Expert Cake Taste Test
Our panel breaks down five cake flavors to help you decide which one works best for you
Wedding cakes today run the gamut from traditional treats to over-the-top works of art. While we like admiring all varieties, sometimes we forget the reason why we all love cake—the taste! Here we’ve compiled a panel of experts to taste five different cake flavors provided by Nicole Friday, food writer and caterer for The Cupcake Craze. The panelists include Brides.com executive editor Amy Elliott, Lauren Salkeld, associate editor at food site Epicurious.com and Allison Braley, director of public relations at Conde Nast Digital and bride-to-be who is marrying this March.
Read what they have to say about pairing the flavors with dinner menus, how they match up to your party based on your wedding's season and their all-over crowd appeal.
Flavor: Lemon Meringue
Amy Elliott, Brides.com: If vanilla is "play it safe" and chocolate is "push the envelope," a lemon flavored dessert it somewhere in between: Lovers of plain white vanilla cake can easily switch gears in favor of lemon pound cake or its equivalent, while chocolate lovers won't be quite as bummed as they would be upon discovering that the cake is vanilla.
Lauren Salkeld, Epicurious.com: I think lemon would please the most guests, plus, lemon is such a light, bright flavor that it makes for a nice finish to just about any meal (and is great after heavy meals). Still, lemon meringue pie seems very American to me so I would probably try this with a Southern or Classic American menu. Lemon works year round and can be served with fresh berries. The only problem with this particular combo is that meringue adds a lot of sweetness and really sweet things are hard to pair with food and wine.
Allison Braley, Real Bride: The meringue icing was spot on and really different from what you’d expect on a wedding cake—crisp, clean, and refreshing. The perfect end to a filling, multi-course meal when the last thing you want is a heavy, rich cake. The meringue icing is totally different, too, which I love. This is my pick! It definitely goes with my winter-turning-into-spring vibe.
Brides.com: Say what you will about coconut (it is certainly very controversial and polarizing in terms of mass appeal) but it is so pretty on a wedding cake—it looks like fallen snowflakes or scattered white petals. It's a very affordable "decoration" compared to sugar flowers, too. I'm not sure why, but the flavor feels very "daytime" wedding to me, maybe because coconut flakes lend themselves so well to simple, homemade-looking confections. Some wedding cakes, both their decorations and flavor combinations, can be, as a Project Runway judge might say, a bit "overdesigned." Coconut, on the other hand, is just very less-is-more in terms of looks and its flavor—it doesn't pair very well with anything but pineapple, to my knowledge.