26 Jul 2011
If you’re cheesed off with traditional sweet cakes, why not enjoy a savoury slice instead?
If purple is the new black, could cheese be the new chocolate? It certainly looks like it could when it comes to wedding cakes as couples with less of a sweet tooth are increasingly going crackers over cheese.
One or two culinary pioneers ventured into the realm of cheese wedding cakes as early as 2004, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the trend really began to emerge. Now, just five years later, there are more than 20 companies churning out cheese wedding cakes around the country, and all are reporting steady or increased sales.
‘I first noticed the gap in the market around five years ago,’ said Jane Taylor, owner of the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Company. ‘But to be honest even I was sceptical and couldn’t quite see how it could work. Then I started putting together different wheels of cheese and it all just seemed to fall into place.
‘Now we’ve advanced it one step further by offering hand-stitched bandaged or waxed cheeses which give the couple more decorative options and provide a more weddingy appearance.’
As with more traditional wedding cakes, cheesy versions come in a wide variety of colours (not just white, orange and mouldy). There are numerous shade combinations to choose from and a wealth of decoration options, including fruit, flowers, feathers and ribbons, to ensure you have an individually customised cake. And, as an added bonus, you can also regionalise your bespoke cake with layers of cheese from the bride and groom’s home counties.
‘We specialise in Yorkshire cheeses,’ said Jane, ‘but that’s not set in stone. Wensleydale makes an appearance more often than not, but one of the most popular choices for couples is actually Cornish yarg which is wrapped in nettles. People really like its rustic look.’
Most people seem to stick with a fairly traditional cheese board of choices when it comes to choosing the layers of their cake, with creamy Lancashire, Cheshire,Wensleydale and red Leicester cropping up again and again as the usual suspects teamed with Cornish yarg, blue stilton and British brie.
There are any number of more unusual cheeses to choose from though, with the likes of Northumberland nettle, Shropshire blue and even red hot Mexican cheese starting to emerge from the ranks. ‘I do advise people to stay clear of soft cheeses,’ said Jane. ‘Brie can be a very tricky customer – it can take on a life of its own at a warm reception venue.’
Some argue that cheese wedding cakes are not just the right option in terms of taste and appearance (if looked after properly and refrigerated until the last possible moment), they are also more cost effective at around £150-200 for a 7.5 kilo cake (enough to feed around 75 people).
They can also be incorporated into the celebratory meal as a cheese course – ticking two boxes for the price of one – and any leftovers can be kept for weeks in the fridge, making meal planning a darn sight easier when the happy, hungry couple are back from their honeymoon. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to top your lasagne with grated Victoria sponge or treat your beloved to a toasted fruit cake sandwich. It is, after all, a matter of taste.