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Colorful Confections
A white wedding doesn’t have to extend all the way to dessert. Consider a cake that has as much color as flavor!
Anna Sachse CTW Features
May 17, 2012

[Credit: White Rose Bakery/Daniel Stark Photography]
(Enlarge photo)

From sea-foam blues to ethereal grays and billowy black tulle, color was all over the glamorous gowns on the fall 2012 bridal runways, almost tempting brides to break the rules, saying: You don’t have to wear white. Likewise, more couples are also questioning whether classic white is right for their wedding cake.

“We’re seeing more and more brides looking for slightly more traditional designs but adding a modern touch by using a contrasting color for the accents instead of the same old white-on-white,” says Kevin Kossman, co-owner of Piece of Cake Desserts in Mesa, Ariz. Kossman says that in the recent past, about 15 percent of the cakes his bakery created annually were the cute, brightly hued, topsy-turvy style, but now they only account for around 2 percent. Instead, he says, the theme for 2012 is simple and elegant towers of tiers, but with bold black lace and damask patterns, or subtle color like blush pink and even gray: “Gray has really come on this year; it seems that about 20 percent of the cakes we create have some gray element to them,” Kossman adds.

Another hot option right now is cakes frosted in graduated layers of color, such as cherry red rising to pale pink, or navy to powder blue - this ombré effect is über popular in everything from fashion to haircuts.

Keep It Simple

But if you’d rather have a solid colored cake, Debra Watkins, owner of Portland, Ore.-based White Rose Bakery, advises keeping the design fairly simple so that the color itself serves as the showpiece - think an on-trend chevron pattern, bands around a tier or two, concentric circles and other geometrics. Watkins is particularly a fan of all-black and black-and-white cakes because of their timeless elegance but also because they work well with most accent colors. “Reds, plums, pinks, oranges, yellows … almost anything,” she says. “So, you can have a cake that looks lovely and also coordinates beautifully with your room. A wedding cake is almost as much decoration as it is dessert, and it should make a statement.”

Go Bold - But Not Too Bold

Just keep in mind that opting for bold tones can limit your frosting options. Because color spreads via fat, buttercream in black, purple or other vibrant hues will lead to ghastly grins among your guests. “Colored teeth and tongues may be totally funny at a birthday party,” says Kossman, “but when you’re paying thousands of dollars for pictures, most couples find it less so.”

If you want a color that is anything but pastel, the best choice is fondant, says Watkins. In addition to this icing’s lack of fat, it requires much less colorant to get it dark or bright, which means it also will taste better.

That said, be advised that certain fondant colors can easily fade in the sun. It’s mostly reds, pinks and purples, Watkins says, and since black contains all these colors, it is even worse. Ask that your cake be delivered in a cardboard box that’s taped shut, and keep it inside for your festivities or protected beneath a tent. If your cake is black, Watkins also warns against touching the matte finish, as moist or oily hands will leave fingerprints.