There are many different kinds of wedding cakes that this is often the first question I ask when consulting brides. It also seems to be the most puzzling question to answer. The responses I’ve had are many and varied and seldom give an answer at all. Some of the most common are “my fiancé doesn’t like fruit cake”, “we only eat chocolate cake”, “I don’t really care, I don’t eat cake, I’m not really bothered about a cake but my Mum says I must have one”, and possibly the most common one of all, “the two bottom tiers must be sponge and top one must be fruit because my Dad only eats fruit cake."
The traditional choice is, without a doubt, rich fruit cake. Of all the different kinds of wedding cakes, this is the cake most synonymous with weddings (and Christmas). This type of cake needs to be made a minimum of three months in advance which gives plenty of time for the cake to mature. From a decorating point of view, it provides the best base for fondant icing as the cake is first covered in a layer of marzipan which gives a firm, smooth base on which to work. It can also can be decorated slowly as the cake, rather than losing freshness, improves with age. With traditional fruit cake, it really is a case of a little goes a long way as it cuts easily in to finger size portions.
Having said all that, if you don’t like fruit cake, your next best option is sponge and the flavours on offer here are only as limited as your imagination. Chocolate, Red Velvet, Carrot, etc. with a choice of fillings of ganache, cream cheese or Italian meringue butter cream (which can also be flavoured with whatever takes your fancy). Each tier a different flavour is quite a popular thing these days along with the top tier being fruit.
I want to mention a couple of things about logistics. The foundation for anything must be firm if you want it to hold up, so my advice would be to have your fruit cake at the bottom. I hear all the groans, but the truth is that a top tier of rich fruit over two or three sponge tiers is just too risky and I have heard of the odd disaster. One other point I want to make is this: Another popular request is mousse cake of one type or another. This entails a thick layer of ‘mousse’ or similar filling which makes for an unstable cake and certainly not a very good base on which to layer fondant.
Over the last 30 years I’ve made several tiered sponge cakes along with a separate small fruit cake and each time I’ve heard “the fruit cake went so fast we wish we’d had a larger one.” If you’re having children at your reception it’s nice to have a top up of cake pops too, it makes your cake go further and a child will happily choose a cake pop over anything else.
There are so many different kinds of wedding cakes that your final choice should be the flavour that you fancy most! Just keep in mind the practicality of transporting the cake, and ensuring that your cake must remain standing by the time you cut it. If you have any questions and queries regarding the creation and building of your wedding cake, be sure to contact me at your next opportunity.