acrimonious (ah-kri-MOAN-ee-us), adjective

Angry; bitter; disputed.

I cannot count the number of wedding cakes I have been the first to cut. Each time I wait for the fondant to break, to reveal what scrumptious layer of cake we’re all about to enjoy. I do not dare count the number of times I have been disappointed. The tradition of a wedding cake is as important as the dress, and just as acrimonious to each father-of-the-bride’s wallet.

Classic chocolate with chocolate ganache. The cake is too dry. It must be dense enough to hold three layers of ganache and a moist, fluffy batter would be crushed under three tiers of  tasteless fondant. Fondant. What a horrible way to weigh down the happiest day of your life. I have collected the plates left on tables as full, drunken, happy guests fly to the dance floor. While I gather champagne glasses, assuming that even if it is still one third full, its owner probably can’t remember which is hers, I scrape a pile of fondant onto my tray, neatly stacking plates to the side of the misused pile of forks. When the tray is so full of pearly white fondant, soiled by the dry chocolate peeled from its underside, I return it to the kitchen where late night trash bins fill with uneaten wedding cake. Cake that costs nearly as much as renting the stemware.

Red velvet and white on white are the most popular. I don’t know why. Is chocolate harder to conceal? Not with quarter inch thick fondant at the ready. Most people chose one dark and one light layer of cake. The worst we ever had was pistachio. I scrape away edible pearls that are hardly edible, thick glittery rose petals pushed out of white frosting tubes. No, no glitter. That would be tacky. But real flowers pushed into the seams of your towering dessert is lovely. Until they are piled neatly on my tray like a landfill. I have seen it all. The groom statue with a tiny football helmet on his head adds an amusing touch to an otherwise serious day. A plastic bride drags her drunken groom across the tiny top tier of cake, which makes everyone laugh, except for the groom.

With perfect timing, the newlyweds lovingly push cake into each other’s mouths then quickly step onto the dance floor for their first, cake-messied dance. With the attention on them, we sneak the cake upstairs, where a table full of tiny white plates and perfectly polished three tined forks are waiting. The ornate dessert slams onto the table and away I work. Carefully pealing the top tier off to return to its box for the bride and groom, then I start in on the bottom layer. The first piece is always messy. That’s when we judge the value of this cake and whether or not there should be more than one messy cut on my part. Usually one piece is enough to tell. Around in a circle, I cut piece by piece until what is left is the innards of the most expensive wedding cake this bride could have gotten. If only the bridal party could see their masterpiece after I’m through with it.

What is left is ugly, droopy. Plastic support towers poke through the top yet each piece we send out is a perfect fraction of the beauty that has happened here today. Afterwards, we collect the half-eaten plates, the most beautiful center piece second to the bride and groom has been decimated, pushed around plates, squished between forks and drowned out by too much wine and a keg that’s still half full.

Yes, the ceremonious, acrimonious idea of a wedding cake is great, but absolutely the most wasteful part of any wedding. Everyone is eager to clean out the bar, to drink until the tab has run out, but no one wants to keep the inside of a twenty inch diameter cake that’s been cut into two hundred perfect pieces, hardly eaten by anyone.


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