Side Dish for April 12, 2012

April showers may bring May flowers, but April showers may mean May or June weddings.

With the recent engagement announcements by my son and by family members of friends, I’m realizing just how much springtime entertaining revolves around weddings — and how many details there are to remember. It’s now that I truly appreciate just how much my mother and her friends did for my wedding.

They would have been inspired by a lovely little cookbook written by Joanna Farrow. Titled “Wedding Cupcakes” (Spruce/Octopus, $12.99, hardcover), the 64-page book offers do-it-yourself ideas for weddings, take-home gifts and bridal showers. It also has a terrific collection of recipes.

Farrow says in the introduction, “Cupcakes are now as popular a choice for a wedding as large, traditionally stacked fruitcake.” (The book was originally published in Great Britain where iced fruitcake is the traditional wedding cake). While American bridal couples don’t serve fruitcake, many opt for cupcakes in place of or in addition to a tiered cake.

Cupcakes are easy to make, can be decorated simply or elaborately to fit the wedding’s color scheme, and look gorgeous presented on tiered stands.

“Wedding Cupcakes” offers basic recipes, useful techniques and 28 ideas for creating classic, modern and chocolate cupcakes. The book is beautifully illustrated with full-color photographs.

For a small, informal wedding try Flower Garden cakes or make the Bride and Groom cupcakes in lieu of traditional cake toppers. Farrow’s chocolate confections would be pretty Valentine’s Day treats, and the White Chocolate and Frosted Fruit cupcakes would be yummy at a Fourth of July party.

“Wedding Cupcakes” offers plenty of inspiration for the home baker planning a shower, wedding or celebratory gathering. See recipes from the book on Page 4E.