White Wedding Cake with Handmade Lilac Roses at The Westin Bellevue

Joy and Ryan's wedding cake was five tiers of deliciousness: the 230 generous portions were divided between Strawberries and Cream (vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla cream cheese filling, strawberry preserves, and chopped fresh organic strawberries), Red Velvet with cream cheese, and Chocolate Truffle (dark chocolate sponge filled with a mixture of bittersweet chocolate ganache and Swiss meringue buttercream).

I delivered the cake to the Westin in Bellevue yesterday, and stacked the cake on site (five tiers of this size, pre-stacked, are WAY too heavy for little ol' me to carry).

The monogram cake topper was handcut from grey gumpaste, using an X-Acto knife. The initials were painted (once dry) with silver highlighter dust mixed with vodka.

I dislike using silver dragees on cakes (those little chrome balls are not strictly food safe, and they're so crunchy that wedding guests risk breaking their teeth on them), so on the quilted sections of this cake, I simply piped Royal Icing dots at each intersection, and then painted the dots with edible silver luster. This method creates the look of a dragee, but is much easier to eat (and definitely not toxic).

The David Austin roses (in lilac) and blue hydrangeas were handcrafted from gumpaste, along with the green leaves. I LOVE making garden roses in sugar, although they are somewhat infuriatingly time-consuming (a day and a half, on average, is how long it takes to make four of them). The upside is that these blooms are super satisfying to create... and I don't think there are any other sugar flowers in my repertoire (apart from closed peonies, perhaps) that have the same visual impact as these pretties.

I shot these images with a Nikon D5100 DSLR -- an early Christmas present to myself. It's been fun experimenting with the camera in manual mode, although I am NOT a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination (regular readers of this blog will know that, for sure). This means, I am learning as I go. Of course, I appreciate all your feedback, and will continue to push myself out of my comfort zone (i.e. away from "Auto" mode on the Nikon's dial) in the realm of cake photography.

Some 'beauty' shots of the sugar roses and leaves:

I didn't get the color quite right here (below), but I quite like the bokeh. The actual color of the roses (a pale lilac) is better represented in the image above. Note: I am shooting with a 35mm 1.8 prime lens at the moment.

Anyway, congratulations to the newlyweds, Joy and Ryan! What a sweet couple, and what a beautiful scene I encountered when I entered the ballroom at the Westin yesterday (silver silk overlays, navy and lilac florals, moody uplighting, and candlelight everywhere). Best wishes to you both.