with a chocolate butter cream filling
Tier 3 (Quintessential Jon and Andrea): Chocolate cake with a peanut butter, butter cream filling
Tier 4: Italian Cream Cake with a Cream Cheese filling
Tier 5: Traditional Bridal White with a Bavarian Cream filling.

I may have to stop back by Gina's place to have another tasting just to "make sure" I made the right choice. LOL. Here is a picture of how it eventually turned out.

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