After months of thinking about how to make the most delicious wedding cake possible, Rachel Karten and Roxanne Rosensteel, a pastry chef based in Santa Barbara, California, concluded that only one type of wedding cake could fit the bill: a big cake
The original plan was to have four, but when Karten, Bon Appétit’s former head of social media, saw the 3-foot-long cake at designer Sandy Liang’s wedding in June, she asked Rosensteel if it might be possible to combine four cakes into one. one.
Was. Rosensteel baked a chiffon cake with olive oil and plum jam, topped with burnt honey buttercream and delicate purple gomphrena flowers that measured just over 4 and a half feet, a size dictated by the width of the car. Rosensteel. (Other bakers may travel with the cake in parts and assemble it on site.)
The mega cake was momentous for reasons beyond its size: It was part of an emerging trend of extremely long cakes appearing around the world. But they are alike only in their oversized proportions: bakers are putting their unique spin on large-format desserts to produce cakes of all shapes and flavors, and for all occasions. Zélikha Dinga, a Paris-based chef, baked a 5-foot-long semicircle cake for stylist and model Shawn Lakin’s wedding to Matt Spector in Michigan in September. That same month, Blanca Miró Scrimieri, content creator and influencer, celebrated her birthday with a more than 5-foot-long Brazo Gitano, a Spanish roll, baked by Pastry Gas in Barcelona. Julia Gallay of Gallz Provisions in Toronto baked a 7-foot-long floral cake for a pop-up event at a friend’s bar, passing it through a window.
These oversized foodscapes may seem modern now, but the intersection of food and large-scale art is nothing new. “Food has always been a symbol of wealth and status,” said Geraldine A. Johnson, head of the art history department at Oxford University.
“From the 16th century onwards, there was a growing fascination among European elites with elaborate banquets that included sculptures made of food,” Professor Johnson said. “At the wedding of Marie de’ Medici and the French king Henry IV in 1600, the elaborate table decorations included almost life-size gilded sugar sculptures of the bride and groom.”
In a more contemporary context, one could reference “Les dîners de Gala,” Salvador Dalí’s surrealist cookbook published in 1973, for scenes of sprawling tables and towers of food. And more recently, artist and chef Laila Gohar has been making large-scale desserts at high-profile events since 2019, including 50 feet of sweets last year that fed 3,000 people.
Now, unlike the micro-gatherings and individually wrapped treats necessitated by the pandemic, the trend has arrived at weddings, along with oversized charcuterie boards and their newest iteration, butter boards. “This idea of a more messy, communal dessert is probably going to be something that people will continue to do,” said Karten, who married Greg Costanzo in September.
Then there is, of course, the appeal of these ostentatious offers on social media. In general, Ms. Karten said, “at weddings there is a pressure to attract attention. “More and more people are trying to do things or small details that can attract attention online or set a trend.”
Delaney Lundquist, an interior stylist and design manager in Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the first to document the mega cake trend on TikTok. “I hope it’s not too much for May 2024,” said Lundquist, 31, who is currently planning his own wedding. “I’m dreaming of a tiramisu several feet long.”
She doesn’t need to worry. The trend is “probably just getting started,” Gallay said.
Kassie Mendieta, a cake decorator and recipe developer in Los Angeles, warned, however, that what might at first seem like a humble cake can still present a challenge.
“I can confirm that it is not easier than making a tiered cake,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to think, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be so easy.’”