A guide to artful wedding cakes.
A guide to artful wedding cakes should firstly decide this, I suppose; Are wedding cakes works of art?
When I started my cake business, I didn’t think so. A cake is a cake, right? It’s going to be eaten, so it’s not a work of art.
Some people would say, maybe it depends who makes it. Maybe it depends on the artist. So, are cake makers also artists?
(Excuse the long intro, but I want to get my own head around what an artful cake really is, as well as hopefully give you a bit more of an introduction to what I am talking about!).
There are all kinds of blurred lines and grey areas with this. I’m not sure that everyone who makes cakes can qualify himself or herself as a chef either, so what qualifies us as artists?
An artful wedding cake inspired by modern interior design. Photo by Sophie Lake Photography
Different types of Cake Makers
There are so many different types of cake making; as in, different types of people going in to business as wedding cake makers, an not to say any are superior or bound to be more successful or come out with a more delicious cake. Some are trained in patisserie and have worked in Michelin star restaurants. Others have always had a love of baking. Others (myself included) have an arty background and married together their love of food and art and design to create their dream job and business.
I think the thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong here. All these types of cake makers and designers and bakers will have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Cake Designer, Cake Maker, Baker?
I wouldn’t say you can call yourself a cake designer if you don’t have a design process for your cakes. Nor would I say you’re a baker if you prefer to get someone else in to go your baking for you so you can focus more on the decorating. I’m not saying all cake makers need to categorise themselves, but definitely play to and be know for their strengths. And that’s why I think it’s always important when ordering a wedding cake, to see what your potential wedding cake maker specialises in. What are their strengths and does that fit in with the kind of wedding cake you want?
I am now happy to call myself a cake designer. I use my Graphic design training to create my sketches after all! And people are kind enough have named my work to be art. And I suppose, art being subjective as it is, then that’s ultimately up to the person viewing it (and maybe eating it in this case?!)
A guide to artful wedding cakes
What is an artful wedding cake?
Not being crafty or cunning like the Artful Dodger, obviously. Artful as in ‘showing creative skill and taste’ (I checked for an exact definition in the dictionary!).
So here are some ideas for wedding cakes that I believe show creative skill and above all, are stand out showstoppers that will be different to anything your guests have seen before.
Photo by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Textured Wedding Cakes
Layered with mixed edible media including coloured chocolate, royal icing, chocolate ganache and edible gold leaf, this tall four tier wedding cake is an example how texturing can really add something to a wedding cake.
It’s adaptable to any colour palette and also works with white on white, simply to add texture to a smooth cake. I love using the very traditional medium that is royal icing in a non-traditional way. Added to this textured cake for decoration is a wafer paper cake corsage (as one of my clients called it!) Here the corsage is white so that it stands out from its monochrome background.
Wafer paper crafting is an art in itself. It’s a fun medium, which takes a lot of practice to get used to and understand its very specific needs and behavior! We’ll talk more about wafer paper as we go on.
Geometric Wedding Cakes
As you may be able to tell by now I am massively keen on anything geometric. It takes me back to my technical drawing days at school. My geometric wedding cakes are inspired by my love of architecture, art and modern interior design. I also use wafer paper here to create a far more measured and precise look and create something a lot more symmetrical (symmetry really makes me happy).
This geometric wedding cake took my clients shared love of modern architecture and design and married it with a London view that’s very special to them. It features one of my signature square geometric architecture tiers and navy and gold to perfectly match their stationery design colour palette.
Photo by Sophie Lake Photography
The Origami Wedding cake
This traditional tall white wedding cake design is had a modern twist. White ticks all those traditional boxes, but the 3D wafer paper decoration makes it a modern and striking alternative. My wedding cakes tend to have taller tiers making them stand out in any room and this is a skinny example of that. I have put my paper cutting and folding skills in to play here. Wafer paper cutting and folding in particular is not a skill for the impatient. It needs love, care and attention!
Whilst I don’t know that this cake needs any flowers to add to the decoration of it (as mentioned I would use fresh flowers only) I think a modern display of brightly coloured flowers would really bring out the character of this cake.
Modern Shapes Wedding Cakes
Pictured above is my signature modern gems wedding cake. Why have flowers on your wedding cake, when you could have anything else. By the way, I don’t do sugar flowers!
Ok, you may be noticing a pattern by now. My weapon of choice is wafer paper and you’ll see it featured in some way on most of my wedding cake designs. I use wafer paper to create any number of different shapes to decorate my wedding cake designs. The possibilities are endless. I like encouraging my couples to move away from the tradition of having flowers on cakes and, instead shapes.
So I think the takeaway from here for couples would be:
Think outside the box when it comes to your wedding cake. If you truly want it to be a work of art, think differently.
Cakes don’t all have to be decorated with flowers you know. I use my skills to push the boundaries of what’s possible with my chosen media including wafer paper, chocolate, royal icing and chocolate ganache.
A note on cost; Artful wedding cakes have a large amount of skill, love, care and attention behind them. Not to mention the hours involved in creating them. You may want to think about your wedding cake budget if you’re thinking of opting for an artful wedding cake. So much work is involved including the design process and the time it has taken a cake artist to experiment with their chosen media to create their art.
If you’d like to learn more about artful wedding cakes or tell me what you think, I would love to hear from you. Get in touch! You can also learn more about my wedding cakes and what kind of cost is involved in my wedding cake designs.