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How-To

The Edible Art of Wedding Cakes

Fine Cooking Issue 21
Photos: Ben Fink
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“Baking is a tactile thing” says Sylvia Weinstock. At her specialty bakery in New York City, Sylvia Weinstock Cakes, every cake gets hands-on attention. “We use only the finest ingredients, and we take no shortcuts,” says Weinstock, who cares as much about how her cakes taste as she does about how they look. During the peak summer wedding season, Weinstock and her team of expert bakers and decorators make twenty to thirty cakes a week. Each cake is baked the day before it’s delivered and must be iced, assembled, and decorated with exacting detail.

First bake a cake. Here, chocolate cake is filled with a rich fudge mousse. The top and bottom of the cake are trimmed away. “We only want the middle,” says Sylvia. “That’s the best part.”
Buttercream makes a tastier cake. Most specialty bakers cover their cakes with fondant to ensure a smooth surface for decorating. Buttercream is more difficult to work on, but nothing else matches its flavor.
Exquisite edible roses. Weinstock and her staff study the flowers in the bridal bouquet petal by petal and reproduce them with sugar paste.
“When a petal is right, you can feel it in your hand,” says Weinstock. Sugar hydrangea blossoms get their vivid hue from a dusting of dry food coloring.

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