Besides each other, the bride and groom loved seafood. Could their wedding cake reflect the same? Of course, said Stephanie Squires, who made a cake trimmed with fondant oyster shells, including two on top depicting the betrothed — one in a top hat, the other wearing pearls.
Another couple asked that their pets be portrayed on their cake. So Squires, 27, who owns All in the Mix Bakeshop in Annapolis, placed several dog figurines at its base.
“Then I crumbled a bit of icing and made two small holes, like they’d each taken a bite,” she said.
The recipe for wedding cakes is changing, say area pastry chefs‚ who are increasingly asked to add a pinch of whimsy and a dash of unconventionality. While the long-standing classic is still in vogue — a dignified, multitiered cake of one or two flavors — there’s a growing trend toward more offbeat sweets, from cupcakes to cookies and even wedding pies. Or a combination of same.
“Many people want to keep old traditions alive, so they’ll order a six-inch cake for the bride and groom and mini-cupcakes for their guests,” said Carrie Olish, 41, owner of Blue Crab Cupcakes in Annapolis. “People don’t want to sit and eat an entire piece of cake. With cupcakes, they can walk around, sample different flavors and social distance” — a sensible option, she said, given the times.
Before the pandemic, her staff made 50 dozen mini-cupcakes for one wedding, said Olish, who offers a variety of flavors, from almond raspberry to chocolate fudge. Squires, who herself harvests much of the fruit for her cake fillings, has decorated as many as 600 mini-cupcakes for a single reception. If asked, due to COVID-19, both bake shops will wrap treats individually.
While weddings slowed to a trickle in 2020, business is bouncing back, said Olish, who has received 200 orders this year. Reservations should be made 12 months in advance.
Offering guests a “dessert buffet” has caught on, said Squires.
“I’m seeing a lot more requests for small wedding cakes plus a ‘cookie bar,’ where the venue might provide shot glasses filled with milk,” she said. Others opt for wedding pies, like apple crumb or chocolate silk, especially in the fall.
And while traditional cakes still rule the genre, some display a more lighthearted motif.
“I made one that had chocolate crabs spilling out of an [edible] bushel basket,” said Squires. “Another cake was perfectly white on the front, while the back was green with The Hulk’s hand reaching out past the icing.”