Becoming engaged to your future life partner is literally in itself, the promise of a lifetime. Celebrating your engagement with your family and friends is the perfect time to have the best cake made that embodies everything you and your loved one share, desire, and celebrate together. However, when considering what the “best” engagement cake is, the term “best” is very relative. What is best for one couple could be the absolute worst for another. Just as every couple is different, every engagement cake should be different too. The best engagement cake for a couple should be designed based solely on the couple it is supposed to represent at the engagement party.
While it is often not as extravagant as the wedding cake, there are several avenues a couple can take when designing the best engagement cake for their party. Whether it is a tiered masterpiece or a simple sheet cake, I will explore current trends, designs of popular engagement cakes, and the way to go about personalizing a brand new design into becoming the best engagement cake.
In order to begin designing the best engagement cake, the first thing to consider is the couple itself. Is there a story to be told behind the proposal? One trend that is extremely personalized is a tiered cake design with painted figures depicting how the couple met on one tier, how or where they dated on another tier, and how they became engaged on another tier. This design not only makes for a visual story, but if done cleanly can be very visually appealing.
Another thing to consider with the best engagement cake is a theme to be embraced. This can be depicted solely at the engagement party or be carried through to the wedding as well. For example, if the couple shares a common interest, (which let us hope they do since they are about to be married after all), the theme could represent that shared interest such as a sport or an activity the couple likes doing together. The theme could be turned into a 3D replica cake of something depicting that activity or simply a sheet cake with the design airbrushed, painted, or made out of icing.
A third design avenue would be relying on trends and designs already in existence and making minor changes to personalize the cake. One huge advantage of social media and access to images shared throughout the world is that a couple is able to look at pictures of previous engagement cakes, pick out one they like and bring it to the pastry chef to recreate. They may want the cake recreated exactly but in my experience, more times than not, there will be elements, colors, or textures in the design that the client wishes to change.
Yet another item to consider is the culture behind the couple. A couple in the United States will have a cake that looks and tastes completely different than a couple having a traditional French or Vietnamese or Indian cake. This is yet another element to be considered when designing the best engagement cake.
When considering the best engagement cake, it simply comes down to it answering two questions: does it accurately portray and relate to the couple it is intended for and is it well-executed? If both of these answers are “yes”, the best engagement cake has been created.
If you simply do an internet search for “best engagement cake”, the hundreds of thousands of pictures you receive look dauntingly different. Current trends include cupcake towers with a single small cake in the shape of a ring box on top, cookie and/or candy cakes that are arranged in the shape of a cake with an edible ring or two glass hearts on top, but the best engagement cake is the most visually appealing and well-executed.
Being a pastry chef, I can tell you current trends show that the most popular design for an engagement cake is the one that thinks outside the cake box. It is not simply the sheet cake that reads “congratulations on your engagement”. It is the tiered work of art that has pristine corners, smooth icing, 100% edible elements, and a clear and concise direction. Though this does not encompass the perfect cake for every couple, in my professional opinion, it is a tiered cake with personality. It has been airbrushed in all the right places to give it depth and dimension with the couples’ silhouette illustrating their love story. The cake is them. To describe it in words: it is five tiers tall. The bottom tier has the silhouette of two people walking dogs or sitting at separate computer desks. The next tier up, has the silhouette of the two people shaking hands. The next is them walking in a park hand in hand or dancing. The fourth tier shows one of them on one knee. The top tier shows a bride and groom or simply reads “she said yes” and the names of the couple. Each tier is airbrushed a slightly different shade of the same color or colors that are visually pleasing together.
What is the “best” engagement cake? Is it one that follows the trends and is voted number one? Is it the one that is posted on all the wedding magazines and at the top of every wedding planner’s notebook? No. The best engagement cake is created over and over by thousands of pastry chefs around the world each day because it is the one that is designed distinctly for the couple that it is created for. It shows their story, the theme to their romance, the shared interests on which they will build the foundation of their life together for many years to come. A guest is able to look at the cake and say “this is so them!” That is the best engagement cake.