The Icing on the Cake

“I know it seems like your wedding is right around the corner, but really I don’t start worrying about them until three days out.”

With that line, my cake vendor found herself out of a client. That shoulder-shrugging admonishment to a bride whose wedding is in fact just around the corner was the last straw. (Backstory: I thought I had to use this baker because of some sort of exclusivity contract with the hotel. Mother Bridal Bird—a far more careful reader of the catering contract than I—discovered that we do not in fact have to use her.) Anyway, the previous straws:
1. I’d been trying to contact her since August and until yesterday at 11 a.m. was never able to get her on the phone. 
2. She left me a message a couple weeks ago saying that, based on the messages I’d been forced to leave for her, we were “totally on the same page” about what cake I wanted. That was right up until I was forced to leave a message yesterday morning saying that I wanted to be sure she understood I wanted buttercream icing, not nasty rolled fondant icing. That was the magic bullet because she instantly returned my phone call.

Cake baker: “Can I ask why you don’t want fondant?”
Me: “Because it doesn’t taste good. Also, I indicated on the order two months ago that I didn’t want it. I’m a little concerned that you left me a message saying we were “on the same page” about what I wanted and you were about to bring me a cake covered in a frosting that I find inedible.”
Cake baker: “I know everyone thinks that but mine is realllllly good. It’s like a thinly rolled vanilla Tootsie Roll.”
Me: “That doesn’t sound good.”
At this point cake baker offers to bring a slice for me to taste, but then adds the following in an “whatever, it’s your funeral” tone. 
Cake baker: “I will tell you though, at this time of year you can still have buttercream frosting melt. And it doesn’t look like we’re going to have any comfortable weather snap in the next two weeks. I wouldn’t want your cake to look bad.”
Me (after holding phone away from face and staring at it in disbelief): “The wedding is indoors. It’s projected to be in the low 70s/high 60s for the next two weeks.”
Cake baker: “So what is your priority with your cake: taste or it looking good?”
Me: “As it goes in my mouth, my priority is taste.”
Cake baker: “Alright. What kind of cake did you want again?”
Me (bordering on hissy): “Key. Lime. Mousse. This order was sent over to you more than two months ago by the hotel.”

We basically sign off with the equivalent of mean girls’ hair flings and “whatevs.” I immediately call Sugarbakers, the Baltimore cake vendor I used for my fiancé’s 40th birthday party, and beg them to do my wedding cake in two weeks. They oblige and schedule me for an emergency cake tasting. Mmmm…emergency cake tasting-y. Later that day, I settled on a scrumdiddlyumcious lemon mousse wedding cake as well as a chocolate-with-chocolate-mousse groom’s cake. Nobody puts Baby in a fondant-covered corner.


20 Responses to “The Icing on the Cake”

  1. Lemmonex Says:

    Fondant tastes like garbage. Good for you for standing your ground–that is some bs.

    Always choose taste over appearance. I have been to so many weddings where I didn’t even see the cake, it just arrived at my table, cut in pieces. So yeah, never saw the intricate detailing but thought, “Huh, this is dry and covered in waxy crap.”.

    And key lime cake? Swoon.

  2. K Says:

    When you look back on this, really, you’ll thank her – TWO cake tastings? Giddyup!

  3. suicide_blond Says:


    way to stick to your guns kiddo!

  4. Barzelay Says:

    If her buttercream frosting is melting, it’s because she’s making it wrong for the conditions. No decent baker would ever tell you that. There are plenty of ways to stabilize the damn frosting, and if she is unaware of post-1950’s pastry techniques, or too lazy to use them, she deserves to lose your business.

  5. Nadine Says:

    Second Barzelay-there’s ways to deal with that. I think she’s just lazy. Glad you found an out.

  6. Belle Says:

    I hate fondant too. Every wedding I go to ends with hunks of nasty sugary cardboard caked onto everyone’s plates. Icing is the better choice.

    Good for you for making your cake edible.

