Wedding Cakes Inspired by China Patterns
Classic Gold Wedding Cake
Nothing says marriage like Robert Haviland and C. Parlon's "Arc en Ciel" china pattern, the French Limoges company's new take on its original wedding-band motif. And nothing says delicious like this four-tier interpretation. Its tinted sugar-paste bands were painted in edible gold by Ron Ben-Israel, owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in New York City. Inside, a molasses spice cake with orange-blossom and hazelnut filling complements the elegant exterior.
Dessert plates and bread and butter plates (mottahedeh.com).
Botanical Wedding Cake
Among china collectors, Anna Weatherley's "Amber Leaf" pattern is a coveted botanical print. For dessert aficionados, this two-layer masterpiece will delight on sight. Ben-Israel created the three-dimensional leaves and butterflies from sugar paste and attached them to the ivory-colored fondant with royal icing. The result is perfect for an outdoor fete or nature-themed wedding.
Hand-painted plate (devinecorp.net).
Modern Silver Wedding Cake
Modern brides with an appreciation for all things Art Deco will be drawn to this design, which uses Martha Stewart Collection's "Hightown" pattern as muse. To make it, Ben-Israel turned the horizontal motif on its head and used silicone molds to form sugar-paste "towers" that were affixed with a dab of water. The finishing touch? Hand-painted edible silver details that prime it for a big-city celebration or sleek gallery-space soiree.
Five-piece place setting and platter (both at macys.com).
Tea Party Mini Wedding Cakes
Whether you're hosting a five-course meal at an old estate or midday brunch in a ballroom, these miniature cakes, modeled after Nymphenburg's "Pearl" tea service, are as pretty and delicate as they come. Ben-Israel covered each one with pastel fondant, then attached molded sugar paste and piped on royal icing. Present three different colors per table, he suggests, as each cake satisfies the sweet tooth of about four people.
Dessert plates, cups and saucers, and coffee pot (all at kneenandco.com).
Floral Wedding Cake
Calling all spring and summer brides! This five-tier cake takes Bernardaud's "Pensees" pattern -- and your wedding -- to soaring new heights. It's abloom with hand-painted sugar pansies "planted" into fondant. To wow your crowd, Ben-Israel suggests asking your baker for extra blossoms so that one can be served with each slice.
To play up the geometric designs on Juliska's "Jardins du Monde" and "Heligan" stoneware, which were inspired by the layouts of historic English gardens, Ben-Israel constructed hexagonal tiers of white fondant, then attached pieces of ecru-tinted sugar-paste "rope" with piping gel. Let it set the scene at an outdoor or rustic barn wedding.
"Jardins du Monde" platter as cake stand and round cocktail plates, and "Heligan" dessert plate (all at juliska.com).
Modern Art Hermes-Inspired Cake
Tiny tiles make up the Hermes "Mosaique au 24" pattern -- and this detail-minded cake. After cutting squares from sheets of sugar paste, Ben-Israel laid out a design that's as interesting to look at as a work of modern art. And with a few strokes of edible gold, it's all set to be displayed at a loft, museum, or gallery wedding.
Clockwise from top left: Plate #4, plate #3, plate #2, and plate #5 (all at hermes.com).
Transferware Wedding Cake
The nineteenth-century English pottery that inspired this cake (top left) was known for intricate scenes and border patterns. Here, a border detail is repeatedly piped in chocolate.
Lustreware Wedding Cake
The sweet, shimmery details of lustreware plates -- often used to serve dessert in the nineteenth 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.
Wedding Band Cake
In the nineteenth 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.
Creamware Wedding Cake
The reticulated pattern of this eighteenth-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 top and base.
Ironstone Wedding Cake
The subtle aesthetic of ironstone made it popular in nineteenth-century England. This confection takes on the quietly raised pattern and charm of the original.
Wedgwood Wedding Cake
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.