Displaying Wedding Cake in Hot Weather Receptions
Having an outdoor wedding reception in the spring and summer months is a beautiful choice. Mother Nature offers a more picturesque backdrop than even the fanciest ballroom or hotel, plus you’ve got all that fabulous natural lighting for your photos! But an outdoor reception means you’ll also have to take extra precautions to protect your wedding cake against hot weather.
Choose Filling and Icing That Will Hold Up in Heat
If you know you are hosting an outdoor wedding reception, the weather will have to guide your choices in the icing and filling you choose for your wedding cake. You don’t want your $700 cake to start sweating, melting, and sliding 20 minutes into the reception.
Fondant is generally considered a good summer wedding cake icing since it stays put once set, although it does tend to sweat in the heat. Buttercream icing made with real butter will soften in warm temperatures, but asking your baker to substitute vegetable shortening in the recipe will substantially extend the life of your cake.
Whipped cream, marzipan, cheesecake, ganache, and mousse icings and fillings are definitely out for any summer wedding cake because of their butter and/or dairy bases. The best wedding cake filling for hot weather is probably chopped fresh fruit, which isn’t compromised in high temperatures at all.
Choose Wedding Cake Flowers That Will Stand the Heat
A wedding cake decorated with brightly-colored flowers looks amazing, but a cake covered in wilting blooms is a sad sight to behold. If you plan on an outdoor reception, carefully choose hardy flowers that will last all evening.
Flowers like orchids, lilies, dahlias, and roses hold up well in heat. Any tropical flower, though more expensive, thrives in heat because of its natural climate. Hydrangeas, lilies of the valley, stephanotis, tulips, and lilacs are sensitive to heat and should be avoided.
Transporting the Cake
If you are responsible for transporting your own cake, make sure to turn on the car and blast the A/C for a few minutes before loading the wedding cake inside. Air conditioning doesn’t cool off trunk space, so let the cake ride in the passenger or back set.
Even inside an air conditioned car, the sun beating on the cake through the windows can be harsh, so it’s a good idea to have them in a cooler or at least in a cardboard box to block out some of the sun’s rays.
Refrigerate Wedding Cake as Much as Possible
Transport the wedding cake tiers in coolers or containers with ice in them (an ice block, rather than ice cubes, will melt less and cause less moisture inside the cooler.)
Find out ahead of time if there is a refrigerator, or at least an air conditioned room, near the reception site where the wedding cake can be stored until the last minute.
Display Summer Wedding Cakes in the Shade
Leaving your wedding cake in direct sunlight will facilitate melted frosting and wilted flowers. Strategically place the cake table in the shade. Popular spots might include under a tree, umbrella, or canopy.
Outdoor wedding receptions are fraught with heat and humidity, the two biggest enemies to wedding cakes. But with some foresight, you can minimize the damage by choosing the right icing and decorations, then being very careful about how you transport and display the cake on the wedding day.
♥ Jenny Evans
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