Let Them Eat Wedding Cookie Cake!
Planning a wedding? I hope you will include the wedding cookie cake, a must for Italian weddings and a labor of love. Thought to have originated in Naples, the cake is a show stopper consisting of layers of a variety of cookies arranged in a pyramid, held together with icing and decorated with sugared almonds called confetti and ribbons, and flowers. Making one is not difficult
Make a variety of cookies so that the cake has many different layers, although layers can be repeated. Most of the cookies can be made up to a month ahead and frozen until the day before the wedding, when the cake is assembled. If making the cookies ahead, freeze them carefully in single layers between wax paper or plastic wrap, and place them in airtight containers, not plastic bags. If the recipe is for a frosted cookie, frost as directed after baking and let the frosting dry completely before storing them.
In addition to the cookies, you will need white and green sugar-coated Jordan almonds, the traditional color for the bride and groom, narrow pastel-colored ribbons for streamers, and a nosegay or bridal top ornament. To hold the cookies in place, use "icing glue," which is confectioners' sugar and a little milk mixed to a thick frosting consistency.
Build the cake on a decorative round dish or tray. Or buy cardboard cake rounds that come in a variety of sizes. I often use 16 inches in diameter. The larger the tray, the more a flat pyramid effect will be produced. How large you make the cake is your choice. For a sixteen-inch tray, I recommend making about eight different types of cookies. Some of the cookies are: Chocolate and Black Pepper Cookies, S Cookies, Anise Cookies, Sesame Cookies, Marriage Cookies (recipe included), Almond Cookies and Sicilian Fig Cookies.
Use firm cookies, such as biscotti for the bottom layers. Delicate cookies should be used for the top layers. Arrange the biscotti on their sides on the tray, making sure the entire surface is covered and the ends of the biscotti protrude just a bit over the edge of the tray.
Build the second layer using a different cookie, or a mixture of cookies, and continue building until you have a pyramid. For a sixteen-inch tray, the cake should be at least twelve-inches high, without the bridal ornament or flower nosegay at the top.
As you build the layers, use the icing glue to anchor the cookies in place by dabbing just a bit of frosting on the bottom of each one. This is important, especially if the cake is to be moved any distance.
For the finishing touches, insert white and green almonds between the cookies all around the cake. Make ribbon streamers for the cake and place a nosegay of wedding flowers at the top. I leave a hole at the top of the cake for the flower stems.
Post a graceful sign that asks guests to make their selections starting at the top, not the bottom of the cake- although with the icing holding the cookies in place, there is little fear that it will fall like the tower of Babel!
The best thing about the wedding cookie cake is that tradition lives on!