Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Yesterday, we featured advice from Vicki of Signature Cakes on buying your groom's cake. (Click here if you missed it.) We continue our feature on grooms' cakes, showcasing some of Signature Cakes' sculpted cakes. As you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to cakes - for the wedding cake or the groom's cake. And, if you want something even more detailed, larger, more extreme, she can do that too. I'm speechless!
Contact Signature Cakes to discuss your groom's cake.
Monday, August 6, 2012
I love chatting with Vicki of Signature Cakes. She loves designing cakes and creating new cake flavors and designs. She also has an appreciation for cake trends and history. Being a history buff, I’m always eager to hear anything she has to share.
According to Vicki, the groom’s cake started in England as fruit cakes. (England takes credit for everything, says Vicki!) With the explosion of wealth in the southern United States in the 1700/1800s, the groom's cake was introduced and has become a tasty, southern tradition.
What’s Popular Today
Vicki estimates that 30% of southern weddings include a groom’s cakes. Many couples still opt for fruit but many others are choosing chocolate or liqueur in contrast to all white cake. Now, the groom’s cake is sometimes a gift from bride to groom. However, in the 1970s, it was the groom’s parents buying his cake and this still happens today.
Some brides surprise with cake but more and more grooms want input into design, from cakes with his college alma mater, fraternity, favorite hobby, or sports team.
Flavors have come a long way too. A huge trend 20 years ago was a chocolate basket weave cake with strawberries, but this is rarely seen these days, unless a mother asks for it. Now, grooms are seeking part modern, part traditional flavors like caramel butter cream, strawberry white chocolate covered with chocolate ganache, or Italian butter cream.
Operation game and box - both cake (level 7)
Buttercream cake with silver Christmas bow (level 1)
Is a groom’s cake right for you?
As you plan your wedding, keep in mind that a groom’s cake isn’t a necessity. If your budget doesn’t allow for a groom’s cake, invest in a better wedding cake. A lot of modern couples purchase a groom’s cake to offer guests a different flavor other than vanilla. If that’s your only reason for a groom’s cake, consider companies like Signature Cakes that allows couples to select a different flavor per layer for the wedding cake, at no additional cost.
Unless you want a great design or want your grooms cake to pay homage to something he loves, put the money into a grander wedding cake.
How to price budget for your groom’s cake
Groom’s cakes in Nashville usually start at $150, unless you go the grocery store route. Remember, cake prices are based on the cost of supplies and labor. The more detailed the cake, the more labor required.
To give you an idea of what you might expect, take a look at Signature Cakes prices for some of the wonderful groom cakes shown below. Think these are great? We’ll share even more incredible cakes tomorrow.
Tanker cake (level 7)
Liverpool cake (level 3) + Piggly Wiggly cake (level 5)
Beach crab cake (level 6)
Groom's Cake Rates from Signature Cakes
Signature Cakes is one of Nashville’s premier cake companies, especially when it comes to sculpted cakes, which is a rare skill. All ABG readers, take 20% off Signature wedding cakes when you mention upon initial contact. The exclusive rate cannot be combined with other savings.
Level 1: $150 to $200 - buttercream icing with gumpaste ribbons and bow
Level 2: $150 to $200 - buttercream with edible flat image such as team logo or fraternity
Level 3: $200 to $250 - fondant covered edible image
Level 4: $275 to $300 - fondant covered with fondant cutwork images and piping with edible flat image
Level 5: $300 to $325 - ganache icing with buttercream filling and bows and ribbons; flat edible image; simple fondant letters
Level 6: $350 to $500 - fondant covered with sculpted features such as figurines, baseballs, hockey pucks, animals
Level 7: $525 to $900 - sculpted cakes
Level 8: $950+ - extreme cakes
(Levels 1 through 6 serve 50 to 70 people; Levels 7 & 8 servings are dependent on design and does not effect the cost.)
Golden gate bridge cake (level 7)
Drum with groom's name (level 6)
Trike cake (level 7)
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
If you have read our blogs on Crumb de la Crumb, you may have wondered what their infused cakes really are and what that means. (Don't worry, I have too and I wrote the blogs!) To answer your questiosn, I chatted with Lorie of Crumb de la Crumb and she gave me loads of great information!
