Wedding Superstitions & Traditions: Wedding Day Weather

Steve Randon Studio.

Not a rainy Saturday goes by that I don’t think about it being someone’s wedding day.  The bride who wakes to drizzle or downpour will certainly hear over and over that rain is good luck, as she attempts to keep frizzy hair at bay and her dress out of puddles.  Of course, no one has control over the weather, so there is no point in worrying about it.  (Note: Worrying and having a back up plan are two different things entirely.)

But what’s with this good luck theory?  Is it simply a made up concoction courtesy of well meaning family and friends attempting to cheer up a rainy day bride?  While the origin of this superstition is not entirely clear, multiple cultures have something to say about wedding day weather.

Rain is said to be good luck as it washes away sadness and sorrow.  It is also said to increase fertility.  The Hindus wisely observed that “a wet knot is much more difficult to unravel.”  Americans tend to embrace the good luck theory as well, while the Irish are divided.  Some agree it is a blessing while others believe rain prior to a wedding foretells of a lifetime of tears.  Other folklore states that windy or cloudy skies predict a stormy marriage, but falling snow brings peacefulness and warmth.

Superstitions aside, many photographers appreciate shooting on a rainy, overcast day as lighting is often optimal, free of unflattering shadows created by harsh sunlight.  Colors appear brighter and more saturated when wet, enhancing the richness and look of both buildings and nature.  And wet pavement can cast beautiful reflections.  Use gray skies to your advantage to create unexpected shots that enhance your true bridal beauty.  If the forecast is looking bleak, discuss unique, rainy day image options with your photographer.

Embrace your wedding day weather no matter what.  If the forecast calls for rain, make a plan B and stick to it.  Rain or shine, make your own good luck!  ~ M.T.

 

Freeze Your Cake and Eat It Too

If you’d like to keep with popular tradition and freeze the top tier of your wedding cake, but fear freezer burn and a sketchy tasting cake 365 days from now, we’ve got you covered.  Here’s how to successfully store your big-day-dessert so you can enjoy it on your one year anniversary.

  • First, remove any adornments like sugar flowers or other ornaments and set aside.
  • Chill the cake.  This allows the icing to harden so the plastic wrap doesn’t stick to it.  Chill time will vary, just be sure the icing is firm.
  • Next, wrap the unadorned cake generously and snugly in multiple layers of of plastic wrap.  Be sure there are no gaps or air pockets that might lead to dreaded freezer burn.
  • Once the cake is solidly wrapped, place it in a sturdy container, like a box, which prevents dents from other misbehaving or carelessly placed frozen foods.
  • Be sure to mark your little frozen bundle of nostalgia appropriately so you don’t mistake it for last month’s lasagna and accidentally toss it.
  • When it’s time to celebrate your first year of wedded bliss, simply remove the box from the freezer 24 hours in advance, leaving all wrappings intact, and place it in the fridge.  An hour before serving, unwrap it and set it out at room temperature.

Hints:  Consider keeping your cake at a distance from other frozen leftovers so it doesn’t absorb any unwanted flavors.

Be mindful of cakes of with delicate ingredients, like creamy fillings, that may not freeze as well as heartier flavors like almond or carrot cake.

Some event planners will see to it that your top tier is wrapped properly and given to a trusted friend or relative until you can place it in your own freezer.  And of course you always have the option of revisiting your bridal bakery prior to your anniversary and having them recreate your top tier if you’d rather not be bothered at all.

 

Did you know…?  This modern tradition stems from an old custom when couples once preserved the top tier of their wedding cake to be used at their first child’s christening or baptism, which was assumed to take place within a year of the bride and groom’s nuptials.

Live it up y’all!  – M.T.

 

Meredith handles Brand Development, Social Media and Special Projects for Haydel’s.  Keep up with all things sweet and southern right here on “Haydelicious.” 

 

 

Everything’s Better With (Cream Cheese) Icing!

What goes with cream cheese icing?  A spoon?  Really, you can pair this rich, creamy frosting with nearly any kind of cake.  Carrot cake and red velvet traditionally receive this classic topping and happen to be two of our favorites.  For those of you that enjoying baking at home, here’s a simple and proven recipe for cream cheese icing in case you don’t already have one in your arsenal.

