Proof Martha Stewart Has Always Been Way Ahead of Wedding Cake Trends
Wedding cakes have arguably become the centerpiece of wedding receptions and though we associate many current trends like naked wedding cakes and dessert tables as brand new concepts, Martha Stewart may have actually popularized these ideas as early as the '90s. Martha Stewart Weddings sent us eight cakes from the archives, and I spoke to Darcy Miller, editor at large, to provide the backstory to each photo. She told me how Martha Stewart has impacted the wedding industry, "20+ years ago, Martha was thinking personalization — putting your personal touch. Today, we see that with everything — from cakes, to favors, to seating charts, to the main course. It's important to us to inspire our couples to add character and personalization to their big days."
The Trend: Floral and Buttercream Detailing
This particular cake embodies the late '80s and early '90s: stacked tiers (held up with pillars), iced with buttercream, and garnished with intricate piped-on flowers. Many American women, like my mom, became addicted to learning these icing piping techniques and relied on Martha Stewart magazines and cookbooks for how-tos. My mom used the same techniques to pipe paint onto Easter baskets and sold them to Neiman Marcus! I know another mom who started a side wedding cake business thanks to her icing skills, learned from Martha. Though this exact cake design has gone out of style, some brides opt for more classic wedding cakes with floral and buttercream detailing.
The Trend: Naked Cakes
Though this cake made its preview in the '90s, it certainly looks straight out of present day. Darcy explains, "Naked cakes have become a staple in weddings and this cake, a spiced applesauce cake with cream cheese filling, is from 18 years ago (1999)."
The Trend: Textured / Patterned Cakes
"Texture and pattern can be inspired by so much — from architecture to fabrics," Darcy tells us. This includes pearls, as popularized by famous cake shops like Magnolia Bakery.
The Trend: Edible Flowers
Roses and edible flowers frequently garnish wedding cakes. Though this particular design isn't, floral emphasis is still popular.
The Trend: Personalized Wedding Cakes
Couples now are choosing all sorts of ways to personalize a cake, from the cake flavor itself to the design, but that wasn't always the case. In the '90s, Martha was already brainstorming ways to go beyond the standard and classic wedding cake.
The Trend: Cakes That Match the Dress
Cakes inspired by dresses isn't a new concept, and more brides are designing cakes to match their dress designs. Back in the first issue of Martha Stewart Weddings in 1995, Martha was already doing this. Darcy says, "This is Ron Ben-Israel's carrot cake, covered in rich white-chocolate buttercream. This was inspired by a Carolina Herrera gown; its buttons, bows, and daisies are made of pastillage, a dough of confectioners’ sugar, gelatin, cornstarch, and water. The perfect medium for very precise details — like the stitching on these ribbons." Side note, Ben Israel owns the weddingcakes.com domain — he's that huge.
The Trend: Dessert Tables
Wedding dessert tables seem like a trendy concept many coupes are opting for in lieu of a wedding cake, and yes, Martha Stewart may have popularized it. "The tradition of having one wedding cake has now opened up: couples can have individual cakes per table or per person, having numerous different cakes and desserts, cupcakes instead of cakes — the sky’s the limit. This is yet another way to personalize and add your favorites to your wedding. This beautiful table is from 1999 with five different desserts," says Darcy.