When you hear the words ‘holiday’ and ‘wedding cakes’ in one sentence, you might picture Santa’s sleigh flying down three tiers of white frosted snow. Or perhaps you imagine tons of red and green icing, looping around the edges of your cake. Maybe you’re thinking the cake has to be — shudder! — a fruitcake. Chances are, what you’re picturing is more garish, less glam, and has a stressed-out bride reaching for the spiked egg nog.
Don’t fret, winter brides: A winter wedding cake can actually be one of the most beautifully designed desserts ever.
Wedding cakes serve as the ultimate photo op for not only the bride and groom, but for guests, too. If you’re embracing a seasonal theme, the cake can be the event’s show-stopper. Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro has been creating custom wedding cakes for more than 30 years at his family’s Hoboken institution, Carlo’s Bakery. And Valastro thinks that winter wedding cakes can be some of the most special of the year.
“I think we associate the holidays with comfort food, bundling up, spending time with those we love,” he said. “The overall look associated with that time of year captures that.” For Valastro, capturing all the elements of the season isn’t challenging — but rather, it’s inspiring.
“I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to cake,” he said. “That’s why I love doing what I do.”
The one thing he always keeps in mind is to respect the host’s wishes, no matter what they’re requesting. “I never try to change someone’s mind when they come in with an idea for a cake. I’m just here to make sure they have a great-looking, great-tasting cake. Looks good, tastes good – that’s my motto around the bakery. I will guide them in the right direction to accomplish that.”
We sat down with Valastro to ask for his expert advice on designing and creating a winter wedding cake — and to find out exactly which trends work.
Best of NJ: What are some trends you are seeing or foresee in winter/holiday wedding cakes? For example, is ice blue in — thanks to Frozen — and red out?
Buddy Valastro: There are no rules when it comes to themed cakes. Last year, I saw a lot of simplicity and subtle nods to the season. I don’t know what we’re in store for at the bakery this year.
Best of NJ: How can a bride incorporate flowers on her holiday cake since floral schemes are more limited in winter?
Valastro: There are quite a bit of flowers that you can use come winter, but I think some of the more common ones I see are poinsettias, mistletoe, and winterberry.
Best of NJ: Is it more common, or is there a growing trend, to feature several one-tiered cakes in different flavors instead of a larger, multi-tiered cake?
Valastro: I think it’s definitely common to have multi-tiered cakes where each one is a different flavor. That’s the norm these days.
Best of NJ: If someone wanted an all-white cake for a winter wedding — which is a trend that we are seeing — what would you suggest to elevate it to another level? Gold accents, metallics, et cetera?
Valastro: It depends on how set they are on having it being as white as possible. Accents, flowers, and ribbons are ways you can really make a cake pop, but if the desire is to keep it all white, I’d recommend some detailed old-school piping.
Best of NJ: Metallics on a cake: Yay or nay on this trend?
Best of NJ: Greenery in a bouquet is popular for winter weddings. Thoughts on incorporating greenery in a cake?
Valastro: I love the look of incorporating that into a cake. It turns an eye-catching cake into a real-life centerpiece.
Best of NJ: We know if a bride wants bling, you will deliver bling, but what are your thoughts on going wild with the trend? Diamonds and rhinestones on a cake: Yay or nay?
Valastro: Sometimes this can be just exactly what a cake needs to make it pop.
Best of NJ: Naked wedding cakes are getting lots of buzz. No icing, no fondant, just the insides of a cake on display. What do you think of this trend?
Valastro: We’ve made these here at the bakery for quite a while now and I think it can look really beautiful if done right. There’s a difference between a well-done, timeless naked cake that’s accented just right and a cake that just looks unfinished.
Best of NJ: What are the points you always share with a couple when deciding on a cake? Your most important tip?
Valastro: Make sure you have enough!