THE STAR OF THE TLC HIT SHOW “CAKE BOSS,” BUDDY VALASTRO, SAID HE LIKES TO TELL A STORY WHEN MAKING A CAKE, AND THE INVITATIONS, VENUE, DRESS AND WEDDING COLORS TELL HIM A LOT ABOUT A BRIDE.
words & photography by Stacey L. Evans
For batter or for worse
As with the wedding planner, you want your relationship with your cake maker to be a match made in heaven.
“Things are not always going to be perfect,” Valastro said. “But if you have a relationship with the baker, you will know the person is reliable and will stand behind their work.”
Valastro said the secret to his success is honesty and making each bride feel special.
“If you leave a consultation from a baker and you feel that way, that’s your baker,” he said. Of course, also be aware if the place is clean, if the business has a solid reputation, if they deliver the cake in a car or box truck with refrigeration. Pay attention also to what questions they ask you — it may help determine if they are trustworthy and committed to making your day special.
For example, if you want cannoli cream filling and the baker doesn’t mention that cannoli cream isn’t going to taste good after sitting out for six or eight hours, then that person is either unknowledgeable or not being forthcoming, Valastro said.
“Also, if the baker doesn’t ask to see your dress, etc. they aren’t really trying to customize it for you. If they throw you a book and say pick a cake…maybe you should move on,” Valastro said.
Cake or dessert bar?
“Call me old fashioned, but I like having a wedding cake,” Valastro said. “It’s nice to have that picture of your wedding cake to look back at…there are certain things you look back on and laugh at — the tuxedos, the dress, cake style — and you can see the evolution of trends. I think it’s something that you will always want to have.”
If you really want to please the masses, consider a compromise: a smaller wedding cake along with a dessert bar.
Til Death by Chocolate do us part
You can’t go wrong with vanilla and chocolate with chocolate fudge.
“It’s a crowd pleaser, it tastes good at room temperature, and it holds up for decorating,” said Valastro.
Seasonal cakes are also big hits, he said. Indulge in decadent chocolate or red velvet in the winter; imagine autumn-kissed pumpkin, apple or carrot flavors in the fall. For spring or summer, go with a light and fruity or zesty flavor, like French cream and fresh strawberries or lemon and raspberry.
But don’t try to “reinvent the wheel” with complex flavors, said Valastro. Simplicity is usually the best bet, so stick with the classics.
“There’s no such thing as a filling going out of style,” he said.
How important is a groom’s cake?
Valastro said they are always a hit. It’s a great way to make a cool tribute to your guy. Make it over the top and fun, he said.
What does the Cake Boss say about smashing the cake on each other’s face?
“It depends on how playful and fun your relationship is. They say it’s good luck. I think whoever goes first sets the tone. If you make a big sloppy mess, there is going to be retaliation.”
How about saving two slices to eat on your one-year anniversary?
“I don’t know if I would eat anything a year old,” said Valastro. “But so many people do it and tell me it was amazing.”
Will it taste the same? Probably not, he said. Instead he recommends saving a portion in the freezer to enjoy after the honeymoon. Then on your anniversary go back to the baker for a small top tier cake to relive the memory.