Food critic less than impressed by royal cake
BY NATALIE MIKLES World Scene Writer
Saturday, April 30, 2011
4/30/11 at 6:04 AM
Fairy Tale Frills.
Fairy-tale wedding for Kate and Wills.
Royal bridesmaid, 3, is one unhappy camper.
It was a cake befitting a queen, or the Duchess of Cambridge.
All eyes were on Kate Middleton's gown, hair and flowers Friday, but then, people wanted a glimpse of the cake.
Kerry Vincent, Food Network star and founder of the Oklahoma Sugar Art Show, was one of them. She was up at 2:45 a.m. preparing to do royal commentary for a local radio show. But she would have been up anyway.
"I already told everybody on the planet, do not call me during the wedding," she said.
Vincent has judged hundreds of cakes through the Food Network's "Challenge" shows and has worked with the best sugar artists in the world. So she was ready to give her critique of the royal wedding cake.
"If you look at it from far away, it's absolutely lovely, but I was a little disappointed in the execution of the technique," she said.
The average person will likely not notice, but cake designers will find uneven piping on some tiers, she said.
Vincent said she hoped for something more dramatic in this monochromatic eight-tiered cake.
"They had the opportunity to do something with scrollwork, perhaps in gold," she said.
From the outside, the cake may not have looked much different from an American wedding cake, but inside, as is the tradition in the U.K., the cake was a fruitcake.
Vincent said British fruitcake isn't as dense and chock-full as American fruitcake, but it is a liqueur-soaked, heavy cake that's more of a two- or three-bite affair than a big slice of American wedding cake.
Traditionally, fruitcake wedding cakes are baked, wrapped in cheesecloth or muslin, brushed with brandy or rum and left to saturate, Vincent said. Then, the cake is covered with marzipan with an undercoat of fruit puree to hold it in place. White fondant topped the royal cake.
"I would have liked to have seen a break from the stoic, expected white-on-white cake. It's a fresh-air moment in the monarchy," Vincent said. "But the bottom line is it is a royal cake. It is a traditional cake."
American brides will likely pick up on many elements from the royal wedding cake, Vincent said.
"I truly believe her cake will have an impact on the market," she said.
One of the biggest trends Vincent expects to see is the romantic use of flowers.
"It was an innovation of the Victorian era where they gave special meaning to each of the flowers," Vincent said.
The royal wedding cake included 17 floral designs, with interpretive meanings including strength, beauty and innocence.
Along with the "language of flowers" theme, Vincent expects to see brides following the royal wedding cake's extension work, cipher and inverted hearts.
"It's a nice balance and adds a scalloped feel to the whole thing. The trend has been stacked upright cakes, but now, we may see more of these rounds coming out from the center column," she said.
In addition to the cake, royal wedding watchers were interested in and commenting on the bride and groom's choice of food at the lunchtime reception.
Some items on the menu would fit right in at an American wedding reception: palmiers and cheese straws, roulade of goat cheese with caramelized walnuts, poached asparagus with hollandaise and chocolate truffles.
Others are unmistakably British: bubble and squeak with confit shoulder of lamb, miniature Yorkshire pudding with roast filet of beef and quail eggs with celery salt.
"Brides will be able to look at the menu and say, 'I can't make the whole menu, but I can make this or that,'â€„" Vincent said.
If she were at the reception, she would sample the Cornish crab salad on lemon blini and passion fruit praline, she said.
Meaning behind the flowers
According to the official royal wedding website, each of the 17 flower designs on the cake carried an individual meaning. They include:
White Rose: National symbol of England
Daffodil: National symbol of Wales, new beginnings
Shamrock: National symbol of Ireland
Thistle: National symbol of Scotland
Acorns, Oak Leaf: Strength, endurance
Ivy: Wedded love, marriage
Lily-of-the-Valley: Sweetness, humility
Rose (Bridal): Happiness, love
Sweet William: Grant me one smile
Honeysuckle: The bond of love
Apple Blossom: Preference, good fortune
White Heather: Protection, wishes will come true
Jasmine (White): Amiability
Daisy: Innocence, beauty, simplicity
Orange Blossom: Marriage, eternal love, fruitfulness
Lavender: Ardent attachment, devotion, success and luck
Original Print Headline: Food critic 'disappointed' in royal cake
Natalie Mikles 918-581-8486
Vincent: "If you look at it from far away, it's absolutely lovely, but I was a little disappointed in the execution of the technique."
The eight-tiered wedding cake, bearing the initials W & C, was made by Fiona Cairns and her team. JOHN STILLWELL/AP
Members of the team put the finishing touches to the royal wedding cake designed by Fiona Cairns. JOHN STILLWELL/ Associated Press