This fondant-covered treat dripping in sugar gemstones is the crown jewel of cakes. To make it, contributing editor Wendy Kromer, of Wendy Kromer Confections in Sandusky, Ohio, sprayed the baubles with edible pearl paint and used royal icing to attach them necklace-style around the tiers. For favors that continue the precious-stone theme, fill diamond-shaped containers with rock candy.
For smaller, more intimate celebrations, consider serving individual baked Alaskas -- essentially ice cream mounded on cake, then covered in meringue and browned in the oven. Piping hot on the outside but deliriously cold within, these mini miracles top sponge cake in the classic rendition, but an equally delicious case can be made for using a brownie base instead. As for the ice cream inside, let your palette pick a flavor both you and your fiance love.
Robert Haviland "Colette Gold" plates.
Pretty pleating means something else entirely when presented in dessert form. Namely, a couture-inspired confection that is long on style but short on fuss. Here, Wendy Kromer covered square tiers in ivory fondant, fashioned pleats out of gum paste, and then secured them to the cake with royal icing. Keeping with the sartorial aesthetic: a custom-tailored tablecloth made by folding fabric into pleats, then pinching and sewing together where they meet. Beribboned favor boxes complete the look.
What better way to capture the romance of a winter wedding than with cold-weather blooms covered in a light blanket of snow? On this cake, snowdrops are sculpted out of gum paste and the marzipan-coated tiers are dusted with powdered sugar. Beneath the surface, chocolate-almond cake is paired with Grand Marnier buttercream. Serve slices with brandy or hot apple cider to add to the winter-wonderland vibe.
Mokuba New York "Warpless" Ribbon, (212-869-8900).
This modern masterpiece needs little more than a sleek stand to become a sculptural work of art. Wendy Kromer created the cube-inspired pattern by alternating white and ivory fondant strips and affixing them with royal icing to the fondant beneath. For even more graphic appeal, stack round favor boxes covered in paper sporting a similar geometric design on platters.
John Derian Astier de Villatte plates.
Kick back and enjoy the sweet life with a spread of simple but beautiful cakes. Wendy Kromer used a petal-shaped mold to create these scalloped tiers, which are frosted in velvety buttercream laced with rum and topped with toasted macadamia nuts. Inside? Yellow cake layered with even more cream. Nearby bowls of roasted nuts are not only thematically on point; they also encourage snacking and admiring the mouthwatering confections up close.
Nuts.com roasted macadamia nuts.
Wendy Kromer stenciled this downy design onto fondant-covered tiers with royal icing, letting the feathers trail downward to mimic a bird at rest. Then she used a fine brush to add luster dust. Kromer suggests dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream for an especially heavenly treat.
Designer Stencils "Peacock Spray" cake stencils.
Any cake frosted in buttercream can be decorated with crisp meringue flowers in shades of white. On this cake, some flowers are piped in one piece and baked in the oven, while others are piped petal by petal, baked, assembled with more meringue, and baked again -- the overall effect is that of a heavily embroidered bodice. The finished flowers, which are easy to cut through, add a delicious crunch to each slice.
This bloom's reputation as nature's most definitive love symbol has earned roses the status of Ultimate Wedding Flower. Here, New York City cake guru Sylvia Weinstock blanketed three tiers of cake in handmade, edible sugar petals to gently echo the shape of a French croquembouche— and create a temple to Cupid's favorite bloom.
This seven-tier coconut cake, frosted with buttercream, candied coconut, and two different types of coconut flakes, will take your guests' breath away. The cake's height and champagne-colored satin ribbon give it a grand appearance, while the coconut flurries give it a sense of fun.
This airy and moist vanilla sponge cake has a thin layer of apricot jam inside and is covered with buttercream; piped dots and fresh cattleya orchids lend elegance. In a nod to this wedding's tropical Bahamas location, the cake board was cut from teak (the cake itself rests on a cardboard layer).
No special talent is needed to create this luscious-looking confection -- just swirls of fluffy seven-minute icing applied to a snow-white cake. Freshly shaved coconut falls where it may, while tiny fresh mums adorn the cake and sweet peas and ranunculuses dress the table.
Sugar-paste roses are fashioned to look like fabric flowers -- they add a touch of haute couture to a cake based on finely quilted cotton matelasse. The leaves (fondant formed in a silicone mold) contrast with the textured bands (made by pressing fondant onto a grid) wrapping the tiers. The oval shape of the confection makes it appear slightly different from every angle. The cake board is covered with fondant and edged in a vintage silk ribbon.
A cascade of 60 piped meringue flowers tumbles down a stack of rectangular tiers for the Ribbon Rose Cake -- each tier is edged in a pristine border. Each rose on this cake is piped with a single, continuous squeeze onto a flower nail and baked before being affixed to the cake with royal icing.
When the weather is cold, bare branches sparkle with frozen crystalline droplets, creating a luminous, icy white that can set the tone for a sophisticated snowy wedding. When accented with shades of pale gray and glittering silver, this purest of whites seems to glow, recalling the soft light of a winter afternoon.
Five tiers of varying heights and shapes combine with ornate decoration to give this cake its regal appearance. Underneath the smooth, dense fondant coating is delicate white cake -- royal-icing piping over the fondant is enhanced further with white-chocolate ruffled rosettes.
This chic confection features black lace licorice wrapped around pristine tiers covered in fondant. We set it on a painted wooden cake board that's 16 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. You'll need a fine-tip natural-bristle paintbrush to attach the licorice laces.
