Make the Evening Special by Ending It With a Specialty Cake

Special evenings are wonderful in and of themselves, but ending your big night with a specialty cake can really make your evening pop. By selecting a cake that fits in with the event and personalizing the gift, you’re bound to be branded a top gift-giver.

Whether you’re having dinner with your significant other, congratulating your child on graduating, or getting ready to close a family gathering, the ending to the evening is often just as important as the evening itself. It’s the grand finale, so to speak; the fireworks at the end of a big celebration or the big orchestral song at the end of an epic movie. Endings are important, and ending your evening with a special cake can help make your evening truly special.

Specialty cakes are the sophisticated cousins to those frosted cakes you see at your local grocery store’s bakery. They come in flavors that are more mature than just chocolate, yellow, or marble. They often contain fruit, nuts, all-natural ingredients, organic ingredients, and spices not normally found in your average run-of-the-mill cake. Flavors like amaretto, chocolate cranberry, and tropical fruit are some really popular. Since these cakes are so sophisticated compared to `normal’ cakes, they make for a much nicer ending to a special evening than the average cake would. A specialty cake says, “I care enough about you to give you the best.” A grocery store cake says, “I got this half-price because it was made four days ago.” Which statement would you rather get across?

Specialty cakes are often unexpected. They usually surprise whoever is lucky enough to receive one, and they’re a very welcome sight. They are probably one of the food gifts that people really hope to receive but rarely ever do. By giving a one of these treats, you’re securing your spot in the recipient’s mind as a top-gift giver who is thoughtful and creative.

For an even more impressive ending, select a cake that fits in with the theme of the evening. It can be hard to find the perfect cake to fit a specific but it is possible. One way to do this is to choose a cake that matches well with the food that has been served at the event, or a specialty cake that provides something the event hasn’t had yet. If your special evening was a cookout full of hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad, you might opt for a fruitcake to give a taste of some juicy fruit. If your evening has been really healthy, maybe you’d like to go for a more decadent cake like chocolate. The choice is entirely up to you.

Another way to make the end to your evening more impressive is to add a personal touch to the cake, preferably in a way that relates to the event. All you really need to do is add a personalized card or note saying “Happy Anniversary,” “Congratulations,” or any other message relating to what the special evening was all about. By adding a personalized touch, you’re showing how much you care.

Ending your special evening with a specialty cake can really make the evening wonderful and unforgettable. With a little shopping savvy and personal thought, you’re bound to be a winner on your big night.

An Introduction to Specialty Cakes

Although almost everyone is familiar with how delicious a freshly baked cake can be, not everyone has had the good fortune to experience a specialty cake. If you’ve never had one of these delicacies, you might not know what to look for. If you’re thinking of buying a specialty cake for yourself or to give as a gift, here’s a short introduction to what you can look forward to.

Premium Ingredients

Although not every cake is made from premium ingredients, it’s worth the extra time and effort to look for one that is. In most cases, the best-tasting and highest quality specialty cakes are made from natural ingredients. As an added bonus, many bakeries use local ingredients and regional specialties, making the cakes even fresher and more flavorful. Fresh fruits, pure honey, and high quality nuts are among the many delicious ingredients you should expect to find in a truly high quality specialty cake.

Ingredients to Avoid

Sometimes the ingredients that a cake doesn’t include are just as important as the actual recipe ingredients. For example, when most people think of cakes, they don’t expect to find ingredients such as artificial flavors, artificial colorants, hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial preservatives. Although these are all ingredients that are common in average cakes, they have no place in a truly delicious specialty cake product.

Of course, it’s important to note that specialty cakes made without artificial preservatives and other unnatural ingredients tend to require a bit of special care and consideration. While a preservative-laced cake might be able to remain basically edible for a long period of time even when stored at room temperature, specialty cakes made from natural ingredients should be stored a bit more carefully. In most cases, you’ll want to store your premium specialty cake in the refrigerator so that it will stay fresh and delicious for a longer period of time. Stored properly, many specialty cakes can be maintained in tip-top condition for several weeks. If it’s necessary to store them for longer periods of time, it’s usually advisable to store them in the freezer. However, due to the fact that these cakes are so delectable and delicious, they rarely last long enough for storage to become a problem.

Serving Tips

Because there are so many different kinds of cakes to choose from, there are also a wide variety of ways that they can be served and enjoyed. Although many people enjoy the taste of a chilled piece of cake served directly from the refrigerator, these cakes are often especially delicious when served slightly warm. In order to safely warm up a slice of cake, you can place it in a microwave for thirty seconds or less. Once the cake has been warmed, it will taste as though it’s being served fresh and delicious, straight from the oven.

Specialty Cakes for the Holidays

Few things are more unique and personal than the gift of food. And during the holidays, when dessert often becomes the main focus at our celebrations, our options become almost limitless. With so many to choose from for that special holiday touch, specialty cakes might be our saving grace.

Cake has come a long way since the ancient Egyptians began making breads sweetened with honey more than 5,000 years ago. Breads that were made for sustenance back then gave way to cakes that today are designed to make a splash. Specialty cakes, as their name implies, are made for a special occasion. A specially decorated cake can make a holiday meal brighter and giving it as a gift can make your visit sweeter.

Holiday cakes are versatile, particularly eye catching, full of color and flavor. You can choose based on theme, content, color, and size. Whether you’re looking to make a decorating statement or a culinary one, a specialty cake could be the item that ties it all together with style.

There are several things to keep in mind when deciding on a specialty cake. Who will eat it? Is it geared for children or an older crowd, and if so, how many? How much do you want to spend? What will it be paired with? Do you want to bake it yourself?

If you want to use grandma’s recipe, consider the complexity and labor associated with this feat. Baking it yourself highlights your creativity, but buying it online might be a better alternative if you’re strapped for time. For example, a traditional Christmas fruitcake sells online for between $25 to $75, can be sent to anyone on your shopping list, and could arrive in a festive tin box just in time for Christmas.

Which cake is right for your holiday get-together? The list of choices varies from traditional to trendy and includes fruitcakes, panettones, cheesecakes, tarts, gingerbread and even ice cream cakes. Cupcakes are the latest trend in holiday treats; hundreds of stores catering to this niche have sprouted both as traditional stores and as online sites. The cupcake market alone is projected to grow by 26% through 2014 to more than $20 billion in sales.

“Fondant is not the only way to go anymore,” says Samantha James, a line cook and professional baker in State College, Penn. The trend in holiday specialty cakes is “simple, not as busy,” she adds. James’ holiday favorites include pies and spice cakes, which use nutmeg and ginger. A pie is an inexpensive and delicious addition to any meal and can cost as little as $5.

Ultimately, it may all come down to desert being the big finish, the pièce de résistance, or the icing on the cake, if you will. For those occasions when only a Santa cake will do, a specialty cake will leave guests oohing and ahing all the way to next year. Proof that you can have your cake and eat it too.