Taking the Cake

I interviewed several bakers, caterers, wedding consultants, and party facilities to get the current scoop on the wedding cake business here in Austin. While I couldn't taste every cake in town, this listing should provide a good representative sample of what is available locally. According to my unscientific survey, the overwhelming local choice for wedding cakes is Italian Cream Cake and the most popular groom's cake is a chocolate layer cake topped with chocolate-covered strawberries. I would remind brides to remember that real dairy products (real butter or whipping cream) will be affected by the heat but they'll taste better than whipped topping, fondant, or shortening. When choosing, be sure to look at portfolios, taste samples, evaluate decorating styles, and consider prices.

Shirley's Cakes
1608 W. 34th, 451-6336

Austin native Shirley Slaughter has been one of this city's premiere cake designers for more than 30 years. Caterers, hotel wedding coordinators, and wedding consultants all agree that when brides want a fantasy cake covered with exquisite, handmade gum paste flowers, Shirley is the one they call.

Old Pecan Street Cafe
314. E. Sixth, 478-2491

This downtown restaurant does it all; wedding cakes, receptions, and off-premise catering. Their Italian Cream and Fat Chocolate cakes are justifiably famous and they'll sell you a cake whether they cater the whole wedding or not; contact Bob Woody.

The Barr Mansion
10463 Sprinkle, 926-6907

Chef Kevin Quinn makes all the wedding cakes for this lovely Victorian wedding facility. His Chocolate Hazelnut Banana cake with authentic buttercream was the best chocolate cake I tasted. Contact Mark McAfee.

Texas French Bread
29th & Rio Grande, 499-0544

All the excellent TFB cakes (Italian Cream, Carrot, Genoise w/Rum, Hyde Park Fudge) are available as wedding and groom's cakes with an impressive list of fillings and frostings. Their leaf & vine and basketweave frosting designs are attractive and the serving allowances very generous. Contact Jeanine Gwaltney.

Sweetish Hill Bakery
1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347

Though they sell more Italian Cream, my favorite cake here was the Raspberry Gateau, a yellow genoise soaked in kirsch syrup, layered with raspberry marmalade and frosted with whipped cream/cream cheese icing in a delicate grapevine pattern. Contact Arlene Harris.

Upper Crust Bakery
4508 Burnet, 467-0102

Simple, elegant, delicious cakes in three varieties with real buttercream and fresh flowers. The Gateau Marisa, yellow cake filled with pastry cream and fresh strawberries, is truly marvelous. Contact Valerie Schuster.

Lucy's Cakes
2803 San Jacinto, 472-6612

Richard & Susan Gothard are probably the busiest wedding cake suppliers in town, popular with cost-conscious brides, caterers, and wedding facilities. Their specialty is a light white cake with strawberry filling, frosted with whipped topping.

Divine Desserts
1005 S. Austin in Georgetown, 930-0571

Accomplished pastry chef Shannon Fitzgerald left Houston to open a full-service pastry shop in fast-growing Georgetown. He will provide cake samples with appointments and he delivers to Austin for a fee. Fitzgerald offers a variety of cake options and is experienced in the use of Choco-Pan fondant.

Fabulous Cheesecakes
3520 Bee Caves Road, 306-8710

Founder Loretta Bates popularized the idea of cheesecakes for wedding cakes and the new owners of this popular dessert business are actively promoting their wedding cake line. They make traditional wedding cakes with choices such as Italian Cream, White, Carrot, German Chocolate, and Red Velvet and their full line of cheesecakes are available, too. Contact Julia Fleming, wedding coordinator, 875-0705.

Carol's Catering by Cheryl

Experienced caterer Cheryl Price is one of the few caterers interviewed who actually makes wedding and groom's cakes for her bridal customers herself. Her simple, delicious French Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting was the best white cake I tasted.

The Frosting
1100 Koenig, 451-9799

Longtime cake designer and decorating teacher Mary Ann Grametbauer has recently curtailed her specialty cake business but she is still available to make beautiful wedding cakes. She's an expert with sculpted designs, rolled fondant, and gum paste flowers.

Countryside Baking Co.

Motorola pastry chef Scott Calvert has a specialty baking business near Smithville which services the Austin area. Portfolio pictures and cake samples available by appointment.

Sheila Marie Fleming

Fleming is a busy caterer, restaurant consultant, and cooking teacher who also makes wedding cakes (including cheesecakes and fondant-covered cakes). Pictures and samples available by appointment.

Designer Cakes by Louise McLaughlin

A pastry chef (Bertram's) and a graphic designer, McLaughlin brings both talents to bear in her wedding cake business. Her skills include chocolate bags, blown sugar ornaments, and pulled sugar ribbons. Pictures and samples available by request.

Icing on the Cake

Raphael Rios specializes in the traditional wedding cake styles favored by Hispanic brides and presents his cakes with the most up-to-date cake stands and bases. -- V.B.W.

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