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How Do You Create the Perfect Wedding Cheese Cake?

Instead of the traditional fruit or sponge wedding cake, you may decide that you want a savoury centrepiece for your big day.  In which case, a cheese wedding cake could be the perfect solution.  Whilst enjoyed widely in France and Ireland, cheese wedding cakes are now also becoming increasingly popular in this country as well...and for good reason!

Not only do they make an interesting and unusual spectacle for your wedding day, but they're also a delicious protein-rich snack food for your guests!  Served with fresh bread and crackers, fruit, chutney and pickle, a cheese cake will ensure your guests have the stamina to dance the night away (and help to absorb all the naughty alcohol that some of us like to consume at weddings!)

So how do you create the perfect wedding cheese cake?   Here are some helpful tips to help you:

1. Buy your Cheese from a Cheesemonger.

This is the number one tip.  Cheesemongers have a fantastic range of cheeses and the knowledge to help you choose the perfect combination of cheese.  If you don’t have a good local cheesemonger, our sister company, ‘The Artisan Cheese Company’ offer a wedding cake service.  For more details call 0800 987 5853 or email info@thegourmetgiftcompany.com and we'll put you in touch.

2. Choose a Variety of Cheeses:

Less is more when deciding on your cheese choices.  Limit yourself to 3 to 5 different cheeses.  Lots of people spend too much time designing their cheese wedding cake, based on the cheese size and diameter, which often means they end up with cheeses that taste the same.  It’s much more important to ensure your wedding cake has a good balance and contrast of cheese types (i.e. hard, soft and blue), flavours, colours and textures. 

Try and ensure that some, if not all, of the cheeses will be liked by the majority of your guests.  Whilst it’s a good idea to offer variety in taste, you don’t want to alienate your guests by choosing cheeses that are too strong or pungent. 
 
For a good balanced cheese cake, try and include a cheese from each of the following categories:

Hard or Semi-Soft Cheese: Choose something like a full-flavoured farmhouse cheddar, a subtle Manchego or Cornish Yarg. The latter is particularly good because it is wrapped in beautiful green nettle leaves, so will add an interesting colour to your wedding cake.

Blue: A blue cheese will add a different flavour, texture and appearance to your cake..  Personally I would avoid the really intense blues, such as Roquefort, and opt instead for either a medium flavoured blue, such as Colston Bassett Stilton, Stichelton or Burt’s Blue; or a milder, creamy blue, such as Beauvale or Montagnolo Affine.

Mild & Creamy: These are always a hit with wedding guests.  Maybe consider a delicious Brie, such as Brie de Meaux or the amazing English brie, 'Baron Bigod'.  Or even the indulgent triple cream cheese 'Delice de Bourgogne'.

Textured Cheese: To add interest, try and incorporate at least one cheese, with an interesting surface texture, or shape. ‘White Nancy’, ‘Chabichou’ and ‘Crottin de Cavignol’ all fit this category. They are perfect for the upper layers of the cake.  Another lovely idea is to top your cake with the heart shaped ‘Coeur de Neufchatel’, which is a brie-style cheese from France.

Heart Shaped Cheese

 If you decide to include a wet or smelly cheese in your selection (such as a Stilton), it’s a good idea to place a sheet of wax paper or grease-proof paper between the layers, to prevent the other cheeses from being tainted.

Always remember that taste is the most important element when choosing your cheese.  Before making your final choice, make sure you sample all the cheeses to ensure you are happy with them.  Either make an appointment with your cheesemonger and taste them in the shop.  Or why not ask your cheesemonger for a tasting box to take home.  Then settle down at home, maybe with a glass of wine, and sample your cheeses, one by one.  A good cheesemonger will also provide you with some tasting notes and background information on your cheeses.

The tiers of the cake will naturally get smaller toward the top.  If you want to ensure that all your guests get the chance to try all the different cheeses, you might want to order extras of the top tier cheeses.  These can be kept behind the scenes and brought out for your guests after the cake has been cut.

3. How Much Cheese to Order:

If you’re serving your cheese cake as an after-dinner course, most cheesemongers recommend approximately 80-100g of cheese per guest.  However, you should double this if it’s part of the main meal, or if it’s the food for the evening reception party.

4. Add Height to Your Cake:

If you decide you want a taller cake, you can add height by using separators between the tiers.  As well as adding height, the space between the layers can be decorated with flowers, herbs or fruit.  You can use traditional wedding cake columns or small glass tealight holders, allowing 3 between each cheese.  If the top layer is too small for a tea light holder, try an egg cup instead. 

5. Be Careful with Soft Cheese:

You can add soft cheese to the lower layers, but you will need to support the cheeses in the upper layers to ensure the soft cheese doesn’t collapse.  Place your chosen soft cheese on a simple cake board (try and source a thin one, so it doesn’t ruin the overall look of your cake). Then place the board onto the cheese below (or onto the separators, if you’re using them).  Then to support the cheeses above, cut a circle out of the centre of the soft cheese and place an egg cup, or small tealight holder in the hole and top with another cake board.  The hard cheese above will sit on the cake board rather than the soft cheese.

6. Decorating your Cheese Cake:

Just as with a traditional sweet wedding cake, there are thousands of unique ways to decorate your cheese cake, but again it’s often best to keep things simple.  Think about the overall theme and style of your wedding.  If you choose to decorate with flowers or fruit, try to choose colours that will compliment your other flowers or table decorations.  Herbs, figs and grapes are also great to use, but you could also consider seasonal berries and nuts, particularly if it’s an autumnal wedding.  A word of warning, soft berries can bleed.  To prevent them spoiling your cake, place some wax or grease-proofed paper under the berries to stop this happening.  Ribbon and natural raffia can also add a nice finishing touch. 

Don’t forget about the cake stand either.  Rustic wood bases, as well as ceramic or marble bases all work well.

7. Accompaniments:

Don’t forget that you’ll need some things to eat with your cheese.  Crackers and fresh crusty bread are a must, but also add in some fresh or dried fruit, chutneys and pickles.  You could even add some honey or quince paste to your offering. 

If it’s the main attraction of your wedding breakfast, or the food for the evening reception, you may also want to consider adding some charcuterie plates.

8. Order Your Cheese Cake in Plenty of Time:

Make sure you order your wedding cake a few months in advance of your wedding date.  Your cheesemonger can then ensure that the cheeses are in stock and perfectly ripe for your big day.

If you are assembling your wedding cheese cake yourself, make sure you have space to store it before the wedding.  Always assemble and add the decorations on the day of the wedding, preferably in situ at the wedding venue.  If you’re using flowers or foliage, ensure the stems are taped to ensure that the blooms will stay fresh for as long as possible and to prevent the stems marking the cheese. 

Make sure the cake is brought out some time before you serve it, so the cheese is at room temperature when it’s eaten.

9. Some Alternative Ideas to Consider:

Rather than one large cheese wedding cake, you could choose to order smaller cheese cakes and use them as the centre-pieces on your guest tables. 

And one final note, cheese cakes are perfect for any celebration: anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas or any occasion when something special is needed.