While there are a number of essential elements you need to nail to arrange the perfect wedding day (the white dress, the date everyone can attend, and the perfect location to name a few), but one which guests and couple alike look forward to is the show-stopping wedding cake.
In Britain, the delicious ritual of the wedding cake began centuries ago, in the medieval period when it was made entirely of wheat (tasty!) and was often thrown directly at the blushing bride as a symbol of her fertility. If that doesn’t sound strange enough, a medieval wedding ceremony also involved piling baked goods (scones, biscuits, cake) as high as it could go, and the happy couple would attempt to kiss over the tower created from the treats. If they managed to lock lips and not topple the precariously balanced treats, they were assured a lifetime of love, happiness and wealth. Who wouldn’t want to do that on their big day?
However, in the most recent centuries, British wedding cakes have traditionally consisted of a delicious sponge cake, often paired with cream or jam sandwiched in the middle, and tiered - the higher, the better. It’s not uncommon to see British wedding cakes which feature three or more tiers, with some reaching as high as six or seven. These tiered cakes are then covered in coloured, flavoured icing, and decorated with expert skill. The decorations can range from a bride and groom figures we all know and love, to more elaborate, delicate flowers spilling from the top tier to the bottom, and even the on-trend ‘naked’ wedding cake decorations.
The French do it differently. There is no five or six-tiered sponge cake on the top table of a French wedding. Alternatively, couples ask for the luxury “Croquembouche” or ”Pièce montée.” This extravagant cake is reserved for the most special of occasions, so when better to serve it than on the biggest day of a couple’s life?
A Croquembouche features delicious choux pastry balls, each filled generously with vanilla crème patissière, and gently arranged into a cone shape. The cone is bound artistically with threads of crunchy caramel, each thread worked by hand. Quite simply, it’s a tower of tasty treats, which you would be forgiven for mistaking as a tower of profiteroles. There is often delicate decoration, crafted from pastillage, added to the tower.
This cake is truly considered a luxury because every choux is handcrafted and filled one by one, and added to the final cone using melted caramel. The trained eye of the pâtisserie is what results in a perfectly balanced, straight and proportionate cone, as it’s created without a structure. For a wedding party of 40 people, you will need 150 beautifully baked choux pastries, with the cone itself reaching one metre high.
The highly trained skill lies in the hand working of the caramel and ensuring it reaches at least 170°C to get to exactly the right colour. The professional skill needed to work the caramel is the same as those working with molten glass. To make the happy couple’s ideal Croquembouche, French pâtisserie’s suffer many painful blisters getting the caramel to the right temperature… but it’s worth it!
At Délices, our passionate pâtissière, Diana, was trained at the top schools in Paris to ensure she can lovingly create, from scratch, the perfect French fresh bread, pastries and cakes daily, on the premise in Bedford.
Whatever tasty treats take your fancy, you’ll be sure to find mouth-watering goodies here. If you’re interested in ordering a bespoke wedding Croquembouche or are simply interested in having a personalised gâteaux for a birthday party or anniversary, take a look at our catering services and the sweet and savoury options available to you.