If you're a classic bride looking for classic elements, these are the wedding cakes for you. Be it a white cake or a piped cake, we've pulled together all of our most traditional confections.
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. A satin-and-lace ribbon visually anchors the cake to its simple stand.
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 -- 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.
The delicate and elegant detail of a circa-1900 French silk fabric looks every bit as gorgeous at the dawn of our century in cake form. 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.
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.
The top and bottom sections of this grand cake display a classic basketweave design, while the thick whorls (made with a petal tip) and braided wreaths (a round tip) of the middle tiers copy the artistry of baskets made by Maine's Wabanaki tribes. Mocha buttercream is also unconventional; along with a brown satin ribbon around the stand, it gives the cake an autumnal air.
This cake is as magical as the season's first flurry. Snowflakes made from royal icing are miniature at the top of the cake and larger at the bottom, giving the impression of a gracefully drifting snowfall. The tiers are frosted smoothly with Swiss meringue to resemble tightly packed snow.
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, two shades of fondant were blended -- a pale pink and a rosy peach -- to mimic the marbled appearance that hand-dyed cotton takes on in the light. Then, royal icing was spread over stencils of the pattern's sinuous floral design and painted it with edible luster dust mixed with lemon extract.
A traditional tiered confection covered with pale green fondant has fresh hydrangeas between the layers (each cake tier is topped with clear acetate so flowers don't touch the icing). The monogram is made of royal icing sprinkled with nonpareils for texture.
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.
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.
The lively architectural flourishes of the 18th and early 19th centuries inspired the design of this romantic cake. Buildings of that era were characterized by a dynamic interplay of color and ornamentation. Here, swags, friezes, and cartouches in fondant and gilded royal icing bring life to an otherwise static structure.
These masterly cakes, made by Ohio baker and Weddings contributing editor Wendy Kromer, have romantic seaworthy roots: They are styled after "sailors' valentines" -- keepsake boxes, decorated with intricate shell patterns, that 19th-century mariners gave as gifts to their beloveds. The originals inspired our mosaics of gum-paste shells arranged in concentric circles, rosettes, and monograms.
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.
Highly detailed wooden springerle molds are traditionally used in cookie making; here, a selection of botanically themed ones were pressed into white fondant, which was then cut to the right size with cookie cutters. The resulting plaques were attached to the fondant bands on the tiers with royal icing. The bands themselves were attached to the cake with gum glue; royal icing created a picot edge. As a final flourish, delicate vines, leaves, and berries were piped onto the tiers in 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 four-tiered cake takes its fanciful spirit from gowns created by some of fashion's most daring designers, who adorn necklines, bustles, and hems with clusters of colorful silk flowers. The cake's flowers and leaves appear to support the weight of the tiers but are actually hiding the dowels that do the work.
Intricately designed, this chocolate-mint cake comes off as elegant and polished; after all, the fondant molding, cast from architectural reliefs, was inspired by the interiors of neoclassical architect Robert Adam. But cut into it, and decadence awaits. Each rich slice is laced with a minty buttercream filling.
Buttercream baskets brim with crystallized flowers, including pansies, roses, lavender, cornflowers, and violets. Sugaring flowers gives them a sparkling appearance; if you want guests to be able to nibble on these lovely decorations, be sure to acquire them from a reputable supplier.
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.
The sweet, shimmery details of lusterware plates -- often used to serve dessert in the 19th century -- were typically painted in silver, copper, and pink. The playful motifs encircling the tops of the four tiers of this cake were created with powdered food colorings and a sable paintbrush -- the best tool to match the brush strokes of the originals.
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 Tennessee-based Maples Wedding Cakes printed our designs on paper, covered them in parchment, traced them with royal icing, then transferred them onto fondant.
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. 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.
Whimsical and lighthearted, these pretty little cakes -- a fresh alternative to a single grand confection -- are adorned with sprigs of sugar freesia in yellow, lavender, and white. The cakes are iced in the same colors, but paired with a differently hued flower. A Swiss-dot motif piped onto the fondant is echoed in the cloth draping the cake table.
A string of soft petals encircling a dainty cake makes romantic use of a classic flower. With the sepal removed, the petals of a perfect rose fall open; the flower's grace repeats in a necklace of pale petals -- cream and blushing yellow -- on the cake's first tier. Lemon curd fills butter cake layers, which are frosted in yellow-tinted white chocolate buttercream. Pristine blooms garnish the plate.
The scale and shape of this cake suggest a gorgeous Victorian hat, so it's appropriate that the decorations adorning it are millinery flowers -- fabric blossoms that are traditionally used by hatmakers. Kromer's royal-icing string work, a stenciled top, and icing flocked with shimmery sanding sugar all add to the romantic feel. Favor boxes, by Denise Sharp, ornamented with fabric calla lilies are covered in custom paper.