Beyond Plain-Old Vanilla
Here, two busy bakers share the crave-worthy cake flavors they see trending for 2013, plus other creative combinations that should be.
The Hot List
Instead of settling for 150 servings of, say, white cake with lemon filling, today’s newlyweds-to-be typically want a different unique flavor (like chocolate cake with caramel and banana fillings) for each tier, says Kara Buntin, owner of A Cake to Remember in Richmond, Va. Classic but basic offerings are getting supplanted by stacks of sweets that remind couples of their heritage (red velvet, Italian cream), their childhood (funfetti, bubblegum), the season (spiced pumpkin, caramel apple), or their foodie favorites (salted caramel, chili chocolate).
Indeed, Carla Reich, owner of Issaquah, Wash.-based Honey Crumb Cake Studio, has found that couples are gravitating toward more decadent, luscious flavors that are evocative of fine desserts. Popular picks on her menu include Caramel Toffee Fudge (dark chocolate cake with chocolate truffle cream, caramel sauce, and English toffee bits) and Coconut Passion, a sponge cake with coconut cream, coconut Swiss meringue buttercream, and a passion fruit reduction.
While couples certainly are getting more open-minded about variety and not-just-vanilla flavors, Buntin would still like to see them try more unexpected tastes like chocolate Guinness cake with beer buttercream or unusual fruit fillings like pomegranate and mango. Reich would similarly love pairs to embrace exotic fruits, such as dragon fruit or even durian. “I found a recipe for cactus pear gelée the other day that I'd love to use as a cake filling!” she says. Daring combinations she already has on her menu include guava cake with pink peppercorn and raspberry buttercream, or cinnamon-vanilla cake with Mexican hot chocolate buttercream. Reich says, “My aim is really for guests to put their fork into a slice of wedding cake and to be shocked that it’s so tasty.”
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