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Between welcoming guests to your wedding, slipping away for portraits, and hitting the dance floor with friends and family, so many brides never have the time to taste that beautifully decorated and carefully chosen wedding cake—aside from the moment it's smushed in their face by their new spouse, that is. The whole reception may go by in a blur, but artist Rachel Dyke hopes to create keepsakes that brides can treasure long after the last dance of the night with her miniature wedding cake replicas. We're not talking "mini cakes" like cupcakes; think more the micro size that would fit on a dollhouse dining room table.
Fine miniaturist Dyke uses a base of polymer clay to replicate a couple's wedding cake, down to each and every teensy tiny flower, cake topper, and frosting ruffle. And the results are unbelievable—sometimes, when they're side by side, it's hard to tell which is real cake and which is clay. Dyke has been making miniatures since she was six or seven, but it wasn't until she was 20 that she found this wedding niche in her art, almost by accident. She made one for a friend, who wanted one for another friend, and so on. In the last year, her work has become so popular that she's often running on a wait list.
Whether you're looking for a special memento to mark your first wedding anniversary or hoping to surprise a family member or friend with an unexpected gift, these big-day cake replicas could be just the thing. Click through to see just how beautiful these faux cakes can be.
Pink Princess Wedding Cake
This pretty pink polymer wedding cake is built for a princess. The bright color is reminiscent of Dykes' childhood playing with dolls—but she didn't play like many young children. "I've been making miniatures since I was around six or sever. It was my fascination with Barbie accessories. I was more interested in examining her shoes and purses rather than playing make-believe," she says.
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Minty Green Pastry Cake
Between the cake, the micro macarons, and the teeny teacup, it's no surprise that Dyke has a background not just in art, but also in cake decorating. In fact, Dyke worked as a cake decorator for Los Angeles' Charm City Cakes West—the very same shop owned by the star of the Food Network's Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman. But now, she says, she's traded in fondant for clay, and her cake-baking days are behind her.
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Sky-High Purple Wedding Cake
Look close up at this six-tiered elegant polymer cake and you'll see Dyke's favorite part: She used different shapes and sizes of rhinestone nail art for the gems on the cake. Though the base is clay, Dyke says she's always on the lookout for innovative ways to use materials on her designs, from acrylic paint and pastels to fabric and jewelry she finds at hobby shops.
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The Royal Wedding Cake
Dyke's favorite miniature wasn't commissioned by a bride, it was a passion project of one of the most famous wedding cakes in the last decade: the cake from Prince William and Duchess Kate's wedding. "My favorite is probably the royal wedding cake. I'm still hoping the royals see it," Dyke says. "The actual baker of the cake, Fiona Cairns, saw my Instagram post and commented on it. That was an amazing moment."
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Jessica Simpson's Wedding Cake
Jessica Simpson had a unique cake at her wedding to Eric Johnson, and Dyke challenged herself to recreate all six tiers of it—plus the stand. Dyke calls her replica a "midsummer night's dream" cake, and all of the unkempt and wild flowers and vines certainly fit the moniker.
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Rustic Birch Tree Cake
Naked cakes have been all the rage in the past couple of years. Dyke says that she put this rustic birch tree cake together like she would have a "real" naked cake, after watching so many constructed at a bakery, stack by stack, "frosting" with paint as she went.
However, her favorite part of her replica isn't even the cake, it's the tiny slice of real wood that mimics the base.
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Gold-Dusted Glam Cake
Every single sequin on this blinged-out wedding cake replica was cut and placed individually and painted gold, taking Dyke around 12 hours to complete. But believe it or not, that's not even the high end of her time spent creating her micro wedding cakes. She spills that some cakes take half a day, and some can take her a whole week!
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Ivy League Cake
The crazy amount of detail in many of her creations, like in this ivy-covered cake, can get tedious and cause back pain, Dyke says. Her secret? "I do a ballet barre workout every day to preserve my posture or I wouldn't be able to make these cakes," she says.
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Trendy Cupcake Tower
Dyke doesn't just replicate traditional tiered wedding cakes. Her background in cake decorating and her work with recent brides give her insight into all the hot wedding dessert trends, including cupcake towers like this one she created. "Trends evolve. Naked cakes were and still are pretty big, the drippy style with all the candy bars and cookies stuck to the sides are huge right now. Those geode ones were big last summer and seem to have stuck around. Cupcakes towers are huge. I've made a few of those," Dyke says.
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Timeless Rose-Covered Cake
"Floral cakes stand the test of time. I get really excited when I get to make a cake covered in roses," like this one above, Dyke says. There are about 120 micro-mini roses on this polymer cake, each added by hand.
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Chocolate Drip Cake
Not only is Dyke making cake replicas that look exactly like the original, she's making cakes that smell good, too. Her unlikely inspiration? A major pop star. "I saw this feature about Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album where the CD booklet smelled like cotton candy when you opened it. I thought that was the neatest idea," she says. "I scent my pieces with soap and candle oils. I use a blend of them in each, two or more. So each cake has its own layered scent," she adds.
The drip cake above is smells like chocolate and Fruit Loops!