Ingredients:

1 lb. softened butter or margarine
2 lbs. softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
4 lbs. of powdered sugar

Combine butter or margarine with cream cheese.  For best results, use the paddle attachment on mixer, instead of whisk. Once butter or margarine and cream cheese are combined, slowly mix in powdered sugar.

Makes enough for approximately 20 cupcakes depending on how much you use on each each. Clearly, we like to use a lot!  Will keep in refrigerator for several weeks.

Enjoy y’all!  – M.T.

 

 

How Does Your Big Day Match Up Against the American Average?

Wedding season is in full swing here at Haydel’s!  Our friends at the knot recently released their Real Wedding Survey encompassing 13,000 U.S. brides who walked down the aisle in 2013.  Despite the trend toward more casual celebrations, wedding budgets continue to increase.  According to our local contacts at the knot, around 200 Louisiana weddings are represented in these numbers.

2013 Wedding Stats

  • Average Wedding Budget: $29,858 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $86,916 average spend (excludes honeymoon)
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Idaho, $16,159 average spend (excludes honeymoon)
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,281
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
  • Average Number of Guests: 138
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: June and September
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (35%), Purple (26%), Pink (25%), Metallics (25%)
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

Wedding budgets have continued to rise since the economic downturn five years ago.  Carley Roney, co-founder of the knot, says much of modern couples expenses go to “creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests…”

Louisiana ranks 17th among the 25 most expensive places to get married (or where couple’s spend the most).

In our upcoming blog posts, we’ll break down some top wedding trends, like personalization and modernization, and share ideas on how you can include them in your big day!  Till then, happy planning y’all! – M.T.

 

All About Him: The Groom’s Cake

When I mentioned I was writing this blog about the origin of the groom’s cake, one of my co-workers said she always assumed it was a southern thing because we generally like to eat more than the rest of the country.  While our love affair with food is undeniable, the groom’s cake is actually of English decent, first appearing during the Victorian Era (1837-1901).  The tradition has since mostly faded away across the pond, but it’s still trendy here in the U.S., especially in the South, where we tend to have a deep appreciation for not just most things edible but also for customs of days gone by.

Like the earliest wedding cakes, groom’s cakes were originally made of fruit cake.  The modern version we know today only came about after the inception of processed flour and baking soda.  Fruit, liqueur and chocolate were common ingredients in the first groom’s cakes.  Chocolate still reigns as the most requested flavor, not only across the country, but here at Haydel’s too.

Today, we usually see the groom’s cake served alongside the wedding cake, as a compliment or additional alternative to the multi tiered showstopper, but that was not always the case.

A Mysterious Past

The groom’s cake has been linked to many a legend.  Rumor has it that there were once three separate cakes at the celebration…the wedding cake, a bride’s cake, and a groom’s cake (sounds like my kind of party!).  While the wedding cake was served to all the guests, the bride and groom’s cakes were specifically for members of the wedding party and served following the ceremony.

Some say the groom’s cake was once simply the top tier of the elaborate wedding cake, meant to be saved and enjoyed on the couple’s first anniversary.  This has since evolved into its own custom.

As a stand alone cake, we’ve heard it was common at one time to present individually wrapped slices in monogrammed boxes to each guest as a wedding favor as they left the party.

For modern couples who choose to embrace the groom’s cake tradition, the details of this masculine confection may serve as a surprise from the bride to her future husband, or they may be entirely of his choosing.  Either way, it is most often made to reflect his personal taste and even his favorite pastime or hobby.

Folklore

One superstition suggests that single ladies who placed a slice of the groom’s cake under their pillow would dream of their future husbands.  In similar lore, a ceremony in my own sorority advised that sleeping with a special piece of cake under your pillow would make your dreams true, but not specific to one’s future betrothed…although the two go hand and hand for many.

Serve It Up

Some say etiquette calls for the groom’s cake not to be served at the wedding at all.  However exceptions apparently can be made if wedding cake is the only dessert being served, with the groom’s cake following the serving of the wedding cake.  Alternatively, it has been suggested that individual slices can be boxed and given to the single women at the reception, certainly so they can place it under their pillow.

