Give your cake a splash of whimsy. Order up a fondant cake, plus a bucket of fondant, from a bakery. Add food coloring to the fondant to get the right hues, and roll out into a thin sheet. Cut with various teardrop-shaped cookie cutters, let dry, and attach to the front of the cake with gum paste mixed with hot water. Cookie-cutter set, Ateco, Sur La Table.
This bloom's reputation as nature's most definitive love symbol stems from the Greeks, who used the flower to represent the goddess Venus. White roses, specifically, have come to symbolize purity, unity, and true love -- as opposed to red roses' association with passion -- which has earned them 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 white detailed cake with piping sat atop a white cake stand decorated with red and white grosgrain ribbon (the colors of the day). On top of the cake sat a vintage cake topper (it belonged to the bride's grandmother) that the bride painted to look more like her and the groom.
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).
Inspired by the hyper-realistic botanical still-life paintings of Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch, circa 1685 to 1750, more than one guest will do a double take at the sight of this cake, which looks like a lush floral centerpiece. Custom-made sugar flowers, created by Amy DeGiulio of Sugar Flower Cake Shop in New York City, were planted in a bed of chocolate-fondant-covered cake, which was set in a large gold urn. Fill the cake's layers with rosewater buttercream to call out it's blooming adornments.
If you're a bride who waxes nostalgic for the precise, flirty glamour of the '50s and '60s -- when baubles born of oysters embellished the necklines of many a chic lady -- this elegant cake, swathed in strands of edible pearls, is for you. As for the Cartier diamond perched on top? We're certain that somewhere Audrey and Marilyn are gasping with delight. (Be sure to go faux for the real topper.) Diamond ring, Cartier, cartier.com.
Architectural yet intimate, our white-chocolate panel cake requires neither culinary talents nor design skills (other than the ones you learned in preschool). Just order a buttercream cake from a local bakery and a pack of chocolate panels from chocolatier Christopher Norman. The rest is a cakewalk: Adhere panels of varying heights onto the tiers, and fill the ledges with golden raspberries or another fruit. Cake panels, $400 for 100 panels, Christopher Norman Chocolates New York, 212-402-1243.
Fauchon's monogrammed pink pastry boxes, or boites roses, are interpreted in tinted white chocolate; the cake itself is vanilla sponge with strawberry syrup and mousse. Almond macaroons in raspberry, chocolate, pistachio, and passion fruit are piled on and around the tiers.
The designs on this cake hark back to another time -- when sandals were strappy, music was for dancing, and jewelry took a leap into the future. But you don't need to know your Art Deco from your Art Nouveau to admire its geometric style. Covered in buttercream, piped dots of frosting, and cut-fondant plaques coated with sanding sugar, it's just plain pretty, no matter how you slice it.
This happy rose confection may look couture, but just about anyone is capable of re-creating it. Start with a plain fondant cake from a bakery. Next, print out our template of abstract roses, place parchment paper over it, and trace with a piping bag of royal icing. Once dry, peel the paper from the piped roses, and adhere the designs to the cake using gum paste that's been mixed with hot water.
No wonder King George went mad! He was likely driven to distraction by the opulent jewelry Englishwomen took to wearing during the 18th and early 19th centuries. This cake is an homage to those showstoppers, with four regal tiers of spearmint-hued fondant, royal icing piped to mimic pearl strands, and sparkling edible baubles, each ringed in a "pave setting" of royal-icing pearls.
As fun to make as it is to eat, our sparkling marmalade-candy cake takes a little muscle -- and that's about it. Buy your favorite hard candies, place them in a large resealable plastic bag, get a rolling pin, and have a blast pounding away your prewedding jitters. Then press the glittering crushed pieces to the sides of a buttercream cake. Orange hard candy, La Vie de La Vosgienne, amazon.com.
A graphic embellishment is all the more striking against rich, chocolate-brown fondant. These royal icing designs, piped in white and light-brown dots, echo the petal shape of the cake tiers and stand. A pattern was first pinpricked into the fondant and then piped over. The cascading design on the top tier forms an intricate, many-petaled flower -- an understated alternative to a cake topper.
Fancy: Yes. Fussy: Not in the least. To make these mini chocolate-covered desserts, we poured a glaze over each cake and piped on lines -- and, in the case of the cake in the middle, circles -- of melted white chocolate. (Perch the cakes on a wire rack so excess glaze doesn't pool.) Then we gently dragged a toothpick through the lines to create the designs.
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.
Long ago, the heart was thought to be the origin of all human emotions. Though modern science proves otherwise, the phrase "giving your heart" is still the best way to express that you'd sacrifice anything for the one you love. Jay Qualls of the Tennessee-based Maples Wedding Cakes printed our designs on paper, covered them in parchment, traced them with royal icing, then transferred them onto fondant.
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). Then we painted edible luster dust mixed with lemon extract onto the fondant in a rose pattern that evokes the blurry quality of an ikat weave.
Apples have been a symbol of love, fertility, and abundance since ancient Greek times, when the goddess Gaia gave her granddaughter a golden apple tree as a gift at her wedding to Zeus. Golden lady apples, painted with edible gold luster dust, are the focal point of this tower by Betsy Thorleifson of Nine Cakes in Brooklyn, New York. The vanilla-bean spiced apple cake -- filled with caramel buttercream -- is drizzled with luscious caramel.
