indulgence

Photo provided CELEBRATION CENTERPIECE: Wedding cakes, like this one created by Emily Smith at Indulgence Bakery, are becomin more colorful and creative.

It’s hip to be square.

At least, for wedding cakes.

Summer has long been the busy season for weddings and with the arrival of warmer weather has come the latest trends for couples who are celebrating their special day.

The economy has made a big impact on what styles and types of wedding cakes — or wedding cake replacements — will be served at weddings, especially with some couples cutting back on expenditures.

“In these economical times, a lot of things have been toned down,” said Tarita Brown, owner of The Cake Lady, 830 E. Markland Ave. “A lot of people don’t have the money to do it up. I still have clients who can order a wedding cake for 300 people, but what keeps people coming back is, ‘Is it good?’ and ‘Did I get the best price?’ That’s what I do best.”

Despite the economy, summer wedding guests can still expect to see a variety of new trends in wedding cakes, said Anja Winikka, editor of www.the knot.com.

Depending upon how elaborate the wedding cake, couples can expect to pay $1.50 to $20 for each slice, said Winikka.

To combat those costs and save money, Winikka said couples are starting a trend of “buying a smaller cake that they can afford and then buying sheet cakes of the same flavor and serving those to guests.

“You don’t tell [the guests] and they won’t know the difference because both cakes have the same flavors. In a way, the couple gets to have their cake and really eat two.”

Started in 1996, wwwthe knot.com is an Internet one-stop website for wedding planning. In an average month, the site is viewed by about 3.2 million engaged visitors who want to know what’s in for weddings.

“A couple of years ago, it was all about cupcakes, but it is less about cupcakes now. The main thing we are seeing are weddings with an entire look: Everything from the cake stand to table cloths are reflective in the wedding,” said Winikka. “We’ve seen cakes with pine cones and tree trunks to bring in an earthly element.”

Although Winikka said current cake trends are getting away from cupcakes, it’s still all about cupcakes to The Cake Lady.

“I am seeing more cupcake weddings,” said Brown, adding the average cost of a wedding cake in Kokomo is around $2.30 per slice. “[Cupcakes are] cheaper than buying a whole cake. For a cupcake wedding, if you buy one or 101, it’s .75 a cupcake. They can get a top cake with it to have for their one-year anniversary. With a cupcake wedding, you save additional money because you don’t have to purchase forks and plates. It makes it more economical for the couple.”

While white wedding cakes used to be all the rage, local bakeries are seeing an increase in orders for colorful cakes.

While planning her spring wedding, Haley Sorrell, 25, frequently sought wedding-cake ideas and consulted Winikka’s website. There, she found an image of a four-tier cake and took the idea to Emily Smith, owner of Indulgence Bakery, 117 W. Defenbaugh St.

What Sorrell wanted was a sage-green, fondant wedding cake. Fondant is more expensive and gives a cake a smooth porcelain-like look.

Smith completed the cake’s look by adding black dots of icing and using white ribbons to finish the cake.

“We had a budget for the cake and we heard [Smith] was creative and could do a good job,” said Sorrell, adding she invited 200 to her wedding and was trying to keep the cake’s cost down to $4 a serving.

“We looked around town at other bakeries, but she was so easy going and easy to work with. She knew exactly what I wanted after I told her. She really went out of her way on our cake.”

Smith, who used to work at the Pastry Diva in Greentown, opened her own shop last year right down the street from Washington Elementary, where the 25-year-old once attended school. Her reputation for quality cakes is already growing.

“Birthday cakes. Wedding cakes. Any type of cakes,” said Smith, who made the Miami County, “Extreme Makeover” Cowan-Brown family a replica of their home as a cake.

“I don’t really have a favorite type of cake, but I enjoy making wedding cakes. You get to be a part of someone’s special day and a part of their wedding. That’s special.”

While the cake Smith made for Sorrell was a break from traditional styles, many area bakeries are seeing more requests for “unusual stuff,” said Jeanna Lowry.

Owner of Create A Cake, 2032 S. Elizabeth St., Lowry said with her wedding cakes, it is hip to be square.

“Instead of the traditional round cake, we are seeing square cakes and stacked cakes. But I’d have to say square cakes are number one,” said Lowry. “There have also been some nice designs, and fresh flowers instead of icing flowers, but that’s all right with me.”

The newest trends for bold, bright cakes allow bakers to use their creativity to help them make a cake that’s both a dessert and a centerpiece for a couple’s celebration.

“What stands out so far is color,” said Lowry. “We had a royal blue cake with white stars shooting out of it. That was very cool. You see some unusual stuff and it is fun in a way.”

• K.O. Jackson is the Kokomo Tribune’s business writer. He can be reached at 765-854-6739 or via e-mail kirven.jackson@kokomotribune.com

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