We Say…

Don’t fear the cake police.  I doubt they’ll pay you a visit on your big day.  If they do, they may be disguised as unwanted, misguided opinions, which I highly suggest you disregard.  The groom’s cake is a chance for you or your other half to have fun and be creative with the flavor and the design if you wish.  Keep it classy of course, but no matter what, remember it’s your day together, so make your own rules.  You may even start a new tradition. Check out our gallery of groom’s cakes here: http://www.haydelbakery.com/groom  – M.T.

Wedding Cake FAQ

We love these engraved forks found on The Faded Nest!

You’re getting married!  There can be a considerable amount of stress when it comes to tying the knot, but the cake is one accessory that you can definitely have some fun with and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) require too much of your time or attention.  We sat down with one of our most seasoned wedding cake specialists here at Haydel’s, Tonya H.  She’s been working with NOLA brides at Haydel’s for nearly 10 years and is often requested for wedding cake consultations for her enthusiasm and vast wedding cake knowledge.  Although she now heads up our HR department, she still makes time for bridal consultations.  Herself a bride-to-be, we popped open the bubbly and asked Tonya to share answers to some of our brides most frequently asked questions when it comes to the sweetest of plans for the big day.

How far in advance should I reserve my date?

Here at Haydel’s we typically recommend reserving your wedding date at least a 3 to 4 months in advance.  However, some dates can book up quickly, depending on time of year and popularity, so it is always best to get your date secured as soon as possible.  Your best bet is to put a call into the bakeries you’re interested in to find out if your date is available.

Do I need to make an appointment for a wedding cake consultation/tasting?

We offer wedding cake consultations Tuesday through Friday from 7:30am until 4:00pm as walk-ins only, no appointment necessary.  We do take appointments on Saturdays however, so if a Saturday is most convenient for you, give us a call to set up a time.  Don’t delay though, our Saturdays book up fast.  Every bakery varies and most include this type of information on their websites.

Do I need to specifically request a tasting or is that automatically included in the consultation? 

We prepare wedding cake samples everyday and always have them on hand. Therefore brides are welcome to walk – in anytime before 4pm on weekdays (excluding Monday) and receive a sample tray.  Even though we only do consultations on Saturdays by appointment we still try to carry a few extra samples so that if a bride happens to be in town and would simply like to pick up samples, we can usually accommodate her.

Lovely lace.

What should I bring to the appointment?

If there are any images of cakes the bride may be interested in, it is always best to have them available so that our sales specialist can assist them more accurately with design, pricing, etc.  We have an entire wedding cake album for them to view when they come in, if they do not have a specific idea in mind just yet.  Be sure to check out our wedding cake gallery on our website for some ideas too.  Color swatches from bridesmaids dresses or other samples are helpful as well.

Texture is trendy!

What’s trendy in wedding cakes right now?

There are so many unique designs out there, it’s always hard to say exactly what the trend is.  Textured trims and lace patterns have been very popular, which is quite interesting considering one is very simple and the other is ornate.

Have you given any thought to your own wedding cake yet?

I have given plenty of thought to my own wedding cake.  Working with brides and wedding cakes all day, it is hard not to!  I have decided to go with a simple, textured design.  Perhaps I’m just going with the trend right now or maybe I have seen so much that I decided to keep it simple.  I have a few ideas to add my own touch, but I’m keeping those a secret!

No matter your wedding style, have fun when it comes to designing your cake.  Don’t be afraid to let your personality show!  Most importantly, enjoy the planning process and find vendors that make your life easier…(of course a glass of champagne can also make your life easier).  Happy planning y’all! – M.T.

 

Piece of Cake: Season 1. And Only.

“Piece of Cake” :30 Promo

Call it dumb luck, coincidence, or maybe a little hustle, but for some reason, I live on the cusp of meaningless greatness, knocking on the door of insignificant notoriety.  Something big (at least in my little world) always seems to be within my grasp.  Out of the ordinary opportunity finds me.  So as I sat across from Ryan Haydel discussing the possibility of working for him, I wasn’t too surprised when he said, “About the time you would be starting, we’ll begin production on our new reality show.”  What luck!  I was at just the right place at the right moment, this time for a chance at local stardom and maybe, just maybe something more.

