Cheery poppies don't have to be in season for you to make this pretty, fondant-covered cake. If you're the kind of bride who bookmarks etsy.com, fashion crepe-paper ones yourself, or look for similar ones at crafts stores. Either way you slice it, you've got a cake with flower power that lasts all day.
These dazzling desserts start with basic fondant or buttercream cakes. Pick one up from a great pastry chef, then decorate it yourself with these amazing embellishments.
Order mini buttercream cakes -- one for every two guests. "This 4-inch size is made for sharing," says Martha Stewart Weddings food editor Elizabeth Colling. Then, create the geometric patterns by sifting colored sugar (try Wilton bright shimmer dust, wilton.com) mixed with confectioners' sugar over each. Delight guests with a different flavor for every design.
All it takes to chase the rainbow is a buttercream-frosted confection with four layers, and eight shades of milk chocolate lentils (candywarehouse.com).
Refrigerate the cake to firm up the icing, then add candy. Complete the bottom row, then work vertically in columns to cover the tier's lower half. Fill in the upper portion with a lighter hue, and move up. For a real dose of decadence, opt for chocolate cake and filling.
Pulling off this gift-wrapped style is almost as easy as tying your shoe: Wind ribbon around four fondant-covered tiers and secure the ends with pearl-head pins. Crown the whole thing with a bow, and use coordinating fabric as a tablecloth. Colling loves when a cake's exterior reflects its interior: Echo the sunny facade with a lemon filling.
Mokuba New York Swiss-dot ribbon #4703, color 1, and taffeta satin ribbon #1163; 212-869-8900.
Thanks to a trailing Grecian-style vine, this cake has "goddess" written all over it. The white chocolate foliage, molded from fresh mint, looks delicate and tastes delicious. For the cake inside, rich chocolate layered with mint buttercream would be complementary yet unexpected. Serve with vanilla ice cream -- because everything is better a la mode.
These sophisticated cakes are simply strung with store-bought Hawaiian garlands. Order several floral varieties -- keep them elegantly monochromatic -- and attach them with pins to many small cakes. Carry the floral notes through by infusing vanilla cake with rose water or chocolate with orange-blossom water. Be sure to remove the leis before serving.
From far left: Tuberose single lei, tuberose double lei on plate, "Christina" lei, and Micronesian ginger lei; hawaiianleicompany.com
There's a secret to this blossom-draped dessert: The big-impact blooms are made of tissue paper (by Livia Cetti, thegreenvase.com). And while this cake is high on style, it's low on effort. Just insert the wire stem of each lifelike bud into the cake. Underneath this tropical exterior, anything goes. Colling's suggestion: "Something exotic, like coconut with passion fruit filling."
Summer's sweetest fruit looks ripe for the eating scattered across thick layers of buttercream spread on with an offset spatula. To sugarcoat these rosy delights, paint each with a light layer of egg white, dust with granulated sugar while still wet, and let dry. Hand out pieces of cake (vanilla with cherry-jam filling, perhaps?) alongside a bright and refreshing Champagne-and-grenadine cocktail.
Swags, laurel wreaths, and feathers -- fashioned out of silver metallic paper -- are pinned to fondant-covered tiers. Purchase the embellishments from artist Denise Sharp (studiodsharp.com) or, try your own hand at making them. Inside, consider the classics -- chocolate, vanilla, or a mixture of both.
How to Make the Silver Laurel Garland
How to Make the Silver Pleated Rosettes