Wedding Cake Therapy
Oct 13, 2015
So, you’re getting married? Sit on Yigit Pura’s Cake Consulting Couch…
For me, designing a wedding cake is an opportunity to create something that has never been created before. In my production kitchen, we create many of our pastries and desserts systematically in order to consistently make the same thing every day. There are certain systems that I employ with wedding cakes, but every one is a completely unique creation – one that will be made only once, especially for the couple.
The couple may be two men who have lived and loved together for more than a decade, and now, after advocacy and changes in our laws and culture, are having their day with friends and family. The couple may be a young man and woman, fresh out of college and starting out their adult lives with family and friends giving tons of advice at every turn. Or they may be two women who, after years of dating long distance, have decided to come together and make a life together in one city. The point is, the different stories of two people getting married are endless, and I am always honored and excited to sit down with them and talk about their love, their planned wedding day and the life they want to lead together.
I begin my work on a wedding cake by inviting the couple to a “Sweet Therapy” session – aka wedding cake consultation. Here are a few things you might be asked if you come in for some “Sweet Therapy”
Some Basic Questions: No matter the size of the event of the cake, there are some basic questions that I ask to get an understanding of the couple. These include:
- How did you meet?
- Tell me about your love.
- What are three words that describe your partner?
Questions like these and discussions with the couple – together and individually – give me an idea of their way of being in the world, their individual and couple personalities, what their values are and the emotions that they most want to evoke in their friends and family on their wedding day.
Bring Images or an Inspiration Board: When a cake consultation is booked, I always ask the couple to bring some images to the appointment. One of the best tools is Pinterest! It gives everyone a chance to explore online and see what is available now. I also love seeing a picture of their favorite things – if asked I know I would pull up a photo of my dog, Maui. And that might not be very helpful! The point of photos and images is to get an idea of the couple’s aesthetic, what they are drawn to and what they want in their wedding cake. I ask about colors and objects in the natural world that they are most attracted to. Even if a couple is hesitant at first, or believes that they don’t have a personal aesthetic, or style, I start to get an idea of what attracts them.
Favorite Flavors: What’s a cake consultation without cake?! Ahead of the appointment, the couple will tell us what a few of their favorite cake flavors are. I like to have 5 to 6 flavors available for the tasting. This way I can get an idea of what they are drawn to, which flavors are exciting and which are comforting for the couple. I also want to know how they eat the wedding cake – is it with a slow and dainty bite or giant mouthfuls? We get to talk about their classic favorite flavors and maybe even think of new ways to bring flavors together. More than once, when it comes to a wedding cake, I’ve made up a special flavor for the couple’s wedding day.
When is the Big Day? The season that a couple plans to get married is especially important. The berries, fruits and flowers that will be at the market at that time of year will inform the flavor of the cake and quite possibly the decorations that I choose. Using strawberries for an early summer wedding when strawberries are in season will give the cake the freshest flavor for the best market price. I love it when seasons, tastes and commerce align! The date is also necessary when thinking about the icing on the cake – literally. Is it going to be a late summer wedding, in a field with only a tent for protection all day? I’d recommend a fondant finish. Is the wedding a winter evening affair inside a climate-controlled room? We have a few more options because we won’t be as concerned about the temperature variations all day.
How Long Will the Cake Sit Out? A wedding cake is often a beautiful center of the food display, set out as soon as guests arrive at the reception site. This means that it needs to maintain its integrity – both visual and flavor – for quite a few hours before the cake cutting happens. I love using high quality fondant for this reason. When done right, fondant will survive most temperatures without melting or falling apart. It can give a clean and consistent look for the entire cake. I also think about the interior layers and how to hold them together. Have we chosen a ganache that might melt over time? How can we make things more stable?
Wedding cake design and production is on my list of favorite things. It brings together creativity and interacting with people. Wedding cakes give me the chance to think outside of the box, to take a step into new and exciting flavors and design elements. As a pastry chef, I live for inspiration so that I can be innovative. Wedding cakes present me with the inspiration – the couple and their love story – and the innovation – the cake and bringing it to the special day.
For inquiries, visit our Wedding Cake page on our Tout Sweet website.