how to make a croquembouche- diy french wedding cake (pt. un)


One of the things that I like the most about designing American weddings in Paris is coming up with interesting ways to mix the two cultures. With a little bit of creativity, I’ve found that a lot of the ideas work just as well for a Paris-themed wedding or event held outside of France.  For instance, one of the ways that I like to suggest that my clients add a touch of Parisian drama to their wedding is by serving a traditional French wedding cake- a croquembouche, instead of the classic multi-tiered American cake for dessert.

The croquembouche is a tower of creme-filled, puff-pastry balls (called “choux” in French) which are piled into a high pyramid and encircled with caramelized sugar. This sugar is what gives the dessert it’s name- croquembouche loosely translates to “crunch in the mouth”.  In addition to spun sugar, the croquembouche can be decorated with icing, chocolate, sugared almonds or candy ribbons. In France, any patisserie worth its weight in salt will be able to help you obtain a croquembouche. In the US, though, it’s just not as simple. There are well-known bakeries in the States that make croquembouche, like Ceci Cela in New York and Maison Richard in LA. But for smaller towns or cities, you’ll just have to keep your eyes and ears open… OR you can try making your own croquembouche! Now, I’ve been told that it’s surprisingly easy to create these masterpieces, but I also understand that baking your own wedding cake could be pretty high on the “life stresser” list. So, I’m going to break this recipe into several episodes to help you get your head around the whole idea. To get you started, here is a video of a simple recipe for choux pastry:

Next up? Making a simple but delicious cream and then filling the puffs.

12 Responses to “how to make a croquembouche- diy french wedding cake (pt. un)”

  1. 1 ~Tina

    Also good to note that…no donuts make just as good of one :P lol

  2. 2 Unique Wedding Gal

    This looks so stunning! Very unexpected and I’m guessing super yummy (I’m thinking cream puffs here!) Thanks for the post!

  3. 3 Plate-Mate

    This looks like just the thing for an American bride that doesn’t want the traditional American wedding cake. I have seen these before with spun sugar all around it but the one you have a picture of has a very clean line and style. It looks lovely and I’m sure it tastes wonderful.

  4. 4 Susan Doty

    I am a cake baker and have never tried this. I can’t wait to make this. Thank you

  5. 5 Natalie

    It’s my parents 60th wedding anniversary in July and as my mother is french, I thought it would be a nice surprise to have a croquembouche for their party. Yours is the best site I’ve looked at. Thank you!!

  6. 6 kim

    Thank YOU for reading!!


  7. 7 Louise

    My son just got married in Angers, Loire Valley at Chateau Challain. He lives in San Diego but chose Loire Valley in France for his venue. I was quite surprised when at the wedding reception a croquembouche was produced! I was informed that it is a French wedding cake. It Was really good! Looked to me to be made of mini cream puffs with cream fillings and caramelized together in the shape of a tower with candied almonds sticking out. Everything else in the wedding was French all the way including the wedding invitations written in French. The wedding colors were French too! Beautiful royal blue and bright yellow. Flowers were amazing too. Everything was done by the staff at the Chateau. First class all the way. A true fairytale come true!

  8. 8 kim

    Louise, that sounds so pretty! I’d love to see the pix for my “Real French Wedding” feature on my blog! Drop me a line if you think your son and daughter-in-law may be interested!! Glad you enjoyed your first croquembouche!

  9. 9 Dana

    this would be fun to make a Christmas too! I can imagine a smaller version, decorated like a christmas tree.

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