According to Lorie, "an infused cake is basically a marinated cake. After a cake is baked, it is “infused” or soaked in a flavor for 24 hours before it is iced. The cake basically acts like a sponge and the longer it sits, the better it gets. With the infusion, the cake will never be dry." Sounds amazing, right?! So do the flavors and all of the possibilities!
What kind of infusion flavors can you have?
Flavors of infusions are really endless and can be whatever a bride likes. We offer from nutty - like hazelnut or almond, to fruity - like blueberries and creme or strawberry.
If a bride wants it, we’ll do it - they are all great. I really haven’t found an infusion that I don’t like.
Do you ever mix your infusions?
Some of our flavors are actually a mix of infusions, but whatever we mix, the final taste will be recognizable. One examples is Apricot Mojito, which is a blend of apricot and mint, or Tiramisu, a mix of espresso and dark rum. During the summer season, our tropical blends are very popular, like Coconut and Key Lime or Pina Colada (coconut and pinapple).
Do you have any unique flavors?
Our Creme Brulee infusion is unique because it is made from the burnt sugar that tops an actual creme brulee, then the cake is filled with a mixture of the shards of burnt sugar and creme.
Above photo by Kristyn Hogan
What about new flavors?
We are really trying to buy as much as we can locally, so we have created an Arrington Vineyards cabernet infusion that pairs with dark chocolate cake. This is really for the chocolate lover that will reach for something that is 60 to 80% chocolate.
We also have the Belle Meade Bourbon Peach Cobbler Cake, which is a vanilla cake with a Belle Meade Bourbon and peach infusion topped with peach buttercream icing and fresh peaches. Most Popular, Basic Flavor With our vanilla cake, the Dulce De Leche is most popular with it’s caramel cream cheese icing.
Tell us about your most unique pairing:
We have made a new combination that actually came of me and my son sharing a piece of coconut cake and a cappuccino brownie. While we were eating it, we just stacked them on top of each other and it was amazing. We now typically carry it all the time at our cafe. The combination is a coconut infused white cake layered with a very moist cappuccino brownie. Playing with the textures of the cake and the brownie, which are similar and yet different, is what was really fun in making this.
Flavors from their website:
Basic Infusions ($0.25/serving = $25/100 people)
Cream of Coconut
Dulce de Leche
Top Shelf Infusions ($0.35/serving = $35/100 people)
White Chocolate Godiva
Dark Chocolate Godiva
Chocolate, almond infused cake
Are your infusions gluten free?
Typically, all of our infusions are gluten free unless they are a wheat-based liquor. But whatever infusion we use, we always do our research beforehand to ensure that they will be gluten-free. The gluten-free really comes in to play more with our cakes. Just about every cake that we offer can be duplicated to be gluten-free.
How would a bride/groom do a tasting?
I like for brides to come in for a tasting of what we are serving that week so that they are guaranteed to have a fresh bite of what we offer. But if there is something that they love and they haven’t heard of it or it isn’t on our menu, then I can create it for them. If you just want to try the cake, or if you don’t try enough at your tasting, then most of the cakes are available by the slice on a daily basis at the cafe.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Kate, an engaged bride who resides in Michigan but is planning a 2013 summer wedding in Nashville, emailed me to learn more about our summer weather and wanted date and venue advice. I gave her a few recommendations and reiterated that summers in Nashville are hot hot hot! Kate's inquiry got me thinking about not just about outdoor weddings during the heat but also about summer wedding food. I reached out to Sarah at Chef's Market to find out how you can help keep your wedding guests cool and refreshed during the summer heat!
What is a sample menu that you might create for a summer Nashville wedding?
Scallop Ceviche with Yucca Chips
Cherry Tomato filled with Citrus Crab Salad
Fried Coconut Shrimp with Pina Colada and Mango Jalapeno Sauces
Benton’s Bacon Candy (Madisonville, TN)
Heirloom Tomatoes with Bonnie Blue Feta Cheese, Basil, Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Grilled Bread
Grilled Mango Chicken Kabobs with Avocado-Lime Cream and Chef’s Signature Corn & Avocado Salad
Marinated Grilled Flank Steak with Fresh Basil Pesto
Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast with Peach BBQ Sauce and Grilled Peaches
Grilled Summer Vegetables
Wild Rice and Orzo Pasta Salad
Fresh Butter Rolls
Prosecco Macerated Melon Skewers with Fresh Mint and Orange Zest
Fresh Summer Berries on a Ginger Sugared Biscuit with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
Cucumber Infused Water
Home-made Mango Lemonade
How does a menu vary based on whether the wedding takes place in warm weather versus cold weather?
