Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Love in the time of cake

Today I joined my friend for a wedding cake tasting at Let Them Eat Cake in my hometown of Costa Mesa.

As I have always told her, the cake is (some might say arguably) the most important part of the wedding. A close second to the one that you love, the cake's importance is immeasurable.

A wedding is quite possibly the only time in an average person's life where you can justifiably spend a substantial amount of money on one decadent dessert. It is a decision that if taken seriously, if given enough weight, can provide one with an opportunity for dessert greatness.

There was a lot to consider at the cake tasting session today-- not only design and taste, but also moral quandaries that only Emily Post could solve! For example, if you have three hundred guests, should you purchase cake by the slice for all three hundred present, or should you take into account that some people will not eat cake, as much as you, Marie Antoinette, or the owners of this shop may implore them to do just that? (Personally, I cannot conceive of leaving a wedding before trying the cake.)

At Let Them Eat Cake, they make everything from scratch, a philosophy I have to appreciate. I learned today that "Nothing is dipped out of a bucket, squeezed out of a tube, etc." A lot of heart and soul goes into their uber-moist creations. They seem to take the cake for taking cake seriously. (Although this was my first official wedding cake tasting, so who knows how intense this can get?) Anyway, at times it gave me goosebumps to be around people who are so passionate about baked creations.

Today I tried flavors including chocolate, Banana's foster pecan cake, Lemon Framboise Cake, and Raspberry Frangelico Cake (the latter was my favorite among the selections). Their website describes it as "Layers of moist butter cake baked with fresh Raspberry and Roasted Hazelnut Chunks and filled with Hazelnut Cream, Raspberry Cream, and Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache." Yes, it was delicious.

One particularly interesting part of their creative process at Let Them Eat Cake is their request that the happy couple mail them a package of clues, with the idea that these clues will inspire the creation of a meaningful and personal cake with a careful attention to detail. These clues are snapshots into who they are, a representation of their desired cake design aesthetic via bridesmaid fabric swatches, portraits, text about where the couple first met, even wedding shower wrapping paper.

While I can appreciate their thoughtfulness, and their overall creative process, I don't know if I would be able to go through with this. Naturally, aesthetics are important at such a special event-- but I would have to place priority on elements that would make the cake taste the very best. Rather than painstakingly designing edible sequins that match my hypothetical dress, give me the most flavor for my money. Give me a cake that will make my taste buds fall in love. Isn't that what weddings are all about?
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