:30 Promo “Piece of Cake” Episode 7: Cake Battle

Pitched as a behind the scenes look at daily life in a third generation New Orleans family bakery business, much of the filming for the premier season of “Piece of Cake” took place during the summer of 2011. (Click on most of the photos in this post for a peak at various episodes).

:30 Episode 3: 610 Stompers

Now every family business has its colorful characters, but in our case, New Orleans itself quickly took the lead role.  The Big Easy consistently provides our staff with all sorts of unique real life challenges.  Navigating the pothole laden, bumpy delivery routes through the Quarter without a skilled driver at the wheel can take down an entire tier of a masterfully created wedding cake faster than you can say red beans and rice.  Without the proper precautions, our world famous humidity can cause icing and other sugary adornments to slip off a cake as quickly as a snoball melts in August.  Even the Superdome, home to our beloved Saints, was the center of our “World’s Largest King Cake” project in Episode 1, resulting in two Guinness World Records that still stand today.  Off season shenanigans provided plenty of delicious content to fill eight episodes. Oh, but the magic we could have made if we would have been shooting during carnival time.  We may have had to bump up to an hour long show to accommodate all the drama and Mardi Gras mayhem!

Episode 1: World’s Largest King Cake

My handful of brief appearances (Ryan claims they were saving me for season 2) almost always happened on accident when I inadvertently wandered into a scene and then froze on the spot.  Typical.  I’m at my best in front of a teleprompter.  Or behind a keyboard.

The show aired on our local Fox affiliate and was a hit with the ratings to match.  Each day at Haydel’s HQ started with anticipation of a possible national TV deal accompanied by lengthy conversation about how life would surely change.  And believe me, we were close.  More than once.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

:30 Promo Episode 7

Piece of Cake’s” pulse is faint, living on via DVD.  I had some good laughs relieving our 15 minutes watching a few episodes again.  And I’ll always have Episode 7, when I was not only credited with the Cake Battle idea, but even got my name onscreen, misspelled, but onscreen nonetheless.  Savor the moment y’all! – M.T.

 

In Defense of Fruitcake

You either love it or hate it.  Maybe you’ve never really given it a fair shake and deemed it unsavory based on hearsay alone.  Or perhaps you’ve actually tired it but due to preconceived notions or peer pressure, you had your mind made up that no matter how it actually tasted, you simply were not going to like it.

Legend has it that the earliest versions of fruitcake were placed on ancient Egyptian tombs for use in the afterlife, but it didn’t become common until Roman times.  And a few may argue that some of today’s fruitcakes taste as if they’ve been around since then, but perhaps if you’re not sold on it, you should consider giving fruitcake a second look.  Times have changed and so have your options.

I’ll admit that although I come from fruitcake-digging parents, I did not inherit their affection for this dense and fruity holiday treat.  So when the boss insisted I try our new fruitcake formulas (“Eat this or you’re fired.”), I was apprehensive but compliant.  And more than pleasantly surprised.

Our Haydel’s recipe has always been a big seller around the holidays, but we think the variety and taste our new recipes offer is simply terrific and appeals to traditionalists and fruitcake virgins alike.  Pineapple with Macadamia Nuts, Creole Apricot…I mean, really?!  Truly sinful y’all!  This is not fruitcake from the days of yore, I can assure you.

Perhaps you just need to find the right fruitcake for you.  The holidays are a time for second chances, so consider giving a modern version of this often misunderstood Christmas classic another try.  You might be pleasantly surprised too!  Joyeux Noel!  – M.T.

Three Cheers for the Vol-au-vent!

We love pattie shells anytime, but especially during the holidays (and yes, we spell it pattie, instead of patty…it’s NOLA, linguistics are fluid and we make our own rules).  Also known as a vol-au-vent, which sounds so much sexier, the pattie shell is an old New Orleans favorite. Here at Haydel’s, our pattie shells are prepared from our made from scratch recipe. Each shell is hand cut and the end result is a rich, buttery, flaky bite of puff pastry ready to receive your favorite filling.

