There is a particular charm that hovers over old-fashioned bakeries. Ann’s Pastry Shop, located in Downtown Wadsworth, is no exception. Many of their recipes have remained unaltered across the decades, yet they still maintain the flexibility to produce an ultra-modern wedding cake.
“We think the bakery is 60 years old,” says Gwen Peters, who co-owns the bakery with husband David. She explains that she and her husband purchased Ann’s Pastry Shop circa 2009, and are the fourth owners of the small-town shop. “I haven’t archived it, but some news articles have said that we were founded in ’59, and people I’ve spoken with have said that our community presence spans generations.”
The second owner of the bakery had previously closed a small bakery “that had been there forever,” and brought with him certain recipes. Items such as the crème sticks have a recipe that dates back over 70 years, spanning generations with their flavor.
“What is particularly special about our long-spanning history is that we have the pleasure of serving generation after generation,” explains Peters. “Future parents came in and got their wedding cakes, and now their daughters are coming in. And then we get to welcome another generation with baby bump or gender reveal cakes.”
When it comes to wedding cakes, Peters, whose wedding cake career spans over 30 years, says that she has noted a trend toward simple cake design.
“It used to be heavy, Victorian-type cakes. Now they’re simplistic and cleaner looking. Of course, you still get the occasional younger bride that wants that heavily decorated flowery cake.”
Interestingly, icing and fondant are equally in-demand amongst brides. Fondant has come a far way, she explains, with better flavors and textures than ever. Since many people still love that traditional icing, a lot of brides prefer icing with fondant additions.
“When picking your wedding cake design, all that matters is that the bride loves it,” she says. “We have done some unusual and downright bizarre designs. We made a gamer cake, which relied heavily on Styrofoam with game pieces and electrical lighting. We have seen some 70’s style cakes, like those with fountains and bridges, and we’ve done traditional cakes topped with cowboy boots with side cakes shaped like hay bales. We always do cake tastings with our brides and design the cake around her.”
While many brides tend to lean toward a traditional white cake, Peters says that many brides choose to adorn their cakes with the shop’s famous buttercream icing, which is off-white. Some brides are even choosing to forego cakes in favor of cupcake or doughnut tiers, which is both cost and time effective for brides on a budget.
“You see a lot of cupcake weddings now because they’re less expensive, you don’t have to have plates, and you don’t have to have someone tied up serving the cake. Another trend is serving cake and also doughnuts. Some brides will have a tier cake and doughnuts in their bridal colors.”
While nowadays there seems to be an “anything goes” theme in wedding cake design, it is still important for couples to consider what will work best in their wedding environment. While foregoing traditional white, chocolate, or marble cakes in favor of carrot, banana, red velvet, or cassata may not seem like such an extreme idea, one must consider what the cake will be dressed with.
“Whipped cream is a delicious topping, but you’ll need a cooler day for that,” warns Peters. “And, if you choose to transport your own cake, big, elaborate tiered designs do not fare very well over gravel and potholes. We deliver to Wooster and Cleveland, and everything in between, so we have learned through experience that some areas are safer transportation routes than others. We delivered to a camp in the middle of the woods once. It was crazy. We ended up decorating on-site, just to ensure that nothing happened to the cake during transportation. That is always an option, too. It is important to consider these points to ensure that your wedding day is perfect and hiccup-free.”
Overwhelmingly, Ann’s Pastry Shop receives one complaint from brides: the cakes are too good, and guests are snatching up seconds before the bride and groom even get a chance to dig in!
“It’s a lot of fun,” admits Peters. “The wedding business makes someone’s day special, and that’s what it’s about. While trends and location are worth considering, what is truly important is that the bride loves her cake. My best piece of advice is to choose something that you love.”
Ann’s Pastries is a full service bakery located at 121 High Street, Wadsworth. Named as one of The 10 Best Bakeries in Ohio by Bestthingsoh.com, their selection will make your mouth water. They are open Monday through Friday from 6 am to 5:30 pm, and Saturdays from 6 am to 2 pm. For more information, call 330.335.7441 or visit annspastryshop.com.