By Amanda Koehn
While in the last couple years, naked-style wedding cakes, or perhaps a unique non-cake dessert, have had their moment at weddings, this year the simple and elegant cake is back.
Think designs that highlight texture, colorful flowers and even incorporate natural elements, like plant clippings. The classic cake is back, but with some personalized twists.
Handmade, elaborate layered cakes served by Lucy’s Sweet Surrender
For Lucy’s Sweet Surrender owner Michael Feigenbaum, taste comes first. The scratch, Eastern European/European bakery in Shaker Heights boasts cakes with a seemingly impossible number of layers and a focus on fresh ingredients.
Feigenbaum says the bakery dates back to a pre-commercialized style of cooking, when there was a focus on seasonal and classic ingredients.
He describes a Lucy’s classic, the Dobos torte, a Hungarian seven-layer – or more – cake assembled with chocolate buttercream and glazed with caramelized sugar topping.
“There’s really only a few people in Cleveland that even try to make that cake commercially,” he says.
For weddings, Feigenbaum says he often gets requests for pastry trays to place on tables prior to the cake cutting. He also advises those thinking about cake options to consider temperature – in warmer summer months, buttercream frostings hold up better than those that melt more easily. However, he says if a customer requests a cassata cake – or one that must be refrigerated – a work-around can include ordering a smaller buttercream cake for photos and display, and having the cassata cake pre-cut and decorated in the refrigerator until serving time. The buttercream cake can also make a good addition to the next morning’s brunch, if it doesn’t get eaten that night.
Moreover, Feigenbaum says he doesn’t dabble much in outrageous designs, opting for simple, clean looking and delicious cakes.
“Because we are old school, I’m more focused on how it should taste. I make my cakes almost exclusively the same day they are getting served,” he says, adding he will often bake the cake layers a day or two in advance, and save assembling and decorating until the day of. “Usually within two hours of finishing the decorating, I’m leaving to go to the wedding to deliver the cake.”
Colorful, floral seasonal accents lead at White Flower Cake Shoppe
Recent wedding cake trends have centered around “naked cakes” – which have no or minimal frosting on the outside – but according to Kelly Holtz, wedding account manager at White Flower Cake Shoppe, that trend is fading. She says this season, her cake shop, which creates all wedding cakes at its Beachwood shop and also has a Solon location, has seen more simple designs accentuating colors, texture and floral designs.
“We are also seeing a lot of gold – that’s one of our biggest requests is adding gold elements, which we can do in a number of ways,” she says.
Customers are also seeking modern, clean lines, as well a hint of nature – think succulents and fresh flowers atop the cake.
Holtz says early meetings with couples can include drawing inspiration from a photo the customers saw on Pinterest or elsewhere. Or, they may have no idea what want they want – White Flower is accustomed to assisting both types. Tasting comes first, then they will consider colors and consult White Flower’s design book to get ideas about what the couple likes and dislikes, which altogether often lead to the design’s inception.
“I want them to get the style they are looking for, but I also want to make sure it’s something we are going to be able to deliver for them,” Holtz says.
A tip? Book early. Holtz says right now, her shop is booking wedding cakes earlier than in the past, with dates filling up into later in the year.
Nothing Bundt Cakes offers unique, efficient option
When Dennis Looney first tasted Nothing Bundt Cakes’ desserts, he was hooked.
“I took my first bite when Janette introduced me to it 11 years ago, and now we own two stores and are opening a third,” he says, referring to his wife with whom he co-owns shops in South Euclid since September 2019 and Avon since 2017.
The co-owners say they’ve seen a trend where wedding parties are moving away from tiered cakes and toward unique options like bundt cakes, and adding an assortment of cupcakes. Janette says it likely has something to do with the ease with which cupcakes – or bundtinis, Nothing Bundt Cakes’ take on cupcakes – can be served, versus the sometimes messy process of cutting a wedding cake and delivering it around.
The cakes are certified kosher at the South Euclid location. The Nothing Bundt Cakes business is also efficient – the cakes can be prepared with 24-hour notice.
Moreover, the co-owners say there’s something fun and different about choosing their cakes. While customization is limited to options like one of the 10 flavors, the popular drizzle frosting, decorations and size, the quality is guaranteed, Janette says.
“One of the best things about having Nothing Bundt Cakes as your wedding cake is when you try it, you know exactly what your cake is going to taste like,” she says. “When you go to a lot of other people who make wedding cakes, you try a few different flavors and then they will make one that you want, and you really never know if what you are going to get is going to taste or look exactly the way you want it.”