The cutting of the wedding cake is one of those traditions that I find confusing. It seems to throw couples slightly into feeling that they have to choose a traditional, tiered and iced cake to cut together while guests look on and the photographer’s camera flashes away.
It makes me sad to think about so many cakes left languishing in the shadows after they’ve been ceremonially cut. To me, your cake is first and foremost for eating, not a vehicle for a slightly tired tradition!
I spoke with Ellie at Milk Street Kitchen - creators of delicious cakes and French inspired patisserie with a focus on freshness and flavour - about this bugbear of mine, and it’s a frustration that she shares.
Ellie says there can be a sense that there’s a way her couples feel they’re supposed to do things when it comes to the cake, and that it’s very much tied in to tradition. While tools like Pinterest have helped break down some of the formalities in the world of weddings, giving a focus to the curation of small details and decor, and an emphasis on the idea of doing your day your way, the cake can still somehow get lost in the old school.
At Milk Street Kitchen, Ellie urges her couples not to think of the cake as something to be ticked off a planning list. Preferring swiss meringue buttercream to fondant icing, and working with light genoise sponge and homemade jams and curds, she creates stylish, modern and mouthwatering cakes that can be a real styling focal point. Made not just to sit on a stand in a corner and wait to be cut, these are cakes that give a visual wow factor, but that are meant to be eaten on the wedding day, not wrapped and stored in a freezer for months on end!
In terms of style, we’re seeing a shift towards more classic design than the rustic naked cakes that were so popular a couple of years ago, Ellie says. Contemporary, smartly iced cakes with buttercream give sharp corners and straight lines - perfect for adornment with edible flowers, mini patisserie or, for a real opulent edge, gold and silver leaf. Her couples are looking for cakes with a laid-back, luxury feel, that their guests will look forward to eating as soon as they see it.
Milk Street Kitchen also offer Pop Up Patisseries, which I love. These are perfect for those couples who want a show-stopping dessert, but who just aren’t that keen on cake! Think towering golden croquembouches filled with flavoured cream, eclairs, rainbow coloured macarons, fluffy meringues and other bite-sized treats.
Because that’s the thing - not only do you not have to be photographed cutting your cake if that tradition doesn’t hold meaning for you - you don’t have to have a cake at all! If cake leaves you cold, but you’re a sucker for a heaped ice-cream sundae, cream-filled doughnut or hot fruit pie with custard, make this your wedding dessert, and think about how to style it with some flair.
However you choose to tackle the sweet side of your wedding day, remember that while we eat with our eyes first, the most important thing is the freshness, the flavour and the fact that there should be nothing but crumbs left at the end of the night.
All cakes pictured by Milk Street Kitchen
2: Helen Warner
4: Helen Warner
6: Helen Warner
7: Helen Warner