In the Big Easy, the oyster pattie reigns supreme. And with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we thought we would share our classic New Orleans Oyster Pattie recipe along with something new to try if you’re feeling adventurous. I’ve personally made Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites and they are fantastic. The combination of brie and brown sugar warm out of the oven is perfection.  Enjoy y’all! – M.T.

New Orleans Oyster Patties

The pattie shell, also known as a vol-au-vent, is an old New Orleans favorite that is prepared from our “made from scratch” recipe. Each pattie shell is hand cut. The end result is a rich buttery flaky bite of puff pastry filled with your favorite recipe. – See more at: http://www.haydelbakery.com/N.O.-Pattie-Shells–48#sthash.e3Wc8T93.dpuf

The pattie shell, also known as a vol-au-vent, is an old New Orleans favorite that is prepared from our “made from scratch” recipe. Each pattie shell is hand cut. The end result is a rich buttery flaky bite of puff pastry filled with your favorite recipe. – See more at: http://www.haydelbakery.com/N.O.-Pattie-Shells–48#sthash.e3Wc8T93.dpuHere at Haydel’s, we hand cut and roll each and every one.  There are so many ways to use these light, flaky, buttery shells.  Of course in New Orleans, the oyster patty shell reigns supreme.  With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, we thought we would share a couple of our own patty shell recipes with you…a classic and something new to try if you’re feeling adventurous.  I’ve personally made Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites and they are fantastic.  The combination of brie and brown sugar is heavenly.  Enjoy y’al

1 sm. onion diced
1 sm. bell pepper diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
1T olive oil
1 pint oysters chopped
1 lg. can cream of mushroom soup
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup shredded swiss cheese
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
48 Haydel’s Bakery Pattie Shells

Sautee onions, bell pepper and garlic in the oil. Add oysters. Cook until oysters become slightly firm. Add cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper. Bring to a light boil. Add bread crumbs, swiss cheese, and parmesan. Stir until melted completely. If consistency is very thin add more bread crumbs. Consistency should be that of thick pudding. Fill a pastry bag and pipe into each shell. Bake at 350° for 10‐15 minutes.

NOTE: If you do not have a pastry bag fill a large ziplock bag and cut the corner to pipe filling into each shell.

Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites

1 medium to large size wedge of brie cheese (your choice as to whether or not remove the rind)
1 cup small chopped pecan pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
48 Haydel’s Bakery Pattie Shells

Fill each shell with enough pecans to cover the bottom.  Pull off hunks of brie and stuff it into each shell.  It’s ok if it sticks up out of the top some, because it will melt down in the oven.  Top each generously with brown sugar.  Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until cheese bubbles.  Serve immediately.

Send Us Your Favorite Fall Pie Recipe

Fall means football, tailgating, and cooler weather (eventually, right?).  And if you’re a foodie, it also calls for a change in menu.  Personally, it is hands down my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love fall baking and for all of you out there who do as well, we’ve cooked up a little contest just for you.

The Haydel’s historical recipe book is still in use at the bakery everyday.

We want your favorite fall pie recipe!  Once all submissions are received, the Haydel’s will choose their top 5 and make them.  The winner will be determined via taste test and voted on by a panel of expert judges (in other words, folks that know delicious…I am a self appointed judge and I promise, you can trust me!).  When submitting your recipe, be sure to think fall.

“Autumn comes slowly in New Orleans. The grass remains a stubborn green, but the heat gives way to a gentle warmth.”- A Love Song For Bobby Long

In addition to a $150 Haydel’s gfit card, the winning pie recipe will also be featured in an upcoming post here on Haydelicious.  We’re accepting entries now through September 15th, 2013.  The winning entry will be announced the first week of October.  You may email your recipe to info@haydelbakery.com or mail it to Fall Pie Contest, Haydel’s Bakery, 4037 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA 70121.  Please include your name, address, daytime telephone number and any interesting history or side notes about the recipe.

Get to submitting y’all and happy fall! – M.T.