Desserts: One Singular Sensation
The wedding cake makes a stylish return to center stage in sophisticated designs & indulgent flavors | Photographs by Barrett Doran | Flowers & Decor by Allie Kesler-Couch of Scenemakers
Lace is an elegant style choice for more than just your wedding dress—the classic bridal fabric provides beautiful inspiration for big-day desserts, too. Just ask Tasha Mitchell of Cake-A-Licious, a pro at whipping up lacy sweets. To make this confection, Mitchell used blush fondant to dress tiers of apricot cake, Bavarian-cream buttercream, and fresh raspberry purée. She pressed fondant into food-safe silicone molds to create lace appliques and finished the look with hand-piped details. She says custom molds can be made to replicate the lace pattern of a bride’s dress: “I use a sample of the fabric for a perfect match.” But she notes that a variety of techniques are available and pricing varies.
Glasses, dessert plates, and gold flatware (used throughout) from Scenemakers’ private collection. Table linens (used throughout) from BBJ Linen. Arrangements of garden roses, clematis, hellebore, and ranunculus (used throughout) by Allie Kesler-Couch
Twice as Nice
Have your heart set on fondant, but your betrothed loves buttercream? Request a mixed-media cake like this one by Jana Ellis of Granite Bakery & Bridal Showcase, made with the two icings and a double dose of decorations. She iced three of the Orange Dream–flavored, custard-filled tiers with classic buttercream, and designed a subtle lattice pattern in fondant for the base tier. The look provides couples with the best of both textures: “Buttercream is all the rage and makes the cake soft and deliciously appetizing, while the stenciled fondant base layer is elegant and stylish,” says Ellis. For the final flourish, she sculpted a cascade of sugar flowers in blush, peach, and rose tones all lightly dusted with edible gold.
Gold-painted cake stand from Scenemakers’ private collection
Cake Etiquette Traditionally the cutting occurs after you’ve danced off dinner, signaling the reception will end in about an hour. Feed your spouse a bite, and then serve your parents first.
Janell Brown, owner of One Sweet Slice, made a name for herself baking award-winning cupcakes—she took home top honors when she competed on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” and she recently penned a recipe book of her tasty handheld treats. But she took her skills to the next tier by hand-painting this refined china rose-patterned cake. A fondant pearl-bead border and handmade gumpaste flowers coordinate with the blossom motif, while a hint of edible gold paint adds a regal touch. To create height, Brown designed extra-deep tiers of chocolate raspberry cake with dark chocolate ganache and fresh raspberry preserves iced in Swiss meringue buttercream and vanilla-cream fondant. Brown says painted techniques are time-consuming and come at a cost, but if your cake budget allows, she encourages brides and grooms to create a work of art. “Hand-painted designs are popular because a couple can customize their cake in a truly unique way,” she says.
Ceramic cake stand from Pottery Barn. Glass favor jars filled with Utah honey by Scenemakers
Cakes decorated with excerpts from wedding vows, lyrics to the first-dance song, or lines from a favorite poem are an emerging wedding trend, and Michelle Ridd of Cakenique is a big fan. “More and more, weddings are an expression of the couples’ personalities rather than just a pretty event,” she says. “Script-style cakes are a subtle but stunning way to add to that expression.” Ridd hand-painted words from Pablo Neruda’s poem “One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” on the middle tier of this champagne, peach compote, and vanilla buttercream cake. The silhouette is elongated by a double-tall gold base and two blush spacer tiers and crowned with a delicate sugar flower with gold edges. Ridd says text for cakes can also be printed onto sugar sheets with an edible ink printer or piped on with royal icing, but she prefers the hand-painted method for its authentic and artistic feel.
White cake stands from Scenemakers’ private collection
Photography Barrett Doran Photography