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.
In the old days, church bells were rung to let people in the area know that a wedding had taken place, as well as to wish the newlyweds good luck. Now they're simply sweet. Kate Sullivan of Lovin Sullivan Cakes in New York City strung graphic golden fondant bells -- brushed with edible gold luster dust -- from pale blue royal-icing ribbons.
Textiles -- whether found in upholstery or clothing -- are a rich resource for colors, patterns, and textures appropriate for this celebratory treat. Here, Kromer used a set of stencils to give royal icing on fondant-covered layers the look of old-world damask. The fresh color palette and the modern way the cake sits flush with the edges of its acrylic cake board shake up the ornate look.
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.
Doves are one of the rare wild creatures that mate for life, but their connection to love runs deeper than their devotion alone. In Hindu tradition, for example, they represent the infinite capacity the spirit has for love. Ohio baker Wendy Kromer placed elegant white gum-paste birds at opposite ends of a cake encircled in lush cream ribbon (also gum paste). The scene -- two lovebirds have just finished stringing up ribbon in celebration of your romance -- feels straight from a fairy tale.
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.
As a symbol, rings are stunningly simple yet monumental in their meaning. More than a promise cast in platinum or gold, they represent the eternity you and your husband will spend together: The band itself has no beginning and no end. Here, New York City baker Mark Joseph uses an abundance of precisely applied sugar-paste rings to create a stylish, mod-inspired pattern. A base of unexpected yellow makes the rings pop and completes the fresh, contemporary effect.
This cake, with an image of your smiling faces on the middle tier, is a showstopper. Dotted and floral ribbons are attached to the fondant using royal icing, pleated satin ribbon adds a ruffly effect atop two tiers, and an oval in the same trim neatly outlines your image. We cut the picture (which was printed on an ink-jet printer) to size, and glued it on with royal icing.
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.
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.
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 netting-like 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.
Inspired by jeweled insect pins popularized at the turn of the 20th century, this cake is concocted from royal icing, gold luster dust, and edible pearls. The enchanted-forest backdrop provides the perfect perch for a pair of delicate sugary dragonflies. They whimsically evoke the happy couple, poised to take flight.
Made of gum-paste flowers painted with gold luster dust, the wreaths, along with the Corinthian column-inspired tiers, turn this cake into a Greek fantasy. The tiers are encircled in real ribbon and topped with a champagne coupe bubbling over with a necklace, of course.
This elegant cake features sugary versions of the defining piece of jewelry from this period -- the cameo. They're unabashedly sentimental, especially when they bear the profiles of you and your fiance and the message "Me & Thee." Pressed into fondant using custom rubber stamps, ringed with shimmering candy pearls, and dangled from real ribbons, these adornments grace the brown-sugar marble cake with edible poetry.
Pin tucks and ruffles encircle the layers of this formal cake, which resembles the bib of a classic tuxedo shirt. Tiny sugar-paste pearls, like fabric-covered buttons, punctuate the center of each frilly sugar-paste band. Ivory taffeta ribbon trims the cake board; its picot edging alludes to the black of the suit. The interior is made up of white layers filled and frosted with vanilla Swiss-meringue buttercream and then covered with fondant.
Swiss meringue buttercream icing, piped through a petal tip with a slight wiggle of the wrist, is the medium for the squiggles enveloping the cake. Buttercream is soft, free form, relaxed -- and very delicious. Each buoyant, cushiony tier of this peach-tinted powder puff of a cake is almost imperceptibly elevated above the preceding layer.
The edible pleats here recall the crinolines beneath a cream puff of a wedding dress. White wafer papers, cut with scallop scissors and folded, were painted with gold luster dust and petal dust in pinks and greens. They were then piped with white royal icing and attached to the mint-green fondant-covered tiers with more royal icing. The fluted pastry cups, filled with pillow mints, complete the pleated theme.
The fondant-covered box "lids" are the actual cake here, and the bottoms, also wrapped in fondant, are cake risers. The whole package is tied together with a taffeta ribbon, while each tier is edged with gold luster dust and matching royal-icing dots. The surrounding gumdrops, mint "lentils," sugar wafers, dragees, and pillow mints are treats you might find inside these packages, were they not made of cake.
Nothing says "Let's celebrate" like candy confetti, especially when it's overflowing from a swanky champagne coupe and cascading down the side of a pure white fondant-wrapped cake. It's a spontaneous statement that couldn't be easier to make. Cake, Cakegirls, thecakegirls.com.
This suite of sweets by Kromer features a graphic calligraphy-style motif and words from the classic wedding vows. The designs are incorporated into white-chocolate panels using plastic transfer sheets printed with tinted cocoa butter. The panels are then adhered to tiers evenly frosted in buttercream, which is also used to create the string-of-pearls effect on each level. Pools of raspberry sauce adorn two of the cakes. Transfer kit by American Chocolate Designs. Calligraphy by Nancy Howell.
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.
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.
Inspired by the artwork "Cakes" by American artist Wayne Thiebaud, 1963, this sugary spread by Williams Freeman is virtually identical to the original. Let guests serve themselves a helping of whatever strikes their fancy: a slice of lemon-curd cake, a sliver of buttercream-layered sponge cake, a bite of Boston cream pie -- or all of the above.
Adorn your wedding cake with one of these thoughtful handmade touches.See the Ideas