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Eat your wedding cake -- and wear it, too. Cloak your confection in designs that mimic the look of vintage floral fabrics, be it your grandmother's heirloom lace or your favorite thrift-store find, for a cake that's oh-sew-gorgeous.
Here, appliques of sugar-paste flowers, inspired by the design on a vintage blouse, seem to be sewn onto a small cake; piped royal-icing blossoms suggest embroidered accents.
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Embroidered Lace Wedding Cake
To evoke a hip '60s dress crafted of embroidered lace blanketed with cotton floral appliques, cake designer Ron Ben-Israel created silicone molds of appliques inspired by the original fabric -- 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.
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Ikat and French Silk Ribbon Wedding Cake
The spirit of a century-old French silk ribbon can be felt in every bite of this darling cake. On top rests a dramatic bow of molded gum paste (so realistic, you'll be tempted to untie it). An edible luster dust was mixed with lemon extract and then painted onto the fondant in a rose pattern that evokes the blurry quality of an ikat weave.
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Inside of this ikat and French silk ribbon cake, alternating layers of red velvet cake and white buttercream echo the ribbon's stripes (we stacked two of these five-layer tiers).
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Delicate French Silk Wedding Cake
The delicate and elegant detail of a circa-1900 French silk looks every bit as gorgeous at the dawn of our century. Ron Ben-Israel meticulously re-created the fabric by pressing the fondant with a rubber stamp to mimic the weave, then piping on petite mimosa blossoms and stems, and applying sugar-paste leaves. The flowers were painted with powdered yellow food coloring mixed with luster dust for a silk-like shimmer.
A midcentury silk scarf in an abstract petal print inspired this modern floral cake, which takes the old-fashioned out of pink flowers. We used a cutter to create a profusion of tulip petals out of gum paste, shaped them into three dimensions using a tiny ball-shaped tool, and attached them to a base of pink fondant. Each row of petals is just a whisper darker than the preceding one for an ombre effect. The square tiers are separated by tiny risers to let the petals hang over the edges.
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Gilded Wedding Cake
The legendary Venetian fabric house of Fortuny first produced this glamorous pattern, called Granada, in the 1950s, but it's so timeless that it remains a top seller today. To translate it into sugar and flour, we blended two shades of fondant -- a pale pink and a rosy peach -- to mimic the marbled appearance that hand-dyed cotton takes on in the light. We then spread royal icing over stencils of the pattern's sinuous floral design and painted it with edible luster dust mixed with lemon extract.
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Victorian-Era Silk Wedding Cake
A stretch of silk from a Victorian-era dress provides a glimpse of a lost art: ribbon embroidery, in which thin lengths of ribbon are embroidered onto fabric to create intricate designs. To mimic its tactile quality for a cake, Ron Ben-Israel marshaled all of the ardent attention to detail of the era's seamstresses, shaping sugar-paste carnations by hand before affixing them to the sides of three fondant-covered tiers. Tucked between the sumptuous carnation-bedecked layers are two shorter tiers decorated with icing and sugar-paste flowers and stems.
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Vintage Graphic Floral Cotton Wedding Cake
This stunner of a cake, with roses that appear to bloom before your very eyes, takes its cues from a swatch of graphic 1960s floral cotton. The leaf and bud designs were photocopied from the fabric to make patterns, then cut out from tinted sugar paste using a craft knife and transferred to the white-fondant-covered tiers. The finishing touch? A sprinkling of yellow sugar-paste roses throughout for an eye-popping embellishment. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
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Lace Wedding Cake
An airy lace from 1900 is reimagined here as a uniquely contemporary cake. The white sugar-paste floral appliques, cut with a craft knife, look almost pixelated when affixed to the nettinglike grid imprinted onto the ivory fondant below. The end result appears delicately antique one second, strikingly futuristic the next. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
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Eyelet Wedding Cake
This eyelet "sampler" -- with its cutouts, flowers, and pristine whiteness -- evokes summer as prettily as a billowing cotton dress. Each fondant-covered tier presents a different eyelet. The second layer is inspired by the table runner; the cake's crown by the bottom layer (which has a sugar-paste ribbon "threaded" through it). Styrofoam disks, wrapped in fondant, lift the top layers. Tiny eyelet cutters and small pastry tips were used to make the holes; the embroidered effect comes from piped royal icing. Cake by Wendy Kromer Confections, Sandusky, Ohio.
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Crewelwork Wedding Cake
Stems, berries, and flowers in the style of crewelwork edge their way up and over the tiers of this handsome cake like a lush vine. The raised, textured look of the "yarn" is emphasized by the smoothness of the fondant. Rolled strands of white sugar paste cover cafe-au-lait-colored fondant. Dental tools were used to make the "stitches." The wooden cake boards are trimmed with grosgrain ribbons with white detailing on the edges. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
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Calico Wedding Cake
A two-dimensional calico print comes to life on a cake with diminutive hand-sculpted flowers, leaves, and fruits; the soft colors are reminiscent of the faded look of a vintage apron. Real rickrack trim, bordering clusters of fruit on the middle tier, imparts a cheery, homespun feel. Set against ivory fondant, strawberries and cherries grow from stems of piped royal icing, tinted brown. The fruits are shaped from sugar paste painted in delicate shadings and hues. Rickrack trim is secured with royal icing.
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Matelasse Wedding Cake
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. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
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Damask Wedding Cake
This opulent five-tier cake is a graphic interpretation of damask; it plays up the pattern, which is traditionally tone-on-tone. The intricate scrollwork is best suited to a square cake because the flat surfaces display the repeating motif to greatest advantage. To create this magnificent design, the pattern is placed under waxed paper, then piped over and filled in with royal icing. After it dries, the hardened frosting is removed from the waxed paper and affixed to the cake. The Wedgwood-blue fondant and dark-brown decorations look elegant with a chocolate cake.