Westchester Wedding Cake “Whoas”!

Right now, I have more cake in my fridge than your average Westchester bakery.

Rich and I have spent my vacation week from work touring Westchester patisseries to choose our wedding cake.  Wedding cake for breakfast, wedding cake for lunch, wedding cake for dinner… It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it.  🙂

Suffice it to say, that if I don’t eat cake again until July, that will be just fine.

Jean Jacques (Pleasantville)

Our first stop was the well-established Jean Jacques in Pleasantville (http://jean-jacques.com/).  A family-owned business tied together by Paris-born master Jean-Jacques Gabrillargues, this cafe and patisserie is where I had my bridesmaids’ lunch after ordering our dresses at the nearby La Petite Boutique.  We were treated to two stunning plates of samples that were each more technically precise than the next.  Each piece was perfection in presentation.  The mousses were rich but light and not overly sweet.  My mom, Rich, and I all concurred that the chocolate praline and the white chocolate were our favorites.

Clockwise (L-R) from top: carrot cake, chocolate praline, white chocolate cheesecake, lemon meringue, chocolate mousse with marble cake, in the center: raspberry mousse

Clockwise (L-R) from top: white and dark chocolate mousse with cherry, white chocolate and raspberry mousse, tiramisu (diagonally striped sides), dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse (pyramid shape), cappucino (chocolate dome), in the center: chocolate mousse with marble cake

Custom, handcrafted wedding cakes started at $9 per slice.  Available flavors include dark chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, milk chocolate mousse, triple chocolate, chocolate praline, cappucino, raspberry, raspberry with white chocolate, lemon mousse, raspberry mousse, lemon with raspberry, strawberry shortcake, cannoli cream, tiramisu, mocha, and carrot.

L’Anjou Patisserie Francaise (Mt. Kisco)

This small, lovely patisserie tucked behind a Boston Market seemed to have a steady clientele.  Owner, boulanger, and pâtissier Patrice Yvon prepared a generously-portioned sampling of mousses for us including chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, pear, passion fruit, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, and cappucino.  We also tasted a lemon-coconut with vanilla sponge cake to get a sense of the cake’s texture.  Rich loved the white chocolate, strawberry, and lemon.  I loved the white chocolate, strawberry, and pear.

Cake counter at L'Anjou Patisserie Francaise

Cake counter at L'Anjou Patisserie Francaise

Me- thoroughly enjoying a white chocolate mousse sample

Chef Yvon's generous mousse samples (There was so much, we took them home.)

My parents and sister enjoying the L'Anjou samples in my parents' kitchen

While there, we saw a faithful client picking up a beautiful, hand-painted cake on which Chef Yvon had lovingly recreated the woman’s two rescue Husky dogs.  As we tasted, Chef assured us he didn’t even care to eat desserts very much.  Could’ve fooled us! The mousses we tasted were buttery and powerfully flavorful (particularly the sweet and fruity strawberry and raspberry).  Starting at $6.25 per slice for a buttercream-frosted cake, L’Anjou was a real contender for us… delicious and affordable.

La Tulipe Desserts (Mt. Kisco)

While in Mt. Kisco, we simply had to stop at La Tulipe Desserts (http://www.latulipedesserts.com/).  If nothing else, the incredible sugar-art Valentine’s display and rows upon rows of utterly perfect creations are worth a visit.  If you get a chance to peek into the kitchen, you’ll see a wall of gleaming, polished, copper pots worth about the same as my 2009 tax refund and meticulously ordered rows of ladles, tongs, and other utensils hanging in the space.  The precision of the kitchen space is indeed replicated in Chef Maarten Steenman’s work.  I’ll let it speak for itself:

(L-R) Hazelnut dacquoise with citron mousse, pear tart, red-chocolate dusted heartLemon meringue (left) and caramel (right)

Far left- Paradise (raspberry mousse and sponge cake topped with fresh berries), Chocolate dome (chocolate cake, mousse, and ganache), Far right- tiramisu

