The Muslim Bride Special Wedding Feature: Sana and Shahzeb’s Wedding Cake
Once upon a time, you were a toddler and you loved sitting in your high chair eating that giant piece of chocolate cake. It didn’t matter if it got in your hair, your chair or your clothes. For those few minutes (or hours if you were a slow peaceful eater) it was just you and your favorite chocolate cake. For that brief moment, you were in a sweet happy place. And that is exactly the kind of happiness you would feel when you are given the freedom to choose your favorite flavors and go on a complimentary wedding cake-eating adventure. In other words, the most fun part of wedding planning a.k.a cake tasting! If you ever get this opportunity don’t miss it! If you already missed it then seriously why? And if you plan to miss it, then please hire us! We will happily go anywhere to do your wedding cake tasting granted it doesn’t involve a wicked witch and a house made of cake and confectionery.
Now, you will be happy to know that this last feature on Sana and Shahzeb’s wedding is in two parts. First, we share with you our cake selection journey and some ingredients you need to focus on if you want a halal cake. Then in the second part, the amazing cake artist Heather shares with us some words on her creative process and the steps she took to create Sana and Shahzeb’s beautiful wedding cake.
So how does one really embark on a journey to tasting possible (or future) wedding cake’s flavors? Well first you do some dreaming of ridiculous dreamy wedding cakes, which you should have started at a tender age (sweet 16?) and well after getting introduced to things like Disney, fairytales, sweet tooth and the holy chocolate. Now since time is of an essence, dreaming is not allowed while actively planning your wedding. So next important step into making your wedding cake dream a reality is some serious research. Your job at this point is to find out cake vendors who would be able to create the kind of wedding cake you have in mind. Once you have some possible candidates, narrow down your search to the best two cake shops or artists. Next, check and see if the selected cake vendors offer a complementary cake tasting option. If not, don’t be shy and request for one.
For Sana and Shahzeb’s wedding cake we looked at different local popular cake bakeries but there was one cake artist that had been on our mind for a while. She is Sana’s very talented and creative University of Michigan School of Art and Design’s classmate, Heather of Sweet Heather Anne. Before our cake tasting meeting, Heather asked us to bring pictures of cakes we had in mind and choose four flavors from their menu for cake tasting. Finally when the day came we were all super excited! Heather had set up this really cute table for us and made four mini cakes with the chosen flavors to taste from. We took rounds tasting each flavor and took notes. Yes, it kind of did feel like as if we were on Iron Chef where after taking a bite one makes ridiculous sounds and say things like oooh, aaah, mmm and nod like crazy. We didn’t! We just tasted and discussed the details like normal people and pointed at a lot of creative and pretty sample cakes that Heather had up for show purposes around the room.
We couldn’t really decide on the spot so it was really nice of Heather to give us a couple of days to think it through and decide if we still wanted to go with her for the wedding cake. The decision part was a little challenging since we loved all the flavors but had concerns about going over budget especially where design fee and quantity was concerned. Ultimately Sana and Shahzeb decided to go with two flavors (Chocolate Praline and Raspberry and crème) and focus on quality over quantity. Since the guests were going to have other desserts, we decided to go with a small 3 to 4 tier cute and magical cake. This way the couple was able to have their dream wedding cake and enjoy it with family and close friends staying at home as well. Once the decision was made then all the final details were discussed and a deposit was made so that Heather could start working on providing us with a possible sketch.
Having eaten a lot of wedding cakes (we kid you not), we know that at least here in the USA cakes have certain ingredients that are not halal friendly. A couple of main ingredients that were on our mind were alcohol and animal gelatin. If you are halal ingredients conscious then make sure and check with your cake artist about these. From our own personal experience (as a maniac cake connoisseur and chef’s assistant) we can tell you that we came across many wedding cakes that contained alcohol for the purposes of keeping the cake moist. Another common ingredient in cakes is vanilla extract that usually contains alcohol. Besides that you want to keep an eye on the fondant, which is used to decorate the cake and may contain animal gelatin.
We mentioned our concerns to Heather and she assured us that no animal gelatin was used in their fondant. There was also no alcohol used in the making of the cake plus vanilla beans were used as a substitute for vanilla extract. By the way, based on our own cooking experience, non-alcoholic vanilla extract can be found at your local South Asian or Middle Eastern shop. So perhaps you could suggest that to your cake artist as well.
Creating The Wedding Cake:
By cake artist, Heather of Sweet Heather Anne
When Sana came to her tasting, we asked her lots of questions about the details of her wedding, and how she envisioned her cake. She had some photos to show us, including some beautiful detail shots of her wedding outfit. She said that she wanted her cake to have a fairytale feel, and incorporate the colors and patterns on her bridal outfit particularly the design on the dupatta (long scarf). Using our conversation as an inspiration, I sketched out ideas. I generally take a little time to mull things over while I’m sketching, and make sure that I am completely satisfied with a design before I send it to a client.
While a cake design can be approved as much as a year in advance, the actual creation of the cake happens in a very short period of time. We start by making the cake boards, dying the fondant, and creating any sugar decorations that need to harden. On Sana’s cake, the gold topper and sugar jewels were created first. Then we bake the cake, let it cool, and cut it into thin layers. We layer buttercream and other fillings between the cake layers, and stack them until they are the appropriate height for the design. For Sana’s cake, we also carved two of the tiers to give them unique forms. Then, we coat all of the tiers in a thin and incredibly smooth layer of buttercream so that they are ready to cover in fondant. Once all of the tiers are covered in fondant, we put the finish details on the cake. It’s a lot of fun to see a cake come together and look just like the sketch.
In the end, we just want to say that the cake turned out really delicious and very beautiful! We hope our detailed coverage of Sana and Shahzeb’s wedding events as well as this article on their wedding cake helped all the brides-to-be and planners out there in some way.
Wedding Cake Resource:
Cake Artist, Heather of Sweet Heather Anne – Ann Arbor, Michigan.
For anything else you wish to know, please email us and we’ll try to help you out. Please note that all the photographs in the Sana and Shahzeb series belong to The Muslim Bride family so please give credit to the artist and The Muslim Bride when you use them for the purposes of your ideas and inspiration.
All the photographs on The Muslim Bride site are either taken or provided by the artist or the photographer for The Muslim Bride LLC. Any photographs with The Muslim Bride logo were taken by The Muslim Bride team and are hence the property of The Muslim Bride LLC. If you use any photographs from The Muslim Bride website for ideas and inspiration, please cite the source of your inspiration (The Muslim Bride) and give credit where it is due (the photographer or artist who took those beautiful photographs). We will all give you a good dua Insha’Allah. Thank you.