A review of Jeni's Wedding Cake ice cream from someone who's been to six weddings total
The final installment in a trilogy digging into the ice cream-maker's limited-edition creations
Between the worsening heat and disappearing pandemic restrictions, we've found ourselves well into wedding season. Slightly too-long ceremonies, Edison Bulb-lit tent parties, guests sweating through their slightly too-hot outfits.
Or so I've been told by people who get invited to these sort of things. Being a relatively young person, few of my friends have tied the knot, and even fewer family members. Out of the scant six weddings I've attended in my life, four have been as a plus-one.
So I was surprised as anyone how deeply I fell for the summer romance of Wedding Cake ice cream, the latest limited-edition flavor from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. And although this pint drop offered neither an A-list celebrity coupling nor a "will they won't they" drama – and thus no lines wrapping around my neighborhood shop – it deserves a far grander ceremony.
A layered indulgence of buttercream, vanilla cake and a duo of blackberry and lemon sauces, Wedding Cake ice cream is not your average fondant façade. And like the sound of Earth Wind & Fire summoning revelers from their tables to the dance floor, it could not have come at a better time.
To balance out my wedding-less perspective, I invited over two friends for whom this release is slightly more personal: Jon, who is married, and Clare, who is not married but has officiated six weddings herself. (At last! My vaccine has come along, and my lonely days are over!)
Despite our varied qualifications, all of us agreed on one thing: Cake at the vast majority of weddings is a tertiary experience at best. Baked days ahead and covered in cloyingly sweet icing, photographed extensively and then neglected until deep into the reception, after the far-more-exciting fried foods are carted away.
Cake that's meant to be ogled and left untouched for hours on end before getting shoved into another person's face can never be a good cake.
Jeni's Wedding Cake ice cream does not replicate that tradition, nor does it try. The richness of the buttercream ice cream base – like icing, too powerful on its own – is perfectly balanced by the tart, sunny swirls of lemon and blackberry. They've been rehearsing this dance for a while, you can tell, because neither steps on the other's toes.
Unspooling themselves gracefully, the bites of vanilla cake slow down time to a waltz. Lights dim, the sounds around you fade – it's the only other thing in the room. Savor the moment alone.
No, Wedding Cake ice cream is not an elaborate centerpiece. This is saving two slices in your freezer to uncover on your one-year anniversary. This is romance freed from peering eyes and attention demands. This is dessert you can eat in peace and quiet, after everyone else goes home.
May this be the summer that revives the wedding, in all its outlandish and extroverted excess. May this be the season of reuniting with distant relatives and out-of-town friends.
And may all of us come back a year from now and rediscover a slice of cake or pint of ice cream, kept safe in the back of our freezer, and remember how the sour only made the sweetness that much more alive.