Buttercream or fondant? Swiss meringue or chocolate ganache? Vanilla cake or devils-food? Mascarpone or lemon curd? Two tiers or five? Gum-paste flowers or marzipan fruit? Fresh berries or chopped walnuts?
This is just the beginning of a long list of questions to answer when designing your wedding cake. And if you’re like us, you’ll want it all—and want to try it all! Before you know it, your engaged head will be ready to explode with all of the sweet options you have. Hey, the cake was supposed to be the fun part, right? How did this suddenly get so complicated and how will you ever decide?
The first step in designing your cake is to select your baker. Today, many wedding venues in New Jersey now include a cake in your contract—some with a choice of bakers, some not. At other venues, you’re on your own to find your own cake designer. (If you need suggestions, click here!)
Here, we spoke with Olga Dobroc, supervisor of the Cake Lounge at Palermo’s Bakery in Little Ferry, in addition to five retail locations in Ridgefield Park, Union City, Fair Lawn, River Vale and Wyckoff. Palermo’s supplies wedding cakes to more than 250 venues in the state—that’s a lot of cake! And if it exists in the world of cakes, Palermo’s has created it! Here, Dobroc helps answer questions you’re likely to have regarding the entire cake-designing process and what you’d encounter at a cake tasting at Palermo’s.
- Can I just walk in for a tasting? While you can sample what a bakery has to offer at its retail location, you should always call to make an appointment for a wedding-cake tasting. This way, a cake consultant will schedule the proper amount of time and you’ll get their undivided attention. Be sure to call well in advance of your wedding. Palermo’s can book up months in advance and you don’t want to cut it too close.
- How many people can I bring? Be sure to ask your baker in advance. Palermo’s kindly asks their brides and grooms to limit their party to four (including themselves) in order to create the most seamless but still productive appointment for the couple. “We want you to have fun, but we also want you to get what you love without feeling pressured by too many opinions,” Dubroc advises.
- What happens at the tasting? You’ll discuss both the style and flavor of the cake you envision on your special day with a cake consultant who will walk you through all of your options and offer you cake samples. “We cover everything from the frosting type, to what style or design you envision, to the flavors that won your heart,” Dobroc says. “We offer an array of both complimentary and premium fillings during our appointment. There is something for everyone—the light and airy mousses, decadent fillings like fudge and cannoli studded with chocolate chips, and our fun options like Rosé All the Way (rosé-champagne-infused cake) and Funfetti Bomb.
- What are some favorite flavors? “I have converted a lot of my brides to loving carrot cake, even when they never have before. It is much lighter than a traditional carrot cake, and has a delicious spiced cream cheese,” Dubroc adds. “Our customers also love the French cream and raspberry marmalade with vanilla sponge. For the chocolate lovers, the classic fudge with chocolate cake is the winner.”
- What are the popular designs that brides are adding to the outside? “Lace, height and flowers are certainly the most popular design features among our brides’ design elements,” says Dubroc.
- What type of unique cakes have you created? “We have done an elephant carrying the married couple in their wedding outfits, an upside-down chandelier cake and a 15-tier beauty with custom hollowed-out tiers with a “floating” crystal castle,” she says.
- How is the Cake Lounge a unique experience? “We host cake-tasting appointments here and then flip to a restaurant on specific days,” Dubroc says. “The experience of the tasting is very unique, and we have a full bar available after 11 a.m. in case you want to celebrate your wedding-cake selection with a little bubbly.” The Cake Lounge can also accommodate between 80 and 100 guests for special events including engagement parties, bridal showers, fun bachelorette parties with baking lessons, and even small weddings.
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