Friday, July 23, 2010

The History of the Wedding Cake

One needs only turn on the television or walk into a bookstore these days to see that cake is making a comeback in a very big way these days. With our second book about to hit the shelves, and in the wake of the various desert challenges on the likes of MasterChef, I asked myself; when exactly did this all happen? In 2005 Nigella Lawson had us all wanting to be a Domestic Goddess, and Martha Stewart has retained her all-American cake queen status since the late 70's; but it was Handi who told me that the first wedding cake as we know it actually dates back as far as the 1600's.

Being one of the country's top makers of wedding cakes, I decided it was important to acknowledge our roots and those who know me will not be surprised that this slice of information woke up the historically enquiring mind within, and I decided to research a little further...

Roman writer Lucretius, Circa 100BC, wrote of the first form of wedding cake, a loaf made from barley or rye which was crumbled over the brides head by the groom as a sign of his domination over his new bride. Hmmm, not surprising this is a tradition we have since abandoned! The rest of the crumbs were then thrown by the guests and became the first form of confetti.

Ancient Roman wedding relief

The tradition of loaves and pastry's at weddings continued, and in England during the middle ages the wedding centrepiece was often a tower of sweet buns, piled as high as possible. The couple who managed to kiss over the tower were assured a life of prosperity... so long as they were not slain by dragons, taken out by the plague or any of those other nasty medieval maladies. Pastry's filled with offal and nuts (eeeewwww!!) were also popular around this time!
It was in the 1700's however that the wedding cake as we know it really came into its own as multi-tiered cakes made of fruit (a symbol of fertility) became the centrepiece of many weddings. Thick fondant now known as Royal icing gained its name during this era after it was used on the wedding cake of Queen Victoria herself and Prince Albert. Perishables were extremely expensive around this time, with double refined sugar being one of the most pricey food items going. Thus the traditional white wedding cake was not a symbol of purity and virginity originally (rather this came later) but a sign of the family's wealth, who could afford such luxurious goods.

Queen Victoria's Wedding Cake

It was the hedonistic 1980's that saw the real turn around in the way we view wedding cakes as we threw tradition to the winds and embraced new colours, styles and flavours....chocolate mud for a wedding, shock horror! These days we draw inspiration for our cakes from fashion, venues, seasons and even interior design and at PC we always aim to stay one step ahead in our cutting edge designs, and incorporate the individual qualities of each and every bride and groom which step through our door.
So what do you think Queen Victoria would have thought of this one?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dry July

The folks at Dry July sent us this great photo after we created a cake to help celebrate the annual kick off for the fundraiser.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Glitz and Glamour at PC

While winter time for many conjures up images of wooly scarves, chapped lips, roaring fires and marshmallows, here at Planet Cake winter means two things: Roses with Greg Cleary and lots of very cool novelty cakes as wedding cakes are forgotten until spring.

Okay, I know I've been slack of late in posting pictures of cakes, getting carried away with all the excitement of the workshop marathons, so let's dive straight into it with some of the cooler cakes which have come our way the last few weeks:

As promised last week, as I was dahing off to apply some lippy and sip on some bubbly, here are the pics from the annual Planet Cake Awards Night, 2010. Here at PC we work hard all youe round and the Summer months are some of our busiest, so come July we frock up and step out in style to celebrate all the cake-fabulousness from the year gone. Employee of the Year this year was taken out by Production and Events Manager Emma Aboud, who with her faultless running of the administration side of things is the one responsible behind the scenes for all the magic you see here. Following hot on her heels with runner up was Queen of the Madhatter and Creator of Cupcakes, Anna Maria Roche.

After being picked up by our very own limo's, amidst the squeals of excitement (mostly from Handi) we were whisked away to our secret location, revealed only on arrival to be none other than...

The staff at Justin North's restaurant, Becasse treated us to a truly spectacular evening and we ate (oh how we ate!), drank and were our general merry selves...

The table roses were red
Ant's shoes were blue (okay they were more violet)
The dessert was sweet
Bet you wish you were there too?!

And all the lovely ladies

There were a few sore heads come Friday morning, however it was business as usual, so (with the music a touch lower than we would normally have it) we launched straight into Roses, Roses, Roses with Greg Cleary. For those of you who have not heard of him, Greg is one of the most renound flower makers in the cake decorating industry, and while based in Brisbane, teaches here at our Balmain studio on occasion. Several of our own staff took part in Greg's three day workshop and a certain member of the team was so taken with her newly acquired skills, she could be still be seen here late into the night because she simply couldn't get enough!

Monday, July 12, 2010

"SNAP" 12.14pm Monday July 12

Margie shows off her multi-tasking skills

Thursday, July 8, 2010



11.00am Monday 5th July - Ritzy serves up some of her delicious home-made chocolate-banana brownies....ah anther tough morning at the office here at Planet Cake

Planet Cake Masters

It is with absolute pleasure that I present to you the 2010 Planet Cake Master Series - the one and only Topsy Turvy! The Topsy Turvy is one of the most difficult designs in cake decorating and these guys did a spectacular job over four chocca block days.

A special congratulations to Leslie Dixon, Clare Pennell, Samantha Soravia, Kanissa Bailey, Leonie Rapsey and Effie Valavanis who also graduated on Sunday after having completed the entire Basics series with small feat!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Margie's new 'Where the Wild Things Are'-inspired window display

Meanwhile back in Sydney...

Today we begin day one of the Topsy Turvy Masters here in Sydney, which brings us to the end of the Basics Marathon. It's hard to believe that a year ago when we ran our first Basics 108 class we had only two (although very wonderful) students, and this year saw a whopping 13 students complete the course!


And Now...

The 109 class showed some amazing promise and talent with these creative Madhatters, I absolutely love that no one was scared of colour in this class, or to personalise the cakes with a touch of individuality.

Dawn adds a personal touch to her Madhatter

Brisbane Classes

Last week, the one and only Jessica Pedemont brought her new course Chocolate Passion to Brisbane (sorry about the wait guys, we had to wait for this cold weather before attempting chocolate in QLD!). Due to it's massive success, we have added three more dates for Chocolate Passion in Sydney. To enrol head to our course page:

Jess shows the guys how it's done

Some local guests drop in for an extremely yummy hello

We're going to need some icing...STAT!

Novelty 101 students get up close and personal with the choccy mud cake