Chef's Market: Lighter options that are not so heavy or filling. Couples usually prefer more salads, desserts with fruit, citrus-based sauces versus roast-beef and mashed potatoes, which are great for winter weddings. In the summer, we'd pair entrees with fruit, such as the grilled chicken and peaches on the sample menu above.
What are fun summer food ideas?
Chef's Market: Refreshing treats like watermelon popsicles, pina coladas and daiquiris, cucumber or orange infused water, homemade mango lemonade. Desserts for summer might include banana pudding cups, cake truffle; Salads that are light with berries.
What themes have you done in the past that were great for summer menus?
Chef's Market: We recently did a island-themed event that was great for summer.
I notice that several menu items are locally sourced. Can you provide more details?
Chef's Market: Yes. Appetizers from Benton's Bacon Farm in Madisonville, TN. Love their bacon. They also have bacon candy, such a distinct flavor. Salads made with heirloom tomatoes with goat feta cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm in Waynesboro, TN. Many of the sauces are homemade at Chef's Market using local produce.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Yes. You've seen the photos of gorgeous weddings at Houston Station. But what you may not know is that 90% of Houston Station couples use the Blending Room to extend their reception. Which got me to thinking...how many couples actually choose Houston Station for the Blending Room? Inquiring minds want to know! With this being Music City, there is a clear attraction to a post-wedding reception lounge that allows the couple to host an after party. Plus the aroma of gourmet coffee, blended in-house is equally appealing.
The Blending Room is definitely a great complement to a Houston Station wedding. As a lounge across from the main reception area, the Blending Room is cozy, eclectic, and houses Noteable Blends, a mobile coffee-bar. Both the lounge and the coffee are the domain of Scott Davis, a coffee aficionado who is as passionate about great music as he is about creating a great coffee experience.
Top left photo by Ace Photography; top right photo by Jonathon Campbell Photography; bottom photos by Noteable Blends
The Blending Room: a Multi-Purpose Lounge with Musical Stage!
Scott tells me that The Blending Room has a "live, active stage" with musical instruments. If you or your fiance are musicians, you can have a music set after your wedding and invite friends and family to partake.
The space can be transformed into many configurations to allow its use for various events, including a rehearsal dinner, groom's room, cocktail party, or even for a parent wind-down area once the party really gets started in the main area of the venue!
As you can see from the photos I've included below, the space is cozy and full of personality. We even hosted a workshop here and the room went from being set-up in church style (yes - they have real pews) to reception style for our bride class. You can use the props and tables available or you can have the seating cleared and rentals brought in, from cocktail tables to long, square tables.
Above and below: Various jam sessions in a number of room configurations.
Noteable Blends, a Coffee Experience You Can Take Anywhere
From presentation to coffee favors, Noteable Blends has you covered. This mobile coffee bar, located in Houston Station's Blending Room is a gem for coffee lovers! Noteable Blends can be added to your reception, whether it's hosted at Houston Station or not. If you have a Houston Station wedding, you can opt to serve gourmet coffee to your guests. If not, you can work with Noteable Blends to set up a coffee bar at your venue. The options are truly limitless.
If you are coffee lover, Scott can create custom blends for your coffee reception or guest favors. Noteable Blends can also create a coffee experience for your bridal shower, creating a signature blend for your maids, based on their personality and taste preferences. This would make a gift they won't find anywhere else!
Noteable Blends is a mobile coffee unit serving custom blends.
Noteable Blends creates custom blends for couples that can be served at the wedding and guests can take home a bag, doubling as your favor.
This gorgeous couch that sits in Notable Blends is a wonderful prop for photos! (Photo: Amber Beckham Photography)
Except where noted, photos courtesy of Houston Station / Noteable Blends