Tagline: The ultimate guide to choosing your wedding cake.
Who is this magazine for? You’re getting married – congratulations! Here, take this spade. What you need to do is dig a good-sized hole, say about two feet wide and four feet deep, and put all your money in it. If you can, try and put some other people’s money in it too; family, friends, it doesn’t really matter.
Now douse it all in flammable liquid – petrol is good, but brandy for fancy – and light it, with each of you holding a white candle to the notes until the flames reach a good height. Et voila! You’ve saved yourselves a year or more of organising strife.
Alternatively, you can buy the Wedding Cakes magazine. Because who hasn’t been to a wedding of a close family member or friend and thought, ‘You know, that wedding could have been a touching celebration of their love and a privilege to share with them, but unfortunately, I’ll never, ever forget that their cake was cagwazz*.’
What did you get for your £4.99? Wedding Cakes gets off to a confusing start, with the opening page proudly stating that the mag has been ‘published a month earlier so you can see all the trends for the season ahead.’ A month earlier than what?
Leaving time-travel to one side, the very first picture gives clear indication of what to expect. This cake has 7 tiers, three bunches of flowers and is tall enough to be a supporting pillar for an especially camp summerhouse. It also looks as appetising as a supporting pillar for an especially camp summerhouse. These are cakes that have gone way beyond trying to appeal to the traditional senses of taste and feel, instead focusing entirely on the look, and, who knows, maybe the sound of their glorious presence. Under no circumstances are these cakes designed to see the inside of your colon.
Despite the tagline, it is important to be aware that Wedding Cakes is not actually a guide to choosing your wedding cake. It certainly doesn’t answer my pressing cake related enquiries. Is buttercream icing passé? Stacking how many tiers would constitute showing off like a prick? Must you use traditional cake mixture, or are other types of cake acceptable, such as urinal?
No, it is just hundreds of cake pictures. Possibly thousands.
Features: There is some occasional respite from the resplendant waves of cake. In the ‘Get The Look’ section, we find out achieving that ornate, gilded rococo look is simply a matter of slapping on quite a lot of delicious ‘warm brown paste food colour’, edible glue and dust food. Was that a chorus of ‘mmm’s’ I heard out there? I think so.
Turning this yummy combination into a wedding cake is explained overleaf. This process is expected to happen over a period of four days, which is more time than I’ve spent in some full-time jobs.
The ingredients are split into two sections; edibles (eight items, which include – and I’m quoting directly here – ‘cakes’) and equipment (over 20 items, taking up most of the page and including things like celbuds, foam mat and a ‘ball tool’). The timeline provides another clue as to what these cakes are really for. ‘First half of day 1 – bake cakes. Days 1, 2, 3 and 4 – spend 84 hours turning cakes into furniture.’ Total number of instruction steps – thirty-six. Total number of these steps related to baking edible cake – zero.
Elsewhere, we have a ‘real wedding’ story where blushing bride Emily mentions the urns decorating the reception room the same number of times as her husband’s name (he’s called Ernie). There’s also a guide on how to create a ‘wonderful woodland theme’ on your big day. Paraphrasing only slightly, this guide consists of three tips; use berries in your cake, try and get some wood on the table, use a table.
What else? Ah yes, more pictures of cake.
Adverts: Flicking through the mag turns up suspiciously regular mentions of a company called ‘Squires Kitchen’. I’m willing to believe that the premium cake decorating market is fairly small, but Squires does seem to have a finger in every one of the elegant pies on offer.
There it is on the back cover. Here it is featured in all three of the recipes. And here’s the subject of the ‘meet the designer’ section, giving SK’s flower paste a totally unplanned shout out as the cake decorating item she’d would take to a desert island.
Her opinion is to be taken with a pinch of dust food however, partly because she attempts to explain what a mood board is by saying it’s ‘kind of a real-life Pinterest’. And partly because she would take SK’s flower paste to a desert island.
Letters page: No letters page I’m afraid. How about some more pictures of cake?
It’s pictures of cake.
If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s plenty to enjoy; I daresay no other magazine boasts more cakey pictures across a back catalogue of 54 issues. But unless you’re a floral paste rococo curl fetishist, this is unlikely to be the food porn for you.
Bowl lickers can bog off.
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* © Hannah Knight