  7. I-66 Says:

    I don’t even know what fondant IS! So there, Bitchy Bakerson!

  8. Phil Says:

    If ever there was a moment where one would wish the name of this baker/bakery was “Sugarbuns”, this would be it.

  9. Taryn Says:

    wait, how did you know the difference between fondant and buttercream? HELP! and also, yum, lemon mousse.

  10. Bridal Bird Says:

    Lemmonex-Yes, when I eat it I feel like Tom Hanks in Big after he eats the caviar.


    SBlond-Thank you. She got served…and won’t be serving my guests cake. Zing!

    Barzelay and Nadine-It was so obvious that she just wanted to make a cake that looks pretty and didn’t care about the taste which I think is a pretty terrifying attitude for a baker to have.

    Belle-What is it with the fondant lately? Every wedding mag only has fondant cakes. It’s like, yeah, you could make your cake look pretty if you glued crystals and cut glass to it, too, but I wouldn’t want to eat it.

    I-66-Lean over and take a bite out of your shoe leather. Now you know what fondant is.

    Phil-My head would have exploded. Truly.

    Taryn-Fondant makes a cake look pretty because it’s super smooth in texture with a matte finish (it gets rolled out in sheets) and can be dyed pretty much any color. That’s in case you’re a bride who needs your cake frosting to match your flowers and your bridesmaids’ dresses. (Not a judgment, just a point about the look v. taste factions.) Any cake you see in Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, etc. is almost invariably fondant these days. Buttercream tastes great, is light and fluffy and made of butter and sugar, and is spread onto a cake as opposed to fondant being draped over a cake and molded. It’s not as easy to bend to one’s aesthetic whims but, done right, it’s so good you’ll want to swim in it.

  11. I-66 Says:

    For that you have to assume that I am both wearing shoes and that they are leather. I can neither confirm nor deny either, but I can tell you that the idea of taking a bite out of the dog that is currently warming my feet would both be gross and probably taste better than fondant.

  12. Belle Says:

    Fondant is a pressed sugar dough. It’s like a flexible Necco wafer. People think it tastes like vanilla but really it tastes like musty paper. And the texture dries your mouth out. Ick.

    And yeah, I don’t know why everyone is obsessed with fondant. any capable baker can make icing smooth. And if you don’t have a baker who can pull that off, your fondant is going to end up looking like cracked tile. Ick.

  13. Talking Budgie Says:

    Good for you. I, too, HATE fondant. And every time I go to a wedding I have to peel that shit off the top of the cake before I can eat it. Ugh.

  14. etcetera Says:

    a little of each, please!

  15. freckledk Says:

    I’ve never actually had a slice of wedding cake. Ever. They never look too yummy to warrant all that sugar. Yours, however, has me drooling. Hope it turns out well.

  16. Carissa Says:

    Seriously – our cake baker initially suggested adding it so that “people could pull it off if they wanted to.” Why am I paying for shit that people don’t want to eat?

    We had buttercream in the middle of hot-as-hell June. No, it did not melt and yes, it tasted amazing.

  17. Bridal Bird Says:

    Thanks Freckled K!

    Carissa- Shut UP! Are you kidding me? Sweet fancy Moses that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
    Relieved to hear that.

  18. Blake K. Says:

    I hate to do a replay, but …

    Cake baker: “I know everyone thinks that but mine is realllllly good. It’s like a thinly rolled vanilla Tootsie Roll.”
    Me: “That doesn’t sound good.”

    HA HA! HA! HA HA HA!!!!

  19. sarah Says:

    I saw a beautiful wedding cake in a diy/crafty type magazine several months ago. I can’t remember what the name of it was but i’m fairly certain that in had amy sedaris on the cover. the cake had old fashioned swirled buttercream icing and as decoration, a sugarpaste branch of cherry blossoms. it was simple and beautiful but not in the fondant iced cake simple sort of way. those things look like slabs of plaster.

  20. wallpaper Says:


    […]The Icing on the Cake « Bridal Bird[…]…

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