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suggestions for a buddhist wedding cake...


reenicake
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My dear brother in law is getting married on Memorial day weekend and I'm to make the cake and fly it there! Being that there are a few non-negotiables (needs to feed 75 people, must fit in a 16" square box) I have no idea what it should look like! The color theme is dark blue, which is not really translatable to tasteful edibles... they are getting married here... not all the guests are Buddhist but I don't want to offend the place, plus I've been given creative carte blanche to do pretty much anything so I'd like something with impact...

I've done a search and apparently Buddha doesn't have much to say when it comes to traditions like cake- cutting.

Any suggestions welcome.

Edited by reenicake (log)
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The slideshow on the site shows a wedding cake separated by pillars with fresh flowers hiding the pillars. That might be a start. Each cake can go in it's own box for safety and you can use the same fresh flowers as the wedding decor,. and a dark blue ribbon at the base.

It's a beautiful location, I can see why they'd want to celebrate there!

I've never flown with a cake before, hopefully others can chime in about the best way to do it. Can you just bring the cake layers and make the buttercream and assemble there?

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I have wanted to do a sculpture of the Laughing Buddha for a long long time.

I think he totally rocks. But I know precious little about the religion itself. So...

I checked with my Asian friend about the potential for insulting someone by doing this and she said the chances could be high with the older crowd, not so much with her age--so if all I have to do is nothing to avoid insulting someone I'll go for it.

However, this site says that he is the patron saint for restauranteurs! This opens up new possibilities I think especially if it's a wedding.

And if you do sculptures or could incorporate him into the design...there's a thought for you.

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It seems to be my penchant to fly to California for family weddings with baked goods... I did so last April (150 cookies that were the favor), so I plan do do the same here. A 16" square box fits neatly under the seat with not much room to spare, so conceivably I could do a 14" square (to maximize the servings) cake for the base and two other tiers stacked on top of it on site, as long as they were wrapped well, and no more than 6" in height in the box... we are staying for the weekend at a rented house where I could make buttercream as long as I brought the supplies. Or I could fly with them all covered in fondant already...

I am thinking of a "nature" theme, with lotus flowers because of the place's name. I don't have any details about the flowers they are using, the bride is not one of those who is overflowing with specifics on each thing... I think she feels a bit overwhelmed even!

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I have friends who have travelled with many cakes. They apply the buttercream and/or fondant and freeze the cake solid at 1 degree F. Then they wrap it in plastic wrap. When they are ready to leave for the airport they bubble wrap the entire thing and put it in a box with dry ice and more bubble wrap. They also take more frozen buttercream/fondant and some tools to finish the cake with or to repair it if it gets damaged.

They have had very good luck with this method.

Good luck!

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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I have wanted to do a sculpture of the Laughing Buddha for a long long time.

I think he totally rocks. But I know precious little about the religion itself. So...

I checked with my Asian friend about the potential for insulting someone by doing this and she said the chances could be high with the older crowd, not so much with her age--so if all I have to do is nothing to avoid insulting someone I'll go for it.

However, this site says that he is the patron saint for restauranteurs! This opens up new possibilities I think especially if it's a wedding.

And if you do sculptures or could incorporate him into the design...there's a thought for you.

Living in the last Himalayan Buddhist kingdom, I really wanted to find a Bhudda mold for chocolates and make little chocolate Buddhas to give at turndown, but that idea was ix-nayed by the GM as potentially offensive. The staff members I asked seemed uncertain, which probably meant they didn't want to say no but found the concept too weird to be enthusiastic about.

Google 'eight lucky signs'. You could do a ring with one of each around the bottom layer, you'd have to make them out of paste or fondant or something - or you might pick one that seems appropriate for the wedding and work that in somehow. There are the pair of golden fish, the conch shell (symbolic of the melodious sound of the dharma), the dorji (stylized lightening bolt), the endless knot, and I forget the others. Each is symbolic of something, health, strength, longevity, prosperity, whatever. You can probably tell I have not reached enlightenment yet :wink:

I agree that ribbon would be a good way to get the dark blue in. Blue buttercream just doesn't sound good. But a huckleberry or blackberry curd filling could be tasty.

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I'd be inclined to ask the couple about doing anything theme-oriented. Um.... Buddhas and the like for a Buddhist wedding? For me? It's no different from knowing a couple is Christian and marrying in a church, and so ask yourself if you'd make a Jesus cake.... I'm thinking probably not.

Edited by devlin (log)
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I'd be inclined to ask the couple about doing anything theme-oriented. Um.... Buddhas and the like for a Buddhist wedding? For me? It's no different from knowing a couple is Christian and marrying in a church, and so ask yourself if you'd make a Jesus cake.... I'm thinking probably not.

This is the best suggestion so far. Unless specifically requested, I would stay away from religious symbols, figures or foreign scripture of any kind. (The latter will look especially bad unless written by a native speaker, and even then not everyone will understand it.) Same for religious scenes.

The OP mentions that not all the guests are Buddhist, so I think that is a good cue to omit any religious overtones to the cake design. Why force that on the guests?

I think Buddha's thoughts on wedding cakes are pretty much as you would expect. Tasteful design and good balance of flavors.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Devlin hit the nail on the head.

How many Christian weddings have you been to where the cake has anything at all to do with Christianity?

As for the "Laughing Buddha," if it's not offensive, it most certainly is ignorant. The "Laughing Buddha" is not The Buddha (Siddhārtha Gautama). They're two different people. Baking a cake that has anything to do with the "Laughing Buddha" simply reinforces Western stereotypes. And the notion of putting such an object in the face of actual Buddhists and then requesting them to eat it? I just don't see that working out so well.

The lotus is a good symbol. While it has ties in Buddhist symbolism, it is also generic enough to not be overly religious.

Edited by Florida (log)
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I like the notion of lotus flowers (are they safe? I'm not sure)....

And to clarify the religious symbolism issue.... I'm a little familiar with Buddhism, and from my perspective, a laughing Buddha is to Buddhism what the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are to Christianity. They're not spiritual iconography so much as kitsch.

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But do the bride & groom want the cake 'buddhist-themed'?

Something waaaay more subtle would be to do 108 of something (little balls) around the edges. 108 is significant somehow.

Something we do for our guests - who, granted, are rarely actually Buddhist - is make paper prayer flags and stick them on top of the cake. They are not too tacky. See two most recently uploaded photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11037087@N02/

Or I agree that lotuses would be nice. All hail the jewel in the lotus - om mani padme hum.

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As a rather devout Buddhist, yes, it would be a little offensive to have pictures of the Buddha on the cake.

Since the area looks foresty, I would go with berrys, I love the idea of a blueberry curd in the cake. Or you could decorate with them sugared on the top. Think elegant..simple... berrys, pine coneish...

my humble opinion....

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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If you wonder if creating an edible Buddha would be offensive just picture creating an edible Jesus for a Christian wedding. Actually, when thinking about even *decorating* with Buddhas think of whether or not you'd decorate with Jesuses or Marys. ;-)

Wedding cakes aren't traditionally Buddhist so I don't think you could offend anyone since there's not really a tradition to contradict . Using lotuses as the flower in your design would be a lovely nod, though.

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