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Groom’s cakes, our new favorite cake show, and other fun stuff!

September 21, 2010

Hello all!

Our striped bass groom’s cake turned out fabulously and we had so much fun doing it!  (See the result below.)  Meghan just finished working on another secret project that we’ll reveal after the coming weekend (oh, the mystery!), and we’re also in the process of planning another groom’s cake for October and preparing for our very first tasting for yet another in November!  This concept of groom’s cakes is such a big trend now, we thought we’d take a moment to explain it.

This groom's cake was covered in fondant and hand-painted. It sat upon an actual wooden cutting board. Inside was chocolate devil's food cake with chocolate mousse filling.

Did you know that the tradition of a groom’s cake dates back hundreds of years?  But wait…we’re getting ahead of ourselves!  First of all, cake itself has been around since ancient times.  According to the food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. The Oxford English Dictionary (1) traces the English word cake back s far as the 13th century. It comes from the root word ‘kaka’, an Old Norse word.  The forefather to modern cakes – round with icing – is traced to the 17th century, when supplies were more readily in demand, especially refined sugar. (2)

“It was not until the middle of the 19th century that cake as we know it today (made with extra refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast) arrived on the scene. The Cassell’s New Universal Cookery Book [London, 1894] contains a recipe for layer cake, American (p. 1031). Butter-cream frostings (using butter, cream, confectioners [powdered] sugar and flavorings) began replacing traditional boiled icings in first few decades 20th century. In France, Antonin Careme [1784-1833] is considered THE premier historic chef of the modern pastry/cake world. You will find references to him in French culinary history books.” (3)

So what about the groom’s cake, you ask?  Well, according to food historians, this tradition was prevalent in the southern part of the United States, possibly as far back as the 19th century.  (4)  Apparently, a dark cake was made for the groom to share with the bridesmaids along with a glass of wine before going to the church (you had me at glass of wine!) and so the tradition has persisted.  Today, the groom’s cake is more of a tribute to the groom, designed to represent his interests or hobbies.  Shows such as the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” and the We Network’s “Amazing Wedding Cakes” features such confections.

Speaking of “Amazing Wedding Cakes”…have you seen this show?  It’s, well, amazing.  It’s our new favorite, and with good reason.  Now that we are exploding on the wedding scene, making so many groom’s cakes and with the possibility of wedding cakes in the very near future, we are watching avidly for ideas for designs as well as consultations with potential clients.

The show (airing Sunday nights at 10pm EST on the We Network) features the realities of making wedding cakes and related confections, following cake “stars” such as the Cake Girls (a Chicago based bakery owned by sisters Brenda and Mary Maher that suffered a devastating fire four months ago and is still undergoing reconstruction), Lauri Ditunno of “Cake Alchemy” in NYC, and Christopher Russom, owner of Christopher Garren’s Cake in Orange County, CA.  The new season (and the show’s third) began on August 29th.  Be sure to check it out!

Finally, we are excited to announce that we have expanded our offerings to cookie favors!  We recently tested our cookie making skills on our friend, Gina, for her daughter’s 5th birthday party, with great success.  Cookies are definitely more time consuming (you need to chill the dough often so it doesn’t spread while baking, this distorting the design) but it’s so much fun!  Gina was thrilled with the result and we are hopeful to offer these as a fun alternative to cakes in the near future.

These cookies favors were for a little girl's fifth birthday. They were sugar cookies covered in fondant.

Well, that’s about it!  Stay tuned for more fun cake facts, photos, and recipes in the near future!

Happy baking!

Christina and Meghan

(1) http://www.oed.com/

(2)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar

(3) http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html

(4) http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcakes.html

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