Cakes Q&A

Our cake is so gorgeous, I want the table it's on to be just as pretty. Any ideas?

First, think location. Situate the table in a photogenic spot--under an archway, or in front of a picture window or French doors. Next, choose a cloth that coordinates with the other linens (think pastel stripes if the guest tables are awash in soft, solid colors). Other surface treatments include showering the table with colorful paper confetti, flower petals, or even shells. You could also present the cake on a distinctive platter or pedestal, or use a paper round with a deckled edge--ask a talented friend to paint on your initials and wedding date. Old family wedding photographs placed around the cake will lend a sentimental touch. (Just make sure to assign someone to round up the photos at night's end.)--Donna Christiano

My fiance? and I don't want a traditional wedding cake. What are some creative alternatives?

Instead of placing round cake layers directly on top of each other or separating them with pillars, try using square or triangular cakes. Or play around with the layering, stacking them slightly askew. To spice things up some more, alternate each layer with a different flavor (one carrot cake, the other chocolate). Rather than decorating the cake with either fresh or sugared flowers, what about using your favorite fruit or candy? Talk to your baker about your frosting, too. Bakers can do just about anything you want with icing, including replicating a photo of you and your fianc351?. Or, go nuts with your cake topper. If you and your fianc351? share the same alma mater, for example, put your school's insignia on top of the cake. Another popular alternative is the cupcake wedding cake. Stack them like a big wedding cake or construct several funky designs on top of the dessert table. If you decide you don't want to get too crazy with the main attraction, then channel your creative juices through the groom's cake instead. Who says stacked Rice Krispie Treats and S'mores aren't cake-worthy? Whatever you decide, your options are truly unlimited when you choose to take a hike from the traditional cake walk.

Do we have to have a groom's cake? We weren't planning on it.

Absolutely not. The groom's cake (which is often a funkier-flavored, hobby-themed ode to your new hubby) started as a Southern tradition, but in recent years it has spread nationwide. But just like almost every other tradition, it's entirely optional. If you and your family are having a tug-of-war about the cake, however (chocolate versus vanilla, carrot versus custard), the groom's cake can be a simple way to satisfy those alternate cravings without upsetting the wedding-cake cart.


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