Gotta Be Chocolate
Choosing the Wedding Cake
This week we’re making a big commitment. We are going to choose our cake.
Oh, how I’ve dreamed of this day. The day we go around to all the bakeries in town, taste cake after cake, and choose the most delicious of all. I’m not particularly concerned about how this cake is going to look. I care about how it is going to taste. I have been to approximately seven hundred weddings where the cake includes tiered stands, latticework icing, fake greenery, a waterfall, and an entire garden of flowers, yet the actual cake tastes like sawdust.
Throughout the wedding planning process I have purposefully included Gary in all decisions, even when it was obvious he didn’t have an opinion, in the name of planning our wedding together. After all, this isn’t just about me. But when it comes to the cake, I have put my foot down. It will be chocolate. I loooooooove chocolate cake and am completely opposed to white cake, carrot cake, fruit-filled layer cake, or any other kind of cake. I am, and always have been, a chocolate kind of girl. However, I am willing to be flexible on the frosting. I can go with either cream-cheese or whipped-cream.
It’s Saturday morning and Gary and I head over to Ronnie’s Bakes & Cakes, one of the longest-running bakeries in town. They must have good cake if they’ve been in business so long, right? While we wait for a break in the Saturday morning donut traffic to catch the attention of a cashier, we flip through the shop’s portfolio album of wedding cakes. Most of the cakes are tiered rounds with floral accents and a standard bride-and-groom topper. Nothing spectacular, but as I said, I care more about the flavor than the appearance.
We finally get the attention of a young woman whose frosting-smeared apron is embroidered with the name Janice. She’s more than happy to take our name and number, but the wedding cake consultant only works on weekdays. Gary shrugs and orders a donut, but I am disappointed. I was so looking forward to having cake for breakfast today. When do you ever get to eat cake for breakfast? And what kind of bakery doesn’t have wedding cake tastings on a Saturday?
It occurs to me that perhaps we should have called ahead for an appointment. I suddenly recall reading this somewhere in a bridal magazine. But I must have thought it only applied to highbrow cake shops in the big cities. Apparently, that’s not the case. We visit two other bakeries and are told the same thing – cake consultant only available on weekdays. I am starving, my blood sugar is plummeting, and I’m getting frustrated. This was supposed to be one of the most fun parts of the entire wedding planning process!
My phone rings and it’s my mom, calling to see if we’ve found our dream cake yet. I tell her the saga of the cakeless morning and she says, “Why don’t you try that new grocery store on the east side of town? I had their cake at a party and it was excellent.” I roll my eyes and say we’ll check it out, although the cake snob in me hadn’t even considered a grocery store bakery. But at this point I am desperate for even one bite of rich, gooey chocolate cake. Gary and I buzz over to the store.
Well, well. I am pleasantly surprised. The bakery is light, open, and stocked with beautifully displayed baked goods of all types. And the smell is my own personal version of heaven. A cheerful, smiling woman greets us and asks how she can help. We explain that we’re here for a wedding cake and she quickly steps back into the hairnet zone to put together a plate of generously-sized cake samples for us. Ha! I’m going to get some cake after all!
And what cake it is. I’m so hungry that I try all the flavors (even the carrot), saving the chocolate for last. Each bite is tender, moist, and free of that horrible, commercial-bakery, cheap-shortening, artificial-flavoring taste I had feared. When I finally sample the chocolate, I have to stop myself from taking Gary’s piece too. The flavor is rich and complex; the frosting is light, smooth and not too sweet. It’s absolutely delicious – and exactly what I had always wanted for my wedding.
Gary smiles at me and hands me a napkin. I must look like a four-year-old who got into the birthday cake while mommy’s back was turned, and I don’t care. We quickly select a design and fill out the order form. As we leave I smile at all the other shoppers in the store. I hope they all have a chance to visit the bakery.