Last spring, after years of baking cookies for friends and family, native Washingtonian Patti Greenstein decided it was time to take the leap and turn her hobby into a business. “Brides are always looking for the next new thing, and I thought cookies have a lot to offer,” she says.
It turns out she was onto something. Kalorama Cookie Company, a gourmet bakeshop specializing in custom-designed sugar cookies, has spent the last year turning out delicious creations for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings. From brides looking for elegant cake designs to add to favor bags to grooms requesting sports-themed baked goods for their bachelor parties, Greenstein works with every client individually to design the cookie they envision.
We chatted with Greenstein about custom designs, flavors, and creative ways to include cookies on your big day.
The famous words “Let them eat cake” don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is available to sample at Patisserie Poupon for soon-to-be newlyweds contemplating sweet decisions for their celebration. Proprietor Ruth Poupon suggests dipping into cake (of course), but also macarons, croquembouches, and mini pastries.
For brides seeking elegant, decadent desserts, Patisserie Poupon has much to offer. Classic French cake flavors, croquembouches filled with chocolate, vanilla, or Grand Marnier cream, and a multitude of petite tarts and mille-feuilles serve well for a nuptial-worthy dessert buffet or sweet takeaways for party guests. And who wouldn’t love a little touch of French romance on their big day?
Madame Poupon treated me to the full bridal tasting at the Georgetown cafe, where we talked about popular flavors, pastry skill, and finding love.
I’m surveying these beautiful plates of cakes, pastries, and macarons. Is this what a couple can expect when they come for a consultation with you?
We have a complimentary tasting, and since it is complimentary, we first ask when and where the wedding is to make sure we can do it. After that, they can come in and we give them a sample of everything we make. They can also see some pictures of cakes we’ve decorated in the past. Then it’s really up to them. It’s all very custom.
If they have something in mind, they should bring a photograph. They should also bring their appetites, because we give them a lot of cake.
Here at Bride & Groom, there’s nothing we love more than a beautiful cake that tastes good, too. When we saw the delicious wedding cakes created by Alexandria’s IndAroma at a recent Indian-themed luncheon at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, we were immediately bowled over by the gorgeous designs—but it was the flavor of the cakes themselves that had us truly impressed.
We caught up with IndAroma’s owner, Abhishek Handa, to talk about where cake fits into Indian wedding traditions and what makes his confections different from anything else around.
How did you get into the wedding cake business?
My wife and I started the company in 2009 with a bakery concept in mind. The Indian market in the area didn’t have an option for cakes. There is a huge French influence on Indian wedding cakes, which use ingredients like fresh whipped cream and sponge cake, so that’s how we make our cakes. Our decoration is also heavily influenced by Indian art, specifically henna.
After 17 years of creating off-the-wall sculpted cakes for parties and weddings (be it a bushel of “crabs,” or a 3D version of a groom’s college mascot), Leslie Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie has learned a little something about how a personalized design can add character to a wedding or rehearsal dinner. We chatted with her about trends, choosing a theme, and how to surprise your groom with a cake that’ll make his day.
Tell us about some of the craziest groom’s cakes you’ve done.
I’ve done so many cakes it becomes a blur. One that was memorable was for a stockbroker—we did this huge bull holding a stock in his hand. Some of the mascots are really funky. I did one this weekend that looked like a tree; it was the Stanford mascot. Another one I remember was Georgia State, which was a dog sitting on ice. I guess the dog sits on ice because it’s so hot there.
By Erin Keane Scott
Welcome to a new feature on Bridal Party. We'll be meeting some of our area's very best wedding dessert connoisseurs every other week with "Take the Cake."
There’s a new recipe for creating beautiful cakes. Mix a lifetime of classical ballet training with a French pastry education and an apprenticeship with superchef Charlie Trotter’s dessert genius, Della Gossett, and you’ll reach something pretty close to perfection. Maggie Austin brings exactly that delectable résumé of accomplishments to DC, whipping up innovative flavor combinations and beautiful decorations. We caught up with Maggie to talk trends, her favorite flavors, and how baking is like ballet.
Who is the “Maggie Austin” bride?
Brides who are doing their research, who are on Pinterest and reading blogs looking for ideas.
And what can a couple expect at one of your cake tastings?
I definitely have a distinct style, but I get inspired by my clients. I don’t ask them to bring anything along to the consultation; rather I ask them to talk about the aesthetic they’re going for. I won’t re-create the dress in cake form.
Traditional meets modern in this wedding cake. Photograph by Grogan's Photo Image
If this gloomy weather has you feeling a little down, we’re hoping this cheery yellow wedding cake will brighten your day! Created by Zane Beg of the Sweet Life in Annandale (you may recognize these guys from the Food Network Challenge), the cake’s pattern was inspired by the look of vintage lace to honor one bride’s grandmother. We’ve noticed that yellow has replaced pink as the hot DC wedding color of the moment, and we’re loving how this cake mixes the modern hue with a traditional design.
