A Slice of Heaven
Grosgrain Ribbon Cake
Sleek, oval tiers enrobed in fondant are at once both classic and modern. A band of grosgrain ribbon encircles each layer, secured with piped royal icing. A vintage bisque bride-and-groom cake topper stands on top.
Pulled-Sugar Ribbon Cake
These shimmering platinum-blue ribbon bands and this triple-loop bow were pulled and formed from sugar. The rectangular, fondant-covered cake is displayed on a hotel-silver tray with a traditional ribbon-and-cross border.
The swags, which start and finish with a bow, ripple and flow like fabric; delicate dots of buttercream icing imitate dotted swiss.
These lighthearted scrolls were inspired by fabric-coiled appliques used to embellish dress bodices. To make these decorations, gum paste is sent through a pasta machine, then rolled into curls and attached with water to the fondant-covered cake .
This four-tiered cake takes its fanciful spirit from gowns with necklines, bustles, and hems adorned with colorful silk flowers. The flowers and leaves appear to support the weight of the tiers but are actually hiding the dowels that do the work.
Fondant and marzipan buttons cover these stacked boxes. At the base of each box is a fondant ribbon, made by pressing strips of fondant into ribbed elastic to simulate the look of grosgrain. A gum-paste bow serves as the cake topper.
The 19th century English pottery that inspired this cake was known for intricate scenes and border patterns. Here, a border detail is repeatedly piped in chocolate.
The sweet, shimmery details of lustreware plates 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 coloring and a sable paintbrush.
In the 19th century, this fine white china was shipped plain from France and trimmed with gold paint once it reached the United States. These white tiers were dressed with metallic ribbons; sprigs of olive branches symbolize fertility.
The reticulated pattern of this 18th century English china is emulated in the multitiered cake by rolled fondant cut with aspic and eyelet embroidery cutters. Sugar paste was used for the "embroidered" flowers on the top and base.
The subtle aesthetic of ironstone made it popular in 19th century England. This confection takes on the quietly raised pattern and charm of the original.
The icinglike trim on jasperware, developed in England in 1775, translates well to a wedding cake -- piped here in royal icing. This cake and base were covered with fondant; gum-paste leaves adorn the base and top.
Rustic Basket-Weave in Buttercream
The top and bottom of this cake display a classic basket-weave design, while the thick whorls (made with a petal tip) and braided wreaths (a round tip) of the middle tiers copy the artistry of Maine's Wabanaki tribes. The icing is mocha buttercream.
Simple designs, like the luscious buttercream blooms atop these tiny cakes, can make a big impression. Just 3 inches high, these beauties could be the highlight of a dessert buffet or be served at each place.
A garden of roses in pink, peach, and yellow encircles a full-size cake. The flowers' variegated look is achieved by placing two colors of icing side by side in the pastry bag. Rows of dots are piped in the same buttercream that covers the tiers.
Royal Icing Reliefs
Smooth poppies and white-on-white patterns adorn this square cake. For the flowers, a border was outlined and filled in with royal icing. The blooms were transferred to fondant panels, which were then applied to the sides of the cake.
Delicate Dotted Petals
A graphic embellishment is all the more striking against chocolate-brown fondant. These royal-icing designs were piped in white and light-brown dots. A pattern was first pinpricked into the fondant and then piped over.
Seven-Tier Classic Sampler
The designs on this tower mimic the 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.
Four buttercream cubes topped with brilliant parrot tulips glow with color. To prevent marring the soft icing, the blooms are arranged on clear acetate sheets. Each cake serves 60; for easier slicing, foam board separates the two 4-inch-high layers.
Ruffly Rose-Petal Garland
A string of soft petals encircling a dainty cake makes romantic use of a classic flower. Lemon curd fills butter-cake layers, which are frosted in white-chocolate buttercream that has been tinted yellow.
Curling Calla-Lily Tower
Only the bottom layer of this glamorous structure, clad in white fondant, is meant to be eaten; the remaining tiers are Styrofoam, which keeps the flowers from touching the cake. Rubbing the stems between fingers renders them bendable.
Fluffy Carnation Frills
A four-tier cake covered in pink fondant celebrates the beauty of carnations. Hundreds of them blanket the simple wooden box it rests on, an idea that works well with carnations because they are so affordable.
Garden of Sweet Delights
A pristine cake rises from a symphony of fringed nerines and primula in pink, tiny yellow kalanchoe, and papery sweet peas. The cake base rests within a ring of floral foam; space in between keeps the flowers from touching the icing.