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Big Weekend wedding cakes

The History of the Wedding Cake

By | Contemporary Cake Designs, Wedding Cakes | No Comments

Wedding season is upon us and we are busy, busy, busy making and creating all sorts of unique and delicious cakes to help make your special day perfect! Crafting these wonderful cakes and being up to our elbows in flour and icing has lead us to wonder about where the wedding cake tradition comes from and how it came to be. Believe it or not, looking into it we have traced wedding cake/bread traditions back to Ancient Rome! Check out the history of this modern must-have custom at weddings below, some of the customs we can’t believe!

Our modern version of the wedding cake has been developed from a variety of cultural traditions over the ages. The primary wedding cake tradition began in Ancient Rome where pieces of bread (which were the equivalent of cake back then) were broken above the bride’s head to offer good fortune to the couple.  Following this wedding tradition, in Medieval England the guests would throw cakes made of wheat at the bride as a symbol of fertility. As well as this they would make a pile of cakes stacked as high as possible. After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom would attempt to kiss over the pile without knocking it over, if they were successful they would be guaranteed an affluent life together.

This tradition actually inspired a French pastry chef, who was visiting England, to create the first Croquembouche. This soon became a traditional French wedding cake, although in our present day it is usually positioned as the top tier to the cake foundations.

Wow

One of our Croquembouche designs

The wedding cake tradition then continued to evolve as in the early 1700’s a bakers apprentice fell in love with his employer’s daughter and asked her to marry him. In order to celebrate this proposal and express his love, he made an extravagant cake – clearly he was a romantic type!

Eventually it became traditional for the bride to show acceptance of the proposal by inserting a ring in the

couples portion of the cake. Soon after this cake became known as the “bride’s pie” and was served at most weddings between the 1700’s and the early 19th century. Regardless as to whether or not they wanted to, guests had to have a piece as it was considered to be the upmost disrespect not to eat it. Similar to the contemporary tradition of the flower bouquet, a glass ring would often be hidden within the cake, and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry. Over the years the “bride’s pie” became known as the “bride’s cake” as the dessert was slowly becoming sweeter and no longer took the form of a pie. Eventually the tradition of the glass ring died out and was instead replaced by the throwing of the flower bouquet that we know today! As the pies died out fruit cakes replaced it as they were a sign of fertility and prosperity, which was considered relevant at weddings because all married men and women were expected to want a lot of children.

Furthermore the bride’s cake usually took the form of a simple cake with white icing to symbolize purity and virginity – much like the symbolism surrounding the white dress. By the early 1800’s sugar was becoming more accessible to the general public leading to the increased popularity of the bride’s cake. Meanwhile the extravagance of the cake was a way for families to show their social status as the whiter the icing and the larger the cake, the more wealth that family had. Additionally the icing of wedding cakes took the name of “royal icing” after Queen Victoria used white icing on her own wedding cake.

 

Beautiful

Beautiful

However the contemporary wedding cake that our society knows originated from Prince Leopold’s wedding in 1882. Not only was his cake completely edible which was a new development, but it was also tiered. The first pillars between the tiers appeared a couple of decades after this and were constructed of broomsticks covered in icing. Price Leopold’s cake was the origin of the method we use today as each layer was made separately. Only once the icing had hardened would the layers be stack on top of one another.

Of course, given the size of our modern wedding cakes we also use extra support by inserting dowels in the centre of each layer.

 

Now wedding cakes are known for being a centre piece at the after party and a vital addition to the wedding day. Here at Contemporary Cake Designs we are dedicated to making yours the perfect cake in looks and taste – whether it’s unique to you or takes a more traditional form.Helen and Sam - Top tier classic Victoria Spone - Bottom Tier Beligium Truffle Torte with Chocolate Butter Cream

 
We absolutely love helping you design and create your wedding masterpieces! This time of year has to be one of our upmost favourites as we meet with the couples to personally discuss what they dream about and want for their own wedding cake. Give us a call even just for a consultation and we would be absolutely delighted to help!

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tips: How to make our homemade strawberry jam

By | Contemporary Cake Designs, Top Tips | No Comments

Strawberry Jam has been a mainstay in our cupboards for years now; whether it’s spreading it on two slices of bread to make a sandwich, flavouring our cakes or being the perfect accompaniment to clotted cream in our freshly baked scones, Strawberry Jam is without doubt the national treasure of fruit preserves.

A range of our homemade jams.

A range of our homemade jams.

With the British berry season well under way (started 1st May) we’re just in time to see the strawberries begin to be picked off the leaves in all their vibrant red glory; at least before they all get devoured at this year’s Wimbledon tournament alongside the 28,000kg of cream!

