Let them eat cake - for dessert.

A wedding cake can be a truly magical artistic creation. Time was the top tier, typically fruit cake - quite dense - covered in royal icing made into intricate and delicate shapes, was kept to celebrate the birth of the first child. Like Christmas pudding which should be made a year in advance, it was so packed with sultanas, raisins and ingredients that 'lasted', a traditional wedding cake improved over time.

The convention of saving the top tier has all but disappeared.  Fashions have changed and fruit cake is less popular than it used to be.  It has been rejected in favour of flavoured sponge cakes either iced and decorated or, now increasingly, naked.  The sugar paste essential for some of the intricate designs that cake makers fashion is another casualty of changing tastes.  Dropping the edible canvas from the structure, deprives the artist of a rigid base for decoration and that can inhibit their creativity.  No point in crafting  delicate little flowers if there is nothing solid to stick them to. Without the impact of design, the cake then relies on flavour alone so that has to be sensational. It also has to be made last minute to be super fresh.  There is no place to hide with a naked cake. 

Undecorated, some 'naked' cakes, albeit made by professionals, have a homespun look that is not necessarily appropriate for certain weddings. The m'hencha, a delicious Moroccan concoction of almonds, rosewater and light crispy pastry, has visual drama and fabulous flavour. A bridge between a cake and a dessert, it can happily act as your dessert course. It is now our 'house' wedding cake.

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Linda Camp