Marie Antoinette got that one right. What is a party without cake? Heck, what is life without cake? I gave my ninong a greeting card once, and it read: "Life is short. Eat dessert first." Such has been my motto ever since. I always save room for dessert, and look forward to pairing it with my coffee. With that said, I intend to make sure that my guests are served sweets fit for royalty.

I earlier blogged about potential wedding expense traps, and I think that the wedding cake is one of them. Gone are the days when the cake simply facilitated the symbolic first task that bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife: cutting the cake. Our generation's obsession with documentation (as a friend put it: "Pics or it didn't happen!") and individuality has thrust wedding cakes center stage as a separate wedding decor. I say it is a potential trap because it is easy to join what I call the "supercake" bandwagon without really understanding what you want your cake to do for you and your guests. A "supercake" is one that has more non-edible portions that edible ones, is almost as tall as your flower girl, and costs as much as said flower girl's tuition for one quarter (or more!).

Fondant cakes seem to be the in thing these days. Fondant actually refers to the pliable icing made of sugar and other ingredients. The icing, which covers the cake like a smooth blanket, can also be shaped into beautiful works or art that are unconstrained by limitations of consistency and shape of ordinary soft icing on sponge cakes. Fondant cakes are also popular because they can reach great heights, literally. However, my experience with fondant cakes had always left me wishing for more, either in terms of taste or consistency. The edible portion of most multi-tiered cakes is surprisingly small compared to the entire size of the cake.

This is really why I want to stick to the traditional butter cream cakes that come in normal sizes. I plan to have a slightly bigger main cake for cutting and photo purposes, and either an army of small cupcakes to be distributed to each guest or several regular-sized cakes for cutting and serving.

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Estrel's caramel cake is the first in my list. For the past several years, my birthday cake has always been from Estrel's. I absolutely love their caramel cake with butter flowers! Their not-too-sweet sponge cake brings the perfect balance to the custard-caramel filling in between. The experience is completed by the slightly salty creamy butter icing and butter flowers on top. Their cakes are always freshly baked and must be consumed immediately. It actually gives me the perfect excuse to wolf down several slices in one sitting.

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Second in my list is The Chocolate Kiss' Devil's Food Cake. This cake and I have serious history as it has accompanied me through several highs and lows during college and law school. It is comfort food at its finest.

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I love the white, shiny marshmallow icing that envelopes the entire cake. The soft chocolate sponge cake inside is familiar, but not boring. I intend to decorate it with fresh flowers to give it a little pop of color like so:

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Third on my list is the Red Velvet. For me, this cake is all about romance because of its bright red and white color. The cream cheese frosting is always a hit because of its slightly salty taste that pairs well with the white chocolate cake. Red Velvet is also the type of cake that is best eaten in small portions. It is actually ideal for guests on a diet because just a small piece easily satisfies. My favorite Red Velvet comes from--believe it or not--Starbucks. I was told by a little birdie that Starbucks sources it from a bakeshop in Pasig, but I have yet to confirm that information. In any event, it's number three on my list and I hope to be able to find it soon.

Desserts always bring a smile to any guest's face. The fact that desserts these days are both tasty and beautiful to look at just goes to show that we have really gone a long way. I want a cake that my guests and I could actually eat. I don't want a cake that was too pretty to eat, or totally unappetizing after it had been sliced and served. I also want a cake that costs like a cake. Finally, I want a cake that tastes better than it looks. I think I have found them in my top three cakes, and such makes it so much harder to choose among them. Who knows? With a little encouragement, I might just get all three.

--Tere

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