My grandmother's retirement job was professional cake maker. This was in the 1980s so please exorcise any images from The Great British Bake Off or similar. It was a time when icing often had a light paper towel pattern, and superheroes were made from cake pans that resembled them. I am somehow able to recall that I had a pretty enviable Wonder Woman cake for my fourth birthday. It's important to note that her skills went beyond birthdays and anniversaries. My grandmother also made wedding cakes.
Because of her, I know how difficult a wedding can be. That's why I was shocked to learn, via a TikTok from Alyssa Holmes, that her friend was planning on making her own wedding cake. Even if it was the simplest cake in all the land, I can't imagine a worse idea for the bride. Her friends talked her into getting a quick and easy cake that turned out to be well worth the $21 they paid for it.
Don't buy your cake from a grocery store.
According to Alyssa, who goes by @alyssaraeholmes on TikTok, her Roman Empire is her best friend Alex's wedding cake. In September 2023, Alex was slated to get married in what Alyssa describes as a pretty laid-back wedding. Unlike a lot of people, Alex was a very chill bride.
She was so chill that much of the wedding was pretty DIY/shoestring. The event itself was being held in her parents' backyard and Alex volunteered to bake her own wedding cake. By the way, this was supposed to happen the night before the wedding. Alyssa, as well as Alex's other friends, immediately talked her out of this.
"Let's outsource," said Alyssa to her entirely too chill pal. "Go buy a cake." Alex eventually relented when Alyssa told her "no one really eats the cake." I have no idea what she is talking about here. My only reasons for attending a wedding is its food and, in particular, the cake. If folks aren't eating their wedding cake, slide it my way.
To make things as easy as possible, Alex requested a simple white cake. It's virtually impossible to get something like that wrong, and yet, here we are. No muss, no fuss, just some flowers and the words "Just Married," written across the top. What could possibly go wrong?
This is all happened in Canada which is why I had to google Fortinos, the place they landed on for the cake. Fortinos is a grocery store though I can't figure out what its American counterpart could be. Judging by their website, it's giving off something akin to a Wegmans perhaps? If that's true, then I would trust a cake from Fortinos. The cakes at Wegmans are amazing. I also have a trash palate, so there's that.
The logic was solid. Not only does Fortinos have a bakery, but some of their cakes already look like the classic white cake example Alyssa and her friends found online. They showed the baker a photo of what they were looking for and verbally explained what was needed. "Yes, of course. That's no problem," he said. "Pick it up Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and you're good to go."
Again, this was a last-minute request, so what happened next didn't surprise or anger anyone. The day of the wedding, a few people were getting their makeup done when they received a text from Alex's friend. She had the cake and it looked ... different.
What she got was a round white cake with eight dollops of icing scattered around its perimeter. Written on the inside in tiny red font was "just Married!" It was not in cursive. It was not white icing. "Why is the red, clown red," Alyssa asked.
Thankfully everyone had a sense of humor. The cake was actually a huge hit, and I totally get it. These are the things people will remember. A plain white cake can be found at any wedding. What really sticks out for people, is chaotic red font that is vaguely threatening. And what is a marriage, if not chaos?