If you watched the Discovery Home and Health Weddings Live Show last weekend then you would have seen their feature on the latest trends with wedding cakes. One of the eye-catching cakes they showed, which they claim is becoming an increasingly popular choice with modern brides, is the Croquembouche.
The Croquembouche is a tower of profiteroles (choux pastry puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream) which are coated in a thin crust of crispy caramel. The “glue” which holds the puffs together in their stunning pyramid shape is melted toffee or chocolate ganache. The delicious pyramid usually rests on a base or stand made of edible nougatine.
This unique tower of delicacies looks stunning but for extra effect you can choose to have them decorated further. There are plenty of creative ways of decorating the Croquembouche including:
♥ sugarcraft work including sugar flowers scattered around the top and sides of the tower
♥ webs of spun sugar cascading down the sides
♥ sugared almonds sticking out in between the puffs and scattered around the base - you could choose dragees to match the colour scheme of your wedding (have a look at the selection available on Confetti.co.uk)
♥ strings of light-catching crystals threaded around the base
♥ a small cake topper or ornament for the top of the tower
♥ small fresh flowers either studded around the base of the tower and/or sat on the top peak
♥ curls of ribbon matching the colours of your wedding theme
♥ drizzles of melted white, dark or milk chocolate cascading down the tower
♥ fresh strawberries or other fruit placed around the base of the tower
There are lots of variations on the Croquembouche fillings too to suit your own personal taste. Alternatives fillings include coffee, lemon cream, amaretto cream and strawberry mousse.
Who invented the Croquembouche?
The Croquembouche originated in France back in the early 18th century as their traditional wedding cake. Back then guests would bring their own sweet breads to the wedding reception and would use them to create a tower. The newlyweds would attempt to kiss over the top of the sweet bread tower as this was said to bring them prosperity and fertility for their future life together! When French patissiers invented choux filled pastries (profiteroles) these were brought to weddings instead of the simple sweet breads and they were balanced into a pyramid. The Croquembouche has certainly evolved since then, with many different variations of the original version being made by chocolatiers and patissiers all over the Europe and America.
The cutting of the cake
Traditionally the Croquembouche is served by the bride and groom hitting it hard with a sword and the bridesmaids catching the pieces in a tablecloth. Nowadays the more popular and functional option for cutting the Croquembouche are:
♥ The bride and groom pose with a knife against the Croquembouche for the benefit of photos being taken and it is then whisked away by the catering staff for dismantling and serving to the guests
♥ A metal hammer is often provided by the cake-makers for the bride and groom to knock the top of the tower off (perhaps a safer option than using a sword!)
♥ If the bride and groom are feeling very daring they could cut into the top section of the Croquembouche or simply pick one profiterole each off of the top of the pyramid and feed it to each other
How to serve the Croquembouche
The Croquembouche can be used in addition to, or as an alternative to, dessert at your wedding reception. Ideally if you are serving it in place of wedding cake you should allow a portion of 3 profiteroles per guest, or if you are serving it as the main dessert then allow a portion of 5 profiteroles per guest. A delicious idea is to serve the Croquembouche to your guests with a choice of raspberry coulis, chocolate sauce or fresh cream.
If you choose an informal catering package you could leave your Croquembouche for guests to break off pieces themselves.
If it’s good enough for Madonna …….
Madonna and Guy Ritchie chose a Croquembouche for their December 2000 wedding at Skibo Castle. Their bespoke confection featured pomegranates, golden tassles, green ivy and hot chocolate sauce. It was created by master patissier Eric Lanlard of Savoir Design, whose elaborate Croquembouche have garnered him a fantastic reputation and an A-list clientele.
Advantages of choosing a Croquembouche for your wedding
♥ Not only is the Croquembouche absolutely delicious but visually it creates a truly breathtaking centerpiece for your wedding reception – something to capture your guests‘ attention. Standing at a minimum of 18 inches high for the smallest version the Croquembouche definately stands out!
♥ Although they are becoming very popular the Croquembouche is still viewed as a unique style of wedding cake, so dare to be different!
♥ The Croquembouche is fully transportable and does not need refrigeration.
♥ Each profiterole is baked fresh on the morning of your wedding and then stacked up into a tower.
♥ You can have a tower of 700 pieces so there will be plenty to go around at your wedding reception.
♥ If you prefer to stick with tradition and have a tiered wedding cake at your wedding reception, perhaps you could have the Croquembouche solely as your dessert or choose a smaller one simply as an eye-catching centerpiece.
How much does a Croquembouche cost
The cost of the Croquembouche varies depending on what size you are going to require for your wedding reception which depends on how many guests you will be feeding. I had a look on the internet at Wedding-Cakes.co.uk who are a British based company and they have a lovely selection of Croquembouche on their website for you to peruse. Their prices start at £245 for a 120 piece Croquembouche which is comparatively cheaper than the average cost of a traditional tiered and decorated wedding cake, which is £300.
If you wanted to be adventurous and try to make your own Croquembouche then check out the mold available at Amazon.com (cost $124.71) or Widerview.com (cost $109.95). For the recipe I found that this one was easy to follow (and free!) or you could buy the recipe book “A Sweet Quartet“ which contains the recipe for the Croquembouche (available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk).
The Croquembouche is radically changing the shape of wedding cakes for the future by providing a modern twist to the traditional tiered wedding cake. Your cake is really important part of your special day so why not try something unique and memorable!
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