how we're choosing our wedding cake PART I

A few of Ron's creations.


SUGAR! That is pretty much all I had to eat on Friday.

Since so many of our vendors were only able to meet with us weekdays from 9-5, Mike and I decided to stack all of our appointments on one Friday (three-day weekend, natch) and take a glorious vacation day for wedding planning. The men reading this might be rolling their eyes at that adjective, but since 75% of the day's activities consisted of eating cake, frosting, and toasted marshmallow, even Mike was in a high-fiving mood. Plus, sleeping in!

A quick note on our cake-choosing before we start: we are very lucky that The Plaza includes your choice of either Ron Ben-Israel or Sylvia Weinstock to make your wedding cake. While Mike and I both love pretty things (Mike more), I doubt we would have been able to hire either of these bakers independently, so having the option truly was the ... frosting on the cake (I went there).

OK, back to real frosting: Our first stop of the day was at the venerable Ron Ben-Israel's studio in Soho. While Ron sometimes may seem sometimes sadistic as the host of Sweet Genius, in person he's absolutely delightful and did not force us to incorporate frozen spinach or jelly beans into our wedding cake.

Ron's studio. That's Ron at the computer! 


The studio itself is like porn if you adore cakes. Many of his past creations from magazine spreads were set up around the room, which made for amazing ogling. Once I wiped the drool from my mouth, Ron sat us down at a table, gave us sticky notes (blue for Mike and pink for me, nice touch) and told us to mark whatever we liked, whether that be the whole cake, a design element or a color.

Ron's binder of photos. Note the blue and pink stickys. 


Once we finished, he came back over to look at designs with us and we tried to zero in on one shape that we all agreed on. Long story short: we're torn between three very different types of cake, so we're taking a few days to decide what makes the most sense for us. Ron took copious notes on all of our likes and dislikes, so when we do decide on a creation, he'll have everything handy. You'll have to wait until after the wedding to see what we chose, I'm afraid.

Rob had us bring our save the date for design inspiration.


And then it was time for the tasting. Is there anything better than having cake for breakfast? Especially when it's Ron Ben-Israel's cake? I don't believe so. Luckily, it was an appropriate amount for 9 AM, but we still left nearly diabetic.

The cake slices are standard flavors (vanilla, chocolate, lemon and almond) while the right side are extras that we requested (red velvet and carrot, plus more frostings, including salted caramel) 


Here's the breakdown of the inside of wedding cakes, in case you didn't know: Most couples choose two cake flavors (you can do just one if you want) and then add up to three different frosting layers in between. Editors note: most of the time this means guests are served in alternating flavors. If you're coming to a wedding alone, I suggest you get chummy with your seat mates so you can swap flavors if so desired. If you're good at math -- or looking at the picture above -- you'll see that means there's FOUR layers for cake, which is never a bad thing. You can choose all frosting to be the same flavor, or pick up to three per cake, meaning six total. Each frosting level in the photo above is a different flavor, so your possible combinations are nearly endless. My favorite was definitely the cookies and cream, which I know my mother will gasp at. Hi mom!

Tasting time! Mike says he's sorry he is THE WORST AT SMILING IN PHOTOS.


It was easier for us to decide on cake flavors than frosting flavors, but Ron is a sweet genius (see what I did there?) at figuring out flavor trios, so we landed on two fantastic cake/filling options, if I do say so myself. This portion of the meeting consisted solely of Ron telling us to scoop up specific frostings in one bite and then eating them. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. I wouldn't mind starting out every Friday with frosting pairings.

While we didn't make any final decisions on Friday surrounding the cake, I can't recommend visiting Ron's studio enough. I've really never seen cakes that stunning in person before.

Mike, Ron and me! 

name-changing (or not): it's crossed the pond!

favorite things: the facial edition