To evoke a hip sixties dress crafted of embroidered lace blanketed with floral cotton appliques, cake designer Ron Ben-Israel created silicone molds of appliques inspired by the original fabric&mdsah;no small task considering there were 25 shapes to replicate, including dahlias, roses, and periwinkles. Sugar paste was pressed into each mold, then applied in layers to the fondant. The resulting ivory tower is one that both generations—yours and your mother's—will adore.
A four-tier buttercream cake by Amy Beck Cake Design was decorated with sugar peonies. It also showcased different flavors: vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream, chocolate bourbon cake with chocolate truffle ganache, and lemon cake with lemon curd filling.
To play up the geometric designs on Juliska's "Jardins du Monde" and "Heligan" stoneware, which were inspired by the layouts of historic English gardens, Ron Ben-Israel constructed hexagonal tiers of white fondant, then attached pieces of ecru-tinted sugar-paste "rope" with piping gel. Let it set the scene at an outdoor or rustic barn wedding.
Miniature calla lilies, long and sinuous, are a dramatic counterpoint to crisp, angular tiers. Only the bottom layer of this glamorous structure, clad in white fondant, is meant to be eaten; the remaining tiers are Styrofoam, which keeps the flowers from touching the cake. Rubbing the stems between fingers renders them bendable. The tiers sit on clear acrylic columns and a custom stand.
A classic pastry, the charlotte, sparked this design, but a rather unusual tool made it possible. Wendy Kromer molded the fondant coating with a sheet of ribbed plastic used by model makers. She trimmed the top edge with a scalloped cutter to resemble the lady fingers that would encircle a charlotte. A ribbon around each tier completes the theme, and sanding sugar glitters atop pink fondant. The plaque, also made from fondant, was embossed with a custom rubber stamp and attached with royal icing.
A creation that is tropical through and through. The yellow-cake layers are brushed with rum syrup and filled with passion-fruit curd and rum-and-vanilla-bean buttercream. The top of each tier is spread with more passion-fruit curd. Hibiscus flowers, lychees, coconut, mini pineapple and bananas, and tamarillo crown the cake. Pressing a straw mat into the ivory fondant produces the textured appearance. Serve with a slice of fruit such as star fruit, and coconut sorbet.
Wow your guests with a playful take on the French croquembouche that features the latest trend to take the pastry world by storm: cake balls. Kromer formed these from crumbled white cake and buttercream, and then rolled each in white chocolate and desiccated coconut (an extra-dry version sold at most grocery stores). She secured them to seven fondant-covered foam cylinders. You can let guests pluck them right off, or have your caterer serve a few on each plate, with or without a slice of sheet cake of the same flavors. If you want them attached to a sliceable cake, stick to three tiers or fewer.
It starts out fairly standard: five round tiers and crisp white icing. But this dessert takes a turn for the unexpected with a contemporary geometric pattern (courtesy of a custom stencil) and a shock of hot pink. The eye-catching glaze gets its vivid hue from cactus-pear puree, which also happens to be delicious in margaritas (consider them for signature cocktails). Inside, consider pairing vanilla cake with lime-curd filling.
A lemon cake with fresh strawberries was made by Olivia Lin of Sweet Catastrophe Cakes. It was topped with an edible version of the collaged figures featured on the invitation suite. Candy succulents and craspedia matched their realistic counterparts in the centerpieces, and even the newlyweds' cat, Luda, made a sugar appearance in between the tiers.
An elegant buttercream-covered cake made by Marie-France Eloi of Cuisine Lucette featured three different piped patterns. The white-chocolate cake had two tiers filled with lemon buttercream and fresh blueberries, and one layer filled with raspberry mousse and fresh raspberries.
Miche Barcher from Sacred Sweets created a tiered cake covered in buttercream, sugar ribbon, and sugar anemones. The interior is part almond pound cake with peach Champagne conserve and toffee buttercream, and part chocolate cake with dulce de leche and chocolate ganache.
The visual elements of this cake are a fanciful reinterpretation of a Corinthian column, an element first seen in Greece during the fifth century B.C. Acanthus leaves made of fondant bring an organic touch to the gently graduated tiers, preventing the marble-white finish from becoming too austere. The column's fluting is created by carefully pressing an offset spatula into the fondant.
The designs on this dramatic tower mimic the elaborate cake-decorating style of Joseph Lambeth, a master baker in England during the 1920s and '30s. Fine garlands and latticework are piped onto the fondant in royal icing, as are delicate roses and bunches of grapes. The star and C-scrolls on top are examples of a technique called overpiping, in which a shape is layered over again and again, giving it depth. These heavier effects are piped in decorator's buttercream (thicker than usual) to maintain their shape.
Crazy for the flaky stuff? This five-layer masterpiece, created by Mark Randazzo of Mark Joseph Cakes in New York City, is a sumptuous interpretation of the pie that started showing up around the turn of the 20th century (that’s when shredded coconut first hit the market). Randazzo iced it with vanilla-bean buttercream and then pressed medium and microfine pieces onto the tiers and sprinkled toasted bits on top. He suggests continuing the tropical theme inside with coconut cake and a mango buttercream filling.
Dotted with meringue blossoms, this quirky cake has a 1960s feeling. Although flowers are traditional decorations for wedding cakes, these are a bit less formal than the usual piped or gum-paste posies. The cake is made with seven tiers coated with Swiss meringue buttercream and decorated with about four dozen meringue daisies.