To check out more of the Sweet Life’s fabulous cakes, visit the company’s Web site.
Would you serve this cake at your wedding? Let us know in the comments!
Would you eat this creepy confection? All photographs by Dennis Drenner
Since today is Halloween, we thought we’d share a wedding cake that’s as creepy as it is creative. Falls Church couple Ann and Brian are zombie-movie fans (Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and Zombieland are some of their recent favorites), so when it came time to choose the cake for their September 2011 wedding at the Hotel Monaco, they asked Leslie Goldman Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie in Bethesda to create—you guessed it—a zombie wedding cake, featuring an axe-wielding bride, a chainsaw-carrying groom, and various undead creatures scaling the four-tiered confection.
According to Brian, he and Ann thought it would be a “fun and fitting homage to our love of all things zombie. Because, as my new wife says, ‘If you can’t have fun with a wedding cake, you’re taking yourself too seriously!’”
We couldn’t agree more. (More close-up shots of this amazing cake after the jump):
Cake shopping might be one of the most fun parts of wedding planning, but it’s not all sugar flowers and buttercream. Leslie Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie shares what you need to know before choosing your wedding-day confection—she recommends nailing down your wedding cake two to six months before your wedding.
- Try to bring your fiance to your first meeting with your baker. If not, make sure you can answer the following questions for both you and your significant other:
- What are your favorite flavors?
- What do you want the cake to look like?
- What cake flavor do you want to cut into in the bottom layer?
- What cake flavor do you want the top of your cake to be?
- Do you want the design to be traditional, contemporary, eclectic, etc.?
- Know your venue, setting, and the formality of your wedding.
- Have an idea of your budget.
- Bring color swatches to share your color scheme with your cake baker.
- Bring a photo of your wedding gown (you can share this with your baker privately so your groom won’t see!).
- Bring photos of flowers you’re hoping to use on your wedding day.
- Know if your caterer is preparing an additional dessert, and if so, what that dessert is, so there’s no conflict of flavors.
We wonder what a Words with Friends cake would look like. Photograph courtesy of Kendall Barrett
This cake elicited many shrieks of joy around our office—a full-on, completely realistic Scrabble wedding cake by Kendall Barrett of Kendall’s Cakes in Falls Church. We asked Barrett for the story behind this incredible confection:
“The bride and groom were living in separate cities and they had a travel Scrabble board for weekend visits,” she says. “They had a quite a tiff over a word one weekend—the next visit the groom pulled out the Scrabble board, but the bride refused to play. He kept asking her, and finally, by the end of the weekend she agreed. When she opened the board, he had cleared the game and written “Will you marry me?” in its place! I just knew I had to create a Scrabble cake after hearing their story.”
Did you have an amazing wedding cake? Email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll put it on the blog!
Cute (and yummy) little "cuppies." Photograph courtesy of the Pie Sisters
Watch out, Georgetown Cupcake: There are some new dessert-slinging sisters on the block—literally. The Pie Sisters of Georgetown—a shop formerly known as O’ B. Sweet—is setting up shop on M Street, Northwest, in November, just one year after it got is start in the owners’ mother’s kitchen in Northern Virginia. Their booming business is proof of something we’ve suspected for awhile: Pie is one of the hot desserts for weddings these days.
And why shouldn’t it be? “Pie is special in the sense that it is part of so many families’ traditions,” says Allison Blakely, who founded Pie Sisters last October with her sisters, Erin and Catherine. “Pie flavors also bring the best of the season to the rest of the celebration.” With favorites such as Classic Apple, Bourbon Chocolate Pecan, and Pumpkin Spice on the menu for autumn, we’re sure to start seeing the Pie Sisters treats pop up on fall-inspired dessert buffets around the area.
But what about the buttercream colors and initialed adornments that make a cupcake or layer cake so customizable? “Every bride wants something special and different,” says Blakely. “We can tailor the decorations specific to each bride’s taste.” The Pie Sisters shop offers custom pastry cut outs (hearts, initials, seasonal decorations) and can add in colors to complement the bride’s theme. For guest favors, it will individually package “cuppies” (mini cup pies) and can personalize the box for the bride.
The Pie Sisters menu changes seasonally, but each flavor offered is available in three sizes: a three-inch cuppie, a seven-inch round, and the classic nine-inch, which comes in a glass pie dish. Five of the season’s most popular flavors are available gluten-free. A cookie menu is also in the works, with classics such as Chunky Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and White Chocolate Macadamia on offer now.
You’ll have to wait until November to visit the first Pie Sisters of Georgetown storefront, but you can find menus and place an order at piesisters.com.