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We’ve seen brides tuck heirloom handkerchiefs into sleeves, wrap them around bouquets, and stitch them into gowns. Taking that notion, we selected antique designs to serve as inspiration for New York City pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel, who worked with us to create these amazing cakes.
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“When you stitch on fabric, it’s raised,” says Ben-Israel. “We wanted to capture that effect.” To bring the pattern of the hankie (shown on the previous slide and blown up on fabric for the backdrop here) to life, his team poured liquid silicone over it to create molds of the floral embroidery, then filled them with ivory sugar paste and applied the reliefs to the tiers. (If you don’t want to sacrifice your hankie, search for similar, pre-existing molds.) Ben-Israel calls the resulting look “very Old World.”
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For this delicate lemon cake with strawberry filling, Ben-Israel took two elements from the handkerchief: design and color. He faithfully rendered the Swiss-dot grid pattern of the rosebuds, attaching sugar-paste flowers with piping gel. But he got creative with the hues, making one of the tiers pink even though the fabric was all white.
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The lilac flowers are molded sugar paste, and the monogram and stems are piped royal icing. “But what I love here is the ribbon,” says Ben-Israel, who cut strips of sugar paste and attached them with piping gel in a “flowing, freehand” style. As for flavor? “It would be striking to have chocolate cake under the pristine white fondant,” he suggests. “No one would guess it was there!”
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We sent a hankie to Spoonflower, which enlarged the design and then printed it on fabric for the tablecloth and backdrop. Ben-Israel “didn’t just lay the pattern on the cake”; he flipped the color and deconstructed the motif, placing different sections of the intersecting squares on each tier. He also added a monogram, pressing grosgrain ribbon against the sugar paste for texture before cutting. Inside, he suggests lemon-poppyseed cake with “really puckery lemon-curd filling.”
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This mouthwatering group started as three handkerchiefs we sent to Stampworx2000, which carved the patterns into rubber stamps. Ben-Israel pressed those into fondant-covered mini cakes in peach, mauve, and gray (inside you’ll find Georgia peach, cappuccino, and coconut cake, respectively). Then he painted the impressions with edible pearl shimmer and added molded flowers, leaves, and dots made of royal icing to finish. Each dessert serves four; set three on a table to create a delicious display for 12 guests.
Styled by Kate Berry.
Art directed by Elisabeth Engelhart.
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