Regarding Height

The Lady Baltimore might have been the Dubai Tower of its day, but it is of course nothing compared to the cakes one routinely sees being fashioned on Ace of Cakes. The average American wedding cake can be several feet in height nowadays, though even these giants are miniscule compared to some modern Japanese wedding cakes, which are not only yards tall, they spit smoke and fire to boot. Thus it’s safe to say that over the last decade or two and entirely new category of cakes has evolved, designed as much to entertain as please the palate. A casual image search on Google turns up cakes made to look like everything from Rubik’s cubes to roller skates.

How do these cakes taste? I have to say I’ve eaten very few of them, but in general I find their flavor and texture to be inferior to more “traditional” layer cakes (if that word has much meaning after this week). Why? Because their base components — i.e. the cake and icing — are structural materials that it just so happens you can eat. Tall, sculpted cakes demand base layers that are firm and carve-able. Cake that is fall-apart tender would, well, fall apart if someone attempted to shape it into, say, a brontosaurus.

This is why, when I attend a wedding, I try to seek out the cake ahead of time. If it’s broad and low, I know I very likely have a rich, velvety and rewarding cake-eating experience in front of me. I’ll skip the appetizers and the potato, hoping to swipe an extra piece during the toasting and dancing. If, on the other hand, it’s six feet tall, asymmetrical and covered with strips of hot pink fondant, I’ll usually have seconds of the pepper steak.

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