Customizing Your Cake
From Concept to First Bite
All photos courtesy Sherman's Deli and Bakery.
You’ve seen them in the magazines, on TV, and at your friends’ weddings. Now it’s time to create your own wedding cake the way you like it. Whether you have a million ideas or are unsure what your signature cake style will look (or taste) like, it’s easy to get started. Jesus Ornelas, executive pastry chef at Sherman’s Deli & Bakery (and whose cakes you may have seen in Inside Weddings and Grace Ormonde’s Wedding Style or on the Travel Channel or Food Network), simplifies the process:
Make an appointment ASAP.
Even Ornelas’ celebrity clients (from Olivia Newton John and Barbara Bush to the cast of Comedy Central’s Scrubs and the rockers Def Leppard) know that a grand special occasion cake calls for an appointment at least six to nine months in advance. Let your baker know about any flavor preferences. Allergic to nuts? Chocoholic? Mention it now so he can tailor the tasting.
Do your homework.
Fill a folder with images, photos, even words that speak to you. Browse favorite magazines, from gardening to classic cars. Express your personal style, cakes aside.
Tastings at Sherman’s last 45 minutes and include an array of cake flavors, fillings, and icings. Bring no more than two additional people to prevent too many opinions; just the two of you is ideal. Share your idea folder and other inspirations. Beyond an invitation or gown photo, consider a family heirloom, piece of jewelry, your bridal shoes, a memento from your early days together.
While the couple tastes, Ornelas sketches initial designs. “I don’t have a catalog where people point to No. 37 and say they want it in blue,” he says. “I’m rendering as we brainstorm. The couple sees the cake take shape before their eyes.”
“Between visiting with guests and mingling, the couple might taste their cake but not savor it,” Ornelas says. He suggests a family member place the top tier in your honeymoon suite to nosh on later with a glass of champagne. For your anniversary, call your baker for a mini version of the original.
Get what you pay for.
Ornelas calls your wedding cake “an affordable luxury.” The labor and love poured into an amazing cake are an investment, but a reasonable one. Shop around and taste more than one baker to ensure you know each bite is worth every penny.