A simple search for “wedding cake” on Pinterest will bring up a never-ending stream of towering, sugar-dusted, flower-covered, tiered sponge cakes. Your immediate reaction will be to pin them all onto your own wedding planning board, but we recommend that you don’t, unless you want your wedding to become a Pinterest cliché.
Over the last few years, Pinterest has determined how weddings are styled and celebrated. This platform started out as a hub of inspiration where we could learn so much from a few minutes of browsing other people’s Pinterest boards, but gradually it has led to everyone dreaming of the same, identical wedding. Brides and bridesmaids everywhere have swapped pumps and heels for trainers, there’s bunting covering every venue, all receptions are in a barn, and all drinks are served in mason jars.
Those stunning, naked wedding cakes, dusted with icing sugar and decorated with flowers, leaves, twigs, fir cones, and berries may look wonderful, but they’re rather impractical, as well as overdone.
The flowers that have been showered all over the cake do look pretty, but there’s far too many of them. And they’re not edible. Why do we want to cover our cake with an inedible decoration? We’re also worried about how precariously all those flowers are balancing on your four-tiered sponge cake: The last thing we want to see is them all fly off as soon as a gust of wind blows over, leaving your cake feeling, well, very exposed.
Our obsession with rose-covered cakes has now become even more extreme as we are turning our cakes into a forest. Branches, leaves, and fir cones are wrapped around each tier, making your cake resemble a fairytale wonderland rather than an edible celebration to enjoy on your wedding day. Not only do these extra decorations mean you could have iced your cake anyway as you can’t actually see the elegant sponge layers through all the flora, but it’s also simply not practical — unless you’re keen to stand around undressing your cake to its bare sponge-layer-bones before you serve it to your guests.
We will never reject beautiful berries gently crushed in between layers of cake, but why are we now putting berries on our wedding cakes? We do love berries eaten with whipped cream and a fluffy sponge cake, but we don’t love berries falling off the cake and onto our white wedding dress when we cut into it.
All of these seemingly understated, natural cake decorations mean that photographing that moment of cutting the cake is going to be astoundingly difficult. This is already one of those wedding photos in which it is impossible to appear happy and relaxed. It’s the first time in your life that you and your partner have cut into something together, so it feels extremely awkward: You’re fighting over who holds the knife, while simultaneously looking at each other adoringly, and smiling into the camera. It’s a stressful time, which will be even more difficult if your cake is covered in fresh flowers, twigs, and leaves. What’s the best approach to take? Do you cut through them? Do you take them off before you cut? Do you spin the cake around, hoping to find a spot that is flower-free? This wouldn’t have been a problem if you’d chosen a simple, frosted, foliage-free cake.
Finally, now you’ve decided not to have a forest-clad, naked cake, but please can you also resist serving your cake on a tree trunk? Since when did serving things on a board that is actually a slice of a tree become desirable? We know you want your wedding to look like a rustic, fairytale party, but let’s put that cake on a beautiful stand or serving platter, and not on a tree trunk, please. This ‘au naturel’ look is just one step too far.