For 10 years now I have been designing and creating cakes for friends and family. Having made several wedding cakes previously, I couldn’t wait for the day when I could actually sit down and design my own, although I already had a fair idea in my head of the style I wanted. In all honesty, I probably began sketching the cake design the day after we got engaged!
Having decided that we would get married at Christmas, I knew I wanted to incorporate Christmas motifs in the design but I didn’t want it to be overpowering. In essence I wanted an elegant wedding cake with embellishment and textures that would tie in with my Winter Wonderland theme. Below are the steps I took to design my own wedding cake.
Sketching the wedding cake
I began by sketching out different ideas that I had and styles that I had liked while researching cakes in the past. Doing this helped me work out the logistics of how each idea could be recreated in icing and whether it would look better as a larger tier or a smaller tier. It also gave me a chance to consider different textures and embellishments. I thought about using colour but in the end I thought a palette of neutral tones would tie in best with the theme and look the most elegant.
I didn’t want the cake to be one solid colour as I was concerned that this would not allow the decoration on the surface to show up in photographs. As narcissistic as it sounds, I wanted to create a monogram on the cake of our initials. I played about with different ideas until I came up with a design which I felt was the most elegant, easily read and fuss free.
Sketching out each design helped me choose which ones I actually liked best. I wanted the cake to be ornate and include several textures including lace work, quilting and beading. With my favourite sketches in mind, I drew three multi-tiered cakes which incorporated the best designs. I knew I wanted several layers, which worked out well as I didn’t want to scrap any of my ideas! I worked on a couple of eight and nine tier designs and I was pretty happy with how they turned out.
The sketches were drawn 18 months prior to the wedding and my final design had changed very little in that time. I looked closely at my drawings and chose the best features from each design. I was also open to the idea of changing certain elements when I began making the cake, sometimes things work together differently in three dimensional form.
Final wedding cake design
In the final design I incorporated several textures including snowflakes, lace, beading and blossom flowers. For variation of colour I added pearl shimmers to the blossom, snowflakes and monogram. For some sparkle I added a diamante and pearl brooch, a diamante trim and irridescent pearls. I finished the cake with a clear shine spray and a light dusting of edible holographic glitter to attract the light.
I wanted to decorate the cake with lace to tie in elements from my dress so I created some fine lace work using Claire Bowman Cake Lace. I spread the edible cake lace mix in Pearlised White onto large silicon mats from the same range which have a lace imprint design. I allowed the mixture to dry out in a very low oven and I used the same process for creating the snowflakes. The mini blossom were very easy to create using a tiny flower cutter and an imprint tool.
I was initially going to make each tier double height but the cake would have been too tall so I alternated double height tiers with single height tiers, and in fact I think it made the cake more interesting.
The final design was as follows:
- Tier 1 (Bottom Tier): The bottom tier was a massive 18 inches wide! I opted for a single height tier (3 inch depth) and embellished it with large pearlised snowflakes.
- Tier 2: The second tier was double height (6 inch depth) and measured 16 inches across. I wrapped this tier in a deep lace which covered the bottom half of the tier.
- Tier 3: The third tier was single height, measured 14 inches across and was plain with a simple satin ribbon, an organza bow, and a diamante and pearl brooch. A single row of diamante was placed at the bottom of the satin band.
- Tier 4: This tier was double height and 12 inches wide. I added a narrow satin ribbon to the base of this cake and placed a central band of lace around this tier to tie in with the lace trim on the second tier.
- Tier 5: The fifth tier, which was 10 inches wide, was covered in mini blossom flowers above and below a beautiful broad satin ribbon around the middle. I used three shades of white icing to make the blossom and added pearl lustre to a few to add interest.
- Tier 6: The sixth tier measured 8 inches across and had a quilting design which was created by criss-crossing diagonal lines in the surface of the cake and adding a tiny bead of icing in each cross. I dusted a little pearl lustre on each of the beads. I lined this tier with a row of irridescent pearls to the bottom and the top. The main decoration on this tier was the monogram which I made by piping the NH monogram which I designed onto an oval plaque which was lined with pearls.
- Tier 7: This tier was 6 inches across and was simply decorated with an elegant draping motif made with pearls. It was created by pushing sugar pearls into the icing.
- Tier 8 (Top Tier): The top tier was 4 inches wide and mirrored the bottom tier and as adorned with small pearlised snowflakes. A narrow ribbon, lined with two rows of irridescent pearls, was placed around the bottom.
- Topper: Initially I hadn’t decided upon a topper but I came across a beautiful snow globe which had two love birds inside and I knew instantly that this would be the perfect accent to finish the cake off.
I was delighted with the final cake and it was everything I had hoped for. It fitted perfectly with our theme and looked beautiful in the photographs. Although 8 tiers seems quite a lot, I think a smaller cake would have looked lost within our reception room in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle.