Tall cakes are in. They’re elegant, creative, and offer a snazzy twist on tradition. Take your wedding cake to new heights with the help of this trend. In our 2016 Wedding Trends Report, 80 percent of couples said they wanted a layer cake at their wedding and 57 percent wanted at least 3 layers.
To find out more about tall cakes and what to expect, we talked to Tabi Rodriguez of Tabi’s Custom Creations! located In Tacoma, Washington and Patricia Avila of What a Cake! in Houston, Texas – both are well-loved Thumbtack cake specialists. They talk tall cakes and finding the right baker for your big day.
What exactly are tall cakes?
Tall cakes are known as ‘double barrel cakes’ in the baking industry, explains Patricia. The term double barrel refers to the way two cakes are doubled up as one layer to give that elongated look when it’s covered in fondant (decorative cake icing).
How do they work?
Cake layers are cooked as normal 2” cakes, and then commonly joined together with ganache (the world’s most delicious glue) to secure them as one 4” layer. These “double barrels” are then stacked, one on top of each other to create one tall cake. Dowels are inserted vertically near the center to keep it structurally sound. You can stack double barrel layers of varying diameters to achieve different looks. You can also mix and match double barrel layers with standard single layers for a unique look. Each stack of cakes is wrapped in fondant to give the appearance that the layered cakes underneath are just one supertall cake.
Are tall cakes more difficult to make?
Tall cakes do have added complexity, shares Patricia. More layers must be perfectly aligned and leveled. Coating a tall tier to have that perfectly smooth surface you crave takes more time than icing a regular cake. Last of all, dowels must be used to support the tier, so planning out the structure is required to keep the cake from collapsing.
What are some cool things couples can request with tall cakes?
Be as creative as you want, says Tabi. The extended tiers mean more room for decoration. As for taste, bakers are able to create almost any flavor combination you can dream up. Tabi’s clients are currently loving raspberry lemonade which is a subtle lemon cake, filled with a deliciously tart yet sweet raspberry filling. It is topped with a light lemon icing. Another wedding flavor favorite is vanilla white chocolate featuring a moist vanilla cake filled with a fluffy white chocolate mousse and topped with a white chocolate Italian meringue buttercream icing!
Designing tall cakes is the part Tabi really loves. For a more classic and elegant wedding cake, she likes a neutral fondant brushed with either edible gold color or edible gold leaf. She then decorates with soft pink or pale peach flowers and greens for a stunning outcome.
Couples who are more artsy love her watercolor painting wedding cakes. She covers their cake in white fondant then uses different colors of edible liquid airbrush colors to create a watercolor-inspired design.
A great rustic themed idea came from a couple who requested Tabi design the cake and fondant to appear like a tree trunk that had been engraved with their initials.
Both Tabi and Patricia agree that the tall cake trend gives a different, unique look to a wedding cake by adding that taller tier. Even just a one-layer double barrel cake is extraordinary visually.
How far in advance should couples book their wedding cake specialist?
As soon as a couple books a venue, recommends Patricia. Although it might seem extreme, consider that boutique bakeries limit themselves to one wedding cake for each date, just like many venues only host one wedding a day. In Patricia’s experience, four months is the least amount of plan time for a popular baker.
That said, don’t panic if your wedding is in three weeks and you haven’t ordered a cake. It can be done!
What do couples need to know about delivery, set-up, and cutting/serving?
Cake delivery and setup takes coordination. Patricia says complex cakes are often not delivered in final form, so be sure to connect your wedding coordinator or day-of point person with your bakery so they can plan.
Patricia’s tips for success: Verify with the venue that there’s a set space for cake assembly, make sure air conditioning settings are adequate for a cake to stand on display for several hours, and depending on flavor selections, know if refrigeration will be required between delivery and setup.
As far as serving goes, says Tabi, if you have a supertall tall cake, there will be a cake plate and dowels for support in the bottom and middle of the cake. When slicing, cut the top 4″ of the cake, then remove the plate and dowels and continue to cut the bottom half of the cake to serve.
How sweet is that? If you have your heart set on a tall cake, book your baker now!