American vs. Turkish: The Wedding Cake
The American wedding cake
It was a sunny, warm fall day and we had yet another wedding task to check off the list. But, this task was going to be fun. It was cake tasting day. I can still recall walking into the bakery. It was a feast for my senses. People laughing, smells of cookies and pastries, my eyes wide with the neatly placed cupcakes and of course my taste buds were ready with the anticipation of choosing the perfect cake. We sat by the window and was given a book with page after page of cakes for inspiration. After a few minutes the owner came over with a detailed order sheet: flavor of cake, type of icing, how many layers, decorations, colors, design, size, etc. My head was spinning. We tried bites of cake after cake and in the end remembered who we were…simple. We decided to honor our simplicity through ordering a simple cake. Vanilla with buttercream frosting, small yellow and white flowers with little white beads on three layers of round cake. Before leaving the patisserie, the owner instructed me to be sure to bring in the cake topper the week before the wedding. Cake topper? Another task to add to the list. I started with a google search which produced millions of cake toppers. There were silly ones of a bride dragging a groom, personalized ones with initials, names, dates, and traditional ones of a bride and groom standing side by side or kissing. What would fit on our simple yet elegant cake? I wanted something different and something we could keep as a memory. I decided perhaps it didn’t have to be a cake topper specifically. Maybe I could find something and turn it into a cake topper. So I went shopping. As a child, my Mom would take me to the shop, Ten Thousand Villages. It’s mission is: “to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.” I love this store for not only what it stands for, but for all of the beautiful hand crafted, one-of-a-kind treasures. Surely I would find my cake topper here. As I browsed through the store, I tried to envision the cake with its tiny yellow flowers. Then sitting on a shelf, I saw it. A white marble, abstract, sculpture of two people intertwined, embracing, kissing. Two people, yet joined together as one. This was it, I found my perfect cake topper.
The Turkish Wedding Cake:
We arrived in Giresun the week before the wedding. I was surprised how little the to-do list actually was. We had sent around 200 homemade invitations earlier in the summer. No names, addresses or RSVP’s, just a card with information on the wedding time, date, place etc. delivered to my in-laws and distributed by them. Once we arrived, I realized how informal the wedding invitation was. In the days leading up to the wedding, we would be walking down the street and my husband would bump into an old friend, a man he took two tennis lessons from, a brother of a friend and I would hear him say, “Saturday, 7:30, Sky Beach, hope to see you” What? Can anyone just come? Yup. It was sort of like an open house. My father-in-law booked the venue, photographer and music and my mother-in-law stood in line (like best Buy on black Friday) for my wedding day hair appointment. I will address that in another post. It all seemed pretty simple. Our Turkish wedding cake was no different. It was included in the venue. There was no test tasting, no choosing of flavor, or how you wanted it to look. However, you did request the amount of layers. I was shocked to hear our cake would be 10 layers. This is to accommodate for the unknown amount of people that would be attending our soiree. The night was magical, beautiful, fun and I loved every minute of it. Especially the cake. At some point during the night, the music stopped and three men wheeled out this 10 layer cake adorned with spraying sparklers. It literally looked on fire. We were given a sword to cut it. Both holding the sword, we reached up to the top and ever so gently sliced our way down the side of each of the 10 layers of cake. After a round of applause and a photo, it was quickly wheeled away and distributed to our guests. I hope I attend a wedding at the Sky Beach, not only to reminisce about that magical August night, but to have another slice of the cake. It was honestly one of the best cakes I have every tasted.