Why a Sheet Cake Is Better Than Any Expensive Wedding Cake
What I’m about to write may shock you: I bought my wedding cake at a grocery store. It wasn’t fancy, but it didn’t need to be—all I wanted was a small, simple confection that I could ceremonially slice into hand-in-hand with my new husband, with icing I could smear all over his face. A two-tiered, almond-flavored pound cake with plain white sugar frosting for $109.95 fit the bill, and none of my guests were the wiser.
I’m not the only one who thinks towering fondant monstrosities are supremely overrated. Of the four wedding experts we spoke to, all said that the wedding cake isn’t the must-do tradition it used to be. Still on the fence? Here’s every reason you should reconsider the classic wedding cake (and serve something else instead).
Reason #1: They’re party stoppers
“It’s the sign of a good wedding if you miss dessert,” said Nicole Sheppard, owner of the wedding planning outfit All Who Wander. Making a big to-do of slicing a fancy cake requires shutting down the band and grabbing everyone’s attention, which can have a major wind-down effect on the evening’s energy.
In contrast, “dessert being passed [on trays by waiters] extends your party,” Sheppard suggested. “Having things that are portable and smaller”—like cookies, brownies, donuts, or cupcakes—“are really great because they can be passed around the dance floor. That gives people a way to keep dancing and not have to worry about sitting down and stopping the party.”
Reason #2: They’re style over substance
Not only can cakes with thick layers of rigid, plastic-tasting fondant and intricate, over-the-top detailing be super expensive, they’re “really just decorative more than anything,” said Maureen Larson, vice president of Chicago-based caterer Lettuce Parties. More attention is paid to the cake’s visuals than its taste, she explained. “People will take a bite of that cake and that’s it.”
If the cake-cutting tradition is important to you—it was for me!—Larson suggests buying a small, basic cake to fulfill that purpose. With that out of the way, “you can get fun with the dessert: various cupcake towers, a donut wall with cotton candy woven into it, and different fruits that have been dipped in chocolate, platters of cheese,” to name a few options.
Reason #3: Not everyone is a cake person
Think about it: Do you like plain old wedding cake more than a gooey just-baked chocolate chip cookie? A fudgy brownie? A fresh-from-the-oven apple pie? Even if you didn’t say “yes” to any of those (and we seriously doubt that) plenty of your prospective guests might. And if a wedding is your chance to throw your fantasy bash, why settle for a dessert you and your guests won’t over-the-moon love?
“If you’re not really a cake person, do something else!” said Meagan Stroud, the senior catering manager at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. “I’ve seen couples do pie instead of cake. Crème brûlée instead of cake. If you like more savory things, maybe you do a cheese course instead of a cake.” She was the second source to suggest cheese, so we take that as a sign.
Reason #4: They can be ridiculously pricey
According to Thumbtack.com, in New York City, a three-tiered carrot cake with fondant frosting that serves between 150 and 200 people can cost up to $1,345. Did your eyes just pop out of your head? Because ours did. And sure, if you’re a carrot cake fanatic, maybe such an expensive confection makes sense, but chances are you’re not. What, then, bewitches people into spending such massive sums of money?
“People direct money into ‘as seen on TV’ moments, and I think when people hear the word ‘wedding,’ they think they need to have a big elaborate cake,” said David Mawhinney, the chef at NYC-based catering company and event space Haven’s Kitchen. Brides and grooms get wrapped up in the realm of “supposed to” and don’t consider what will actually make for a enjoyable wedding experience, he added.
“People should get a smaller cake so they can have the ceremonial camera moment,” Mawhinney suggested. “Then we create things that people actually want to eat, like some petit four-style desserts.”
Truth is, you should serve whatever you want at your wedding. But know this: Your guests will probably be just as happy with Costco’s finest sheet cake.
See the full article at