President- layers of chocolate cake with chocolate Gianduia truffle filling and Italian Amarena cherries

Beautiful, crusty baguette we brought home

Since we hadn’t arranged a formal tasting and were just stopping in, I didn’t get the full names of each available item.  However, the assistant chef who helped us took great pride in explaining each cake and the technique behind it.  The attention to detail showed utterly impressive craftsmanship— the best I’ve seen in the county.  Dutch-born Chef Steenman uses individually selected local ingredients as well as the finest imports.  Utterly full from our previous tasting, we purchased several take-home samples.  At $10-11 per slice as a base price, La Tulipe Desserts was a bit beyond our budget, but we would absolutely return for other special occasion baked goods.

Lulu Cake Boutique (Scarsdale)

The small Scarsdale space occupied by Lulu Cake Boutique (http://www.everythinglulu.com) is studded with framed press mentions… and for good reason.  Lulu’s rocks.

Home to Westchester’s very own brand of the work made famous by shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss, Lulu’s does it all.  My mom, sister, and I looked through books of wedding, sweet 16, and bar/bat mitzvah cakes in every shape, color, and flavor imaginable.  There were a miscellany of recreated designer purses; life-sized cake-reations of a couple’s beloved Yorkies; a cracker-jack, pretzel, and hot dog laden Citi Field; and a fabulously-detailed Marie Antoinette in a rippled, pink ball gown, holding her lovely, wigged head in her hand.  The latter cake, Lulu’s festive window display currently features Marie with a heart-shaped banner proclaiming, “Let them eat cake!”  Let them eat cake, indeed. We sampled thick, super-buttery yellow cakes as our talented consultant sketched out a four-tier masterpiece matching the description of my perfect design.

(L-R) yellow cake with vanilla buttercream, Dulce de Leche (yellow butter cake with dulce de leche pastry cream, toasted almonds, and caramel buttercream) + a layer of fondant just so we could sample its taste and texture, Glazey River (yellow butter cake filled with nutella buttercream and hazelnut crunch)

When asked the inevitable “buttercream or fondant” question, we all kind-of wrinkled our noses at the possibility of fondant.  It’s so… fondant-y.  People tend to maneuver it onto the side of their plates –turned off by its odd texture, muted sweetness, and generally unsure of what to do with it– in order to attack the “real cake” beneath.  Today, we got an education in fondant.  Rolled to oh-so-thin proportions, the fondant was not at all what we expected.  It melted right into each bite of the cake without compromising taste and allowed for thicker, more intricate design.

The best part of Lulu? The answer was always “yes.”

  • Can we do silver embellishments? Yes. (No one else had given us an affirmative response yet, indicating that the silver would look grey and unattractive.  Lulu’s showed us a few different options for silver decoration using luster dust.)
  • Can you incorporate my all-time favorite flavors, almond and apricot? Yes. (Lulu’s was happy to work together to create custom flavors.)
  • Do you use organic ingredients? Yes.
  • Can we do different flavors on different layers? Yes.
  • Can you work with our budget? A resounding yes.

Lulu’s also had the flavors we were looking for (Rich was really hoping for red velvet, lemon, or cannoli cake, all of which are on Lulu’s menu).

Red Velvet Cupcake (optional cream cheese or vanilla buttercream frosting)

Lemon Cupcake (which I smooshed a little in transit)

Lemon Cupcake (which I smooshed a little in transit)

The simple, traditional design we liked ran from $5-7 per slice, not including custom flavors.  What we liked best was the joyful play and willingness to work creatively to develop the exact look and flavors we wanted without being restricted to a “cake menu.”

Which will we choose? Stay tuned and find out!

5 Responses to “Westchester Wedding Cake “Whoas”!”

  1. What a lovely and gorgeous cake for weddings. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. I love cakes… Yum2x… 🙂

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