For all its associations with love and passion, chocolate rarely finds a prominent place in wedding festivities. The amorous powers of the cacao bean were first discovered by the Aztecs; King Montezuma drank fifty cups of chocolate a day, believing it to be an aphrodisiac. Modern science confirms the notion: Chocolate is known to contain phenylethylamine, a chemical that also naturally occurs in the brain and causes us to feel euphoric. And yet, if chocolate does grace a wedding reception, most of the time it's in the form of a groom's cake that's relegated to a side table. For chocolate lovers, this is a shame, because a wedding cake that is a luscious deep brown can be as beautiful -- and appropriate -- as its snowy relative. Chocolate is also quite versatile. Tempered into shiny bands and ornaments, it can express elegance or drama; swirled into a smooth, buttery frosting, it can be entirely comforting. A taste of it includes many subtle notes at once -- bitter, sweet, earthy, smoky, even slightly fruity. It can be paired with caramel and nuts to evoke a favorite candy bar or with unusual fruits and spices for a pleasantly unexpected taste. The cakes shown on these pages make the most of the complex soul of chocolate and present a compelling case for the chocolate wedding cake. They are delicious and graceful -- and worthy of true love.
Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2001