Xavier and I love this time of year because it enables us to create fresh, homemade strawberry jam to fill our wedding cakes and desserts with, making sure we have just enough to preserve over the winter months as well. We’re all about homemade produce here at Contemporary Cake Designs and where possible always try to make use of the best local ingredients right here in our kitchen.

With so few ingredients making strawberry jam couldn’t be simpler, just as long as you’re willing to abide by the rules of food science! So with that being said, we thought we’d give you a helping hand by offering our expertise on how to make this homemade sumptuous summer strawberry jam.

Tip 1 – Try using seasonal produce. Jam will preserve over the winter months so it’s best to make as much as you can during the summer when strawberries are in season. Also check to see if any are damaged and if so, remove from the punnet.

Tip 2 – Use more fruit and less sugar as this will give you a more flavoursome jam and will stop it from crystallising in the jar.

Tip 3 – Slow and steady wins the race with this one. Remember to keep the hob on a low heat so that you don’t burn the sugar. Let it dissolve slowly with the juices of the fruit and reach 103°C

Tip 4 – Strawberries are low in pectin so we advise using sugar making jam, which contains pectin, as this will help form a gel and thicken up your jam.

Tip 5 – Use sterilised jars to ensure your jam is safe from any harmful bacteria.

If strawberries don’t tickle your taste buds then why not pick your own flavour. Raspberries and blackberries are good options and have slightly higher pectin levels, which means you don’t have to use as much sugar making jam.

Follow these rules and making jam will never be easier!

Divine Dessert Tables at Eastington Park

By | Wedding Cakes | One Comment

A while back Xavier and I teamed up with some of our favourite wedding industry friends to help style a Black Swan photo shoot at Eastington Park.

On the menu was a two tier sponge cake alongside a dessert table full of delicious treats and this was the end result;

swan shoot christy blanch photography (455 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (461 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (698 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (451 of 922)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the plates featured a group of indulgent chocolate cake pops, scrumptious vanilla cupcakes topped with icing and moist almond biscuits shaped into dinky dresses.

These tables full of gorgeous goodies are continuing to grow in popularity in 2014 and allow us to get really creative with our designs in the kitchen. Each table is artistically fashioned around a theme or colour palette to perfectly fit each couples individual wedding.

This year they’re expected to take off as brides are increasingly opting for a more relaxing celebration and an alternative to the traditional wedding cake. The best bit about dessert tables is that they give you a little bit of everything and will be bring real elegance to your wedding table.

Thank you to the wonderful Christy Blanch Photography for taking these stunning photos.

Wedding Cake Trends to Watch Out For In 2014

By | Contemporary Cake Designs, Wedding Cakes | No Comments

Like most industries there are trends that come in and out of fashion each year, and this is no different in respect to the wedding trade. 2013 saw wedding cakes head back towards classic, multi-tiered cakes with a vintage design. We also saw the rise of the fascinating ruffled and frilled fondant cakes and the increase in demand for the colour of pink.

So what should I be looking out for in 2014 Bee and Xavier I hear you say? Well, this year we’re seeing simpler designs come through but also we feel others will be trending in 2014 too.

Vintage style wedding cakes once again top the list as a trend for 2014. This is still big news in the wedding cake industry with designs from edible lace cakes to birdcage shaped cakes here to stay. Round cakes are also taking centre stage in 2014 with different tiers, different heights and various finishes on each tier.

Also expect to see wedding cakes go all bare as they strip off their icing and reveal all in 2014. That’s right, expect to see ‘naked’ wedding cakes become more popular in 2014 giving your cake a rustic yet authentic look and decorated with fruits and flowers.

The 'naked' wedding cake.

Our very own ‘naked’ wedding cake.

Ombre or graduated tones of one colour is also set to rise in popularity this year. It’s already a big deal in the cake industry and it’s easy to see why. The gradual colour change is able to transform a cake into something really modern, using everything from pastel colours to more bright and bold statements.

Ombre is set to have a big 2014.

Ombre is set to have a big 2014. Here’s our latest designs.

In terms of flavours trending last year we saw essences such as red velvet, chocolate and vanilla grab the top spots. In 2014 we feel there will be a mix up with our new decadent chocolate cake infused with light mint syrup and layered with a mint chocolate butter cream filling. It’s a great shade and lends itself well to many different themes both in the summer and winter seasons.

Trends are a perception and generalisation of how the industry is shifting as a whole. The main thing to understand is that each individual has their personal taste on what classifies as their perfect wedding cake design and flavour/s. It’s important we value this more than anything else and design cake to meet each individuals needs for their big day.

If you would like to arrange a consultation with us please visit our web site and fill in the online inquiry form http://www.contemporarycakedesigns.com/contact/ at the top of every contact us page or visit our social media pages below.

Twitter: @ContemporaryCD

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