Couture Bow Cake with Millinery Feather Wisps

Here's the second wedding cake I delivered last Saturday. The design was inspired by a magnificent Kate Sullivan cake, which appeared in The Knot magazine a while back. The beautiful bride, Alyssa, brought a photo of that cake to her design/tasting appointment, and requested a few tweaks -- black millinery feather wisps instead of the original ivory ones, and the addition of sugar anemones (in white with black centers) to complement the fresh ones in the bridesmaids' bouquets. Also, we changed the proportions of the cake (four tiers, instead of three) to serve the couple's 230 guests.

The cake was Lemon Pucker (white cake brushed with lemon zest syrup, filled with cream-cheese Swiss meringue buttercream and a really zingy lemon curd), and served 230. The cake was pretty huge, but I have a couple of cake stands in my collection that are capable of hoisting up a cake of this size. We went with an 18"-diameter white one, which was custom made for me by Adaura (they're such wonderful artisans to work with; I originally found them on Etsy).

The flowers, bow loop and bow tails are all  made from a gumpaste/fondant blend. The only inedible adornments on this cake are the black feather wisps, diamante and pearl centers (for some of the flowers), and black anemone stamens.  

[By the way, my friend and fellow Seattle-area wedding professional, Rebecca Grant, coordinated the day's events. Her company is New Creations, and she makes her immensely complex job look effortless.]

A funny thing happened while assembling the cake on site.  I had always intended to add two bow loops to the cake (per the original Sullivan design), but as I started to put it all together, I decided that two would simply be too much (there were so many elements, and I often think that less is, indeed, more), so I piped a dollop of Royal Icing and attached my 'favorite' of the two bow loops I'd brought with me. Then, a little further into the setup process, once the ribbon trim had been added and as I was about to attach all the sugar flowers, I had a sudden change of heart and feared I'd disappoint the bride if I didn't stick to our agreed-upon sketch. So, I carefully 'glued' the second bow on with my Royal Icing. And it broke! I figured, perhaps it didn't want to be on the cake, and perhaps my instincts were right.

Cake design can be a capricious sort of thing, I guess!


I've just posted a few more shots of the cake, from the couple's amazing photographer, Kirk Mastin. Please do check out Kirk's blog post for Alyssa and Aaron's wedding (there's some incredible eye candy in that gallery.) 

In the images below, you'll see the matching birthday cake I made for the bride (she got married on her birthday -- how wonderful is that?). The cake was dairy-free and gluten-free Red Velvet with vegan cream cheese. (The couple cut into this cake for their cutting ceremony -- and to me, anything with candles on it means extra-good fortune!)