fifty shades of flavor

everyone, ok, lots of people, are all in a tizzy about e. l. james' latest release in the fsog series. and while it may conjure up images of silk ties and ropes for some, it's got me thinking about cake - most specifically vanilla cake, you know, the staple of all wedding cakes, otherwise known as oh so boring. i'm not knocking vanilla. it's got its place in the world. and really good vanilla, from madagascar, or mexico, takes me straight to my happy place, mmmm, so good in coffee, and hot chocolate, and marshmallows. i digress. i'd like to expand your horizons and make things a bit spicier!

when it comes to wedding cake, most brides think about the outside. they want a cake that reflects the feel and theme of their big day, and while concerned that it taste as good as it looks, they're reluctant to push the envelope when it comes to flavor. the hesitation to try new things comes from a fear that guests won't like what they've chosen, so most play it safe, and choose vanilla. believe me when i say, your guests are ready for something different. you've chosen your food menu with careful thought as to what will tantalize their tastebuds, so do the same with dessert!

i'm here to introduce you to the different levels, shades if you will, of flavor. believe me, your guests will thank you for it!

level 1 -

this is the realm where no safe word is necessary, where you find the most common cake flavors - vanilla, almond, & lemon. choose these options if you want to keep things mild and mellow. these cakes pair well with a basic buttercream, or fruit favorite like strawberry or raspberry.

vanilla_cake.jpg
photo credit: inije photo

level 2 -

you like a little adventure, and will still choose a crowd favorite, but are willing to push the envelope a bit. chocolate & red velvet would fall under this category, and would pair well with traditional options like cream cheese icing.

red_velvet.jpg

level 3 -

you're a little naughty, aren't you? a little spice, is definitely nice! cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg can turn up the heat! banana, strawberry or carrot cake are tasty choices, and a little liqueur, like kahlua, would definitely hit the spot. you might even branch out beyond one big wedding cake, and choose miniature desserts as well.

JAN_3280.jpg
photo credit: julie anne wedding photography

level 4 -

oh behave! or not! no holds barred on this level. you like it rich and decadent. a little salt with your sweet, and savory with your heat. this is your level if the idea of salted caramel bacon buttercream makes you hot, or basil thyme lemon curd gets you bothered. experimentation is the name of the game!

salted_caramel.jpg
photo credit: inije photo

there is no judgement in this kitchen. different strokes for different folks. let your cake maker know your hard limits. s/he might push your boundaries a bit, but use your safe word, sugar, if it gets to be too much. at the end of the day, if you love it, chances are your guests will too! don't be afraid to step into something new. you just may come back for more!