by Jan Cartwright,
Decorating Ideas editor
Pