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Matrimonial dessert gains sophistication

LESLIE BREFELDsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox
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SUMMIT COUNTY – Wedding cakes have come a long way since the standard fare of almond pound cake flavor with drapes as decorations.”My grandfather’s only question was ‘What color do you want the roses,'” said Keystone executive pastry chef Ned Archibald.The cake, before the bride arrives, is often the centerpiece of the reception, and women now are more aware of this and their ability to make it a reflection of themselves.Archibald cites Martha Stewart, who began featuring the cakes in her magazine, as leading this charge to more sophisticated and customized designs and tastes.One of Archibald’s wedding cakes, which have become a selling point to Keystone and Vail Resorts’ wedding venues, was recently featured in People Magazine’s wedding issue.

The publication had a cake from each state, and Keystone employees Christi and Jordan Stokes’ centerpiece said Colorado with its snowflakes and mountain range decorations.The two met at their jobs and all of their guests were coming in from out of state, so they wanted to play up the mountain theme.”Since I work with weddings throughout the resort, I knew Ned’s talent … I wanted to leave some of the creativity to him,” said Stokes, who is the catering sales manager at Keystone. The cake also featured two skis on top with each of their names.”The cake reflects their love of the mountains and snow and love of skiing. And more than just that, it’s an artistic showpiece that’s edible, making a statement right from the get-go.””Everyone was amazed with the cake,” Stokes said.

Archibald spends about an hour consulting with the bride, and asks them to bring in pictures of cakes they like so he can get an idea of their style, before customizing the cake. For the Stokes’ wedding, he used the color of their wedding invitations for the color palette.Blue Moon Bakery owner and baker Ben Reil has seen brides have such specific ideas that they bring in their own drawings.”Pretty much anything goes now,” he said.When it comes to the taste, among the Keystone cake flavors (which oftentimes only serve as a jumping off point) are Bailey’s Irish Cream Milk Chocolate Espresso Chunk, Double Chocolate Truffle Fudge Mousse and Strawberry Chantilly.Over at the Butterhorn Bakery in Frisco, owner Cindy Abramowitz also cites a wide variety of flavors including cheesecake, strawberry buttercream and German chocolate.

Reil says he used to list his flavors, but now prefers to just tell clients that the list is “endless.””The knock on wedding cakes used to be they look good but don’t taste good,” Archibald said. “I realized 20 years ago that if wedding cakes is serving as dessert, it needs to be that good. I started introducing these flavors and fillings.”All personally deliver each cake.”There’s too much at stake. If you drop a wedding cake, you can’t whip up another one,” Archibald said.Summer is the busy season for weddings, and therefore also for wedding cakes. Most in Summit County are for destination weddings, making the Stokes ceremony the exception.

Abramowitz has noticed another change in wedding cakes – some aren’t even tiered.”People are working more on a budget,” she said. The Butterhorn is seeing more sheet cakes, especially for larger weddings. “The bride can use the money a little more wisely, like for the honeymoon,” she said.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.


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