The cake is the centerpiece of the reception and yet another way you can personalize your day.

By Dana Butler | Photography by Annette Slade

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There was a time when a wedding cake was white: white cake, white frosting, a touch of raspberry filling. Maybe it tasted good, maybe it didn’t, but the layers were both pretty and instantly recognizable as a “wedding” cake. Then there was a time when every cake was enrobed in thick—and expensive—fondant to which any number of decorations could be attached. However, times are changing.

Sadie Russo of La Patisserie Francaise says she’s definitely seeing trends from the larger food world finding their way into the requests she receives for wedding cakes. For example, she tells us, for the last three tastings she did, the bride asked that she bring mocha as one of the options. “It’s a little surprising,” she says, “because coffee is really a love it or hate it thing. But there is a coffee shop on every corner, so …” She also cites salted caramel and lavender as flavors from the pages of gourmet food magazines that may pop up in her gourmet cakes.

Russo’s cake menu—all of which can be made into wedding cake tiers—includes a variety of rich and classic flavors, such as cinnamon, hazelnut, lemon, coconut, praline, peach, strawberry and marzipan. Cake can be soaked in liquor for added punch, and the buttercream—which Russo says approaches the smooth finish of fondant yet has good flavor— can be studded with dried cranberries, pecan halves, shaved chocolate or sliced almonds. Want to celebrate your Southern heritage? Peach Melba. Looking to preview your honeymoon in France? Perhaps the Grand Marnier–laden Marquis. If it’s not on the menu, Russo says they are willing to try their hand at just about anything.

So is “traditional” completely out the window? Russo does say that one of her favorites from the bakery’s extensive cake menu is the Raspberry Duchess, which includes layers of raspberry preserves and white chocolate mousse, but in reality, she says, “I don’t even know what ‘traditional’ means anymore.” As customizing the exteriors of cakes has become the norm with colors, designs and cake toppers that are in tune with your personality, it’s important to remember that the inside filling and flavors can also be tailor-made to your taste.

La Patisserie Francaise, 303-424-5056, lapatbakery.com