New This Month

Gorgeous Floral Wedding Cakes by Maggie Austin

  • Photos by Kate Headley
  • Text Excerpted From Maggie Austin Cake

Here, the cake designer takes us inside her new book, Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique, and shows off some next-level floral confections.

In her brand-new book, Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique, available April 4, 2017, the Washington, D.C.–area cake designer shares the step-by-step processes behind the beautiful, intricately detailed desserts she's famed for creating. This exclusive excerpt offers a peek at her techniques and stunning confections. Check out some of her prettiest floral cakes to date!

"My clients are my primary source of inspiration when 
it comes to the direction of their cake. Together, we look at linens and colors and the décor for the venue. But not all 'aha' moments are visual. In a casual conversation following a tasting, one bride mentioned that she adored sunflowers. But with an April wedding, the florist was unable to source fresh blooms. Although the bride was resigned to more conventional seasonal flowers, I suddenly knew that she needed something that was more personal. 
I changed my design direction altogether and instead created enormous, everlasting sunflowers for her cake. It was a perfect (and perfectly unexpected) fit."

Vintage Enameled Floral Appliqué

(Above) "This cake is packed with little embellishments, including stylized flowers, molded bees, and tiny balls of nonpareils that look like beaded buttons, all nestled together in clusters. I applied them using piping gel in a loose, somewhat random fashion. For this look of overabundance, avoiding symmetry is key."

Ribbon-Wrapped Watercolor

"After making countless tiers covered with ruffled frills (see page 153 for an example of that signature look), I developed this sleeker and decidedly less girlish variation using fondant strips. This ribbon-wrap technique is fast and easy and lends itself beautifully to further embellishments, such as the watercolor painting shown here."

Yellow Rosettes & Alabaster Bas-Relief

(Left) "A honeycomb pattern, made by pressing an impression mat onto the freshly covered fondant tiers, complements rosettes in ombré shades of yellow."

(Right) "French for 'low raised work,' bas-relief brings subtle dimension to a pattern using light and shadows. Here, the shadows and highlights lend drama to a monochromatic berry motif, and the square tiers are decidedly modern."

Pearls and Ribbons & Square Watercolor

(Left) "Why pick just one adornment when large round pearls, dainty freshwater pearls, and ribbons are on hand? Pale-blue blossoms are an unexpected counterpoint to the abundant arrangement of peach roses, garden roses, and shimmering leaves."

(Right) "This painting technique is delightfully simple, requiring only wet pigment, your fingers, and a paper towel; 
it's delicate and refined and unique every time. I find that the less I focus on creating specific shapes and patterns, the better."

Dahlia Frill

"Dahlias, particularly the 'Café au Lait' large variety, have become an increasingly popular choice for wedding flowers, and one I love to feature on a cake. Here, I used gentle shades of complementary colors for the cake, and the natural geometry of the flower repeats the rhythm of the gold appliqué accents. The bottom tier features blue-green frills in a very slight ombré pattern. The secret to such a light and airy look is far from conventional. The rows are applied upside down so the frills can 'open' ever so slightly once the cake is upright. Using a 50-50 mix of fondant and gum paste instead of pure fondant gives the frills more strength to stand up to humidity."