It looks like a chiseled sculpture but this three-tiered confection is actually paneled in bars of chocolate made by Mary Matson for Chocolate Editions. The use-it-anywhere scroll backdrop gets its design from pressing rice paper onto easy-peasy, no-mixing acrylic ink suspended on water.
Inside this tropical rum cake, layers of roasted-coconut sponge cake are soaked in Malibu-rum-punch syrup and slathered with jasmine-scented mango jam. Vanilla bean and passion fruit buttercream serves as frosting for the tiered confection, while mango slices and a mango-passion fruit glaze add an additional layer of flavor.
This four-tier wedding cake was inspired by one couple's lattice print table runners. Alternating tiers of white cake with fresh strawberries and chocolate cake with coriander ganache are covered in white-chocolate buttercream. A trio of sugar flowers serve as the garnish.
For a wedding cake that is bold and modern, try a confection that is covered with marbleized icing. This pattern is done in aqua-tinted white chocolate using chocolate transfer sheets applied to buttercream. Inside, a moist dark-chocolate cake is combined with dark-chocolate ganache and semisweet- and white-chocolate buttercream.
Here, we put the notion of icing on ice, relying instead on unadorned pastel layers for graphic appeal. Coconut pound cake, tinted with gel-paste food coloring, serves as the foundation, while white fondant and passion-fruit curd rests on top (the curd is also between each layer). Sorbets in mango, passion fruit, lychee nut, and coconut are paired with strawberry sugar wafers that mimic the look of the cakes.
In 1886, a produce purveyor named Auguste Fauchon opened a food shop on the Place de la Madeleine, in Paris. A little more than a century later, the venerable house of Fauchon came to New York City; its pastry chef, Florian Bellanger, created this wedding cake, the charlotte, with featherlight ladyfingers that surround a filling of raspberry mousse, raspberries, and fraises des bois, or wild strawberries, on soft almond biscuits. More berries and a drizzle of raspberry preserve crown the tiers. Like all the best French pastries, the charlotte is at once light and rich.
Another creation from pastry chef Florian Bellanger, this most spectacular of ice cream cakes would necessarily make a sudden and dramatic appearance just before being disassembled and served. Each of the realistic fruits, which cover an edible nougatine cone, is molded from refreshing sorbet.
Early summer is the best time to choose a cake like this one -- brimming with a fresh and varied assortment of the season's best berries. Red currants, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, and strawberries look beautiful jumbled together on basket-weave tiers. The basket-weave effect was created using an oversize leaf tip. The cake's three tiers are supported by wooden dowels; the berries are arranged before the dowels are inserted, which helps hide the supports.
This towering confection is the traditional wedding cake of France. The name croquembouche, which means "crunch in the mouth," refers to the hard caramel that coats delicate puffs of pate a choux filled with vanilla cream. The top tier rests on an edible nougatine base, made of caramel and crushed almonds. The roses and ribbons are pastillage, a sugar paste that dries with a porcelain-like finish; the giant swirls are pulled sugar.
Sugar-paste daisies drift down a fondant-covered cake, by Gail Watson of New York City. This effect is created by covering the top tier entirely with the blooms, and placing fewer and fewer on the bottom tiers. The choice of daisies, a decidedly old-fashioned flower, gives the simple, modern design a retro appeal. The cake's petite form gains presence when displayed on a footed cake stand. Choose a color that fits with your wedding theme for the fondant.
Why limit monograms to stationery and linens? Here, sweeping lettering adorns icing on a geometric cake by Wendy Kromer; placed end to end, the arcs and swirls seem more like a graceful pattern than initials. You can have the baker adapt your existing monogram. Rather than piping the design freehand, she traces the monograms in royal icing onto waxed paper, lets the letters harden, and then affixes them to the cake.
Four buttercream cubes topped with brilliant parrot tulips glow with color; every cluster picks up a hue from the one next to it. To prevent marring the soft icing, the blooms are arranged on clear acetate sheets. Each cake serves 60; for easier slicing, foam board separates the two 4-inch-high layers.
As a prelude to the wedding cake (or in place of it), give each guest a miniature version molded from sorbet, a palate cleanser. For a sweet decoration, the bride's and groom's initials are piped in chocolate along the edge of each plate, and the sorbet "cake" is garnished with raspberries.
Beautiful textiles are a rich source of inspiration for wedding cakes. You can dress a cake in anything from a simple dotted Swiss to an intricate lace. Here, 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.
Although it's not often served at weddings, angel food cake never disappoints. Guests will be delighted by these individual versions of the heavenly confection; each one is glazed and then topped with a single sugared flower (an edible rose, viola, or primrose), making them elegant enough to present either in lieu of a classic wedding cake or as part of a dessert buffet. Cake stands dusted with pale pink sanding sugar give them the stature they deserve.
Try one of these unique flavors for your wedding cake. The mocha cake (top left) is flavored with three buttercreams -- vanilla, and light and dark coffee -- between tiers of dense devil's food cake. On the bottom layer: a bittersweet-chocolate ganache. White-chocolate pistachio cake (top right) is made with airy layers of pistachio sponge cake nestled in cloudlike white-chocolate mousse layered with pistachio cream, served with a scoop of pistachio gelato. The blackberry buttermilk cake (bottom) is four layers of fruit-studded buttermilk cake and blackberry buttercream are encased in fondant, a decorative sugar paste that helps keep the interior moist.
Cherries and almonds are close botanical relatives, and they're famously compatible in desserts. Here, they meld lusciously in a three-tier cake cloaked in marzipan (a sweet almond paste) and scattered with marzipan cherries. Sour-cherry jam and buttercream top layers made with ground almonds.
These cakes are sure to recall the joys of summer. Fresh strawberries top stacked pound cakes instead of the traditional biscuits; mascarpone cream is sandwiched between the layers. For an easy-to-slice texture, almond paste and cornmeal were mixed into the batter. Platters piped with royal icing in a basket-weave pattern lend a country feel; they sit on ribbon-wrapped columns that elevate the dessert from its rustic origins and allude to the shape of a conventional tiered wedding cake.
Surprise young revelers with a tower of doughnuts after dinner. Replace the centerpiece at kids' tables with this enticing display. We used chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla frostings, and mixed milk to match. If your local doughnut shop doesn't carry flavors you fancy, ask if they'll mix custom icings for you. Be sure to place flattened paper cupcake liners in between doughnuts so they won't stick together.
A slice of wedding cake concludes your special day on a deliciously festive note. But if you love desserts, why stop there? Indulge your fantasies and have a dessert buffet. Here, treats are playfully displayed on stands and sticks and in cups and bags, as they would be at an old-time carnival. Familiar favorites, such as toffee apples, snow cones, and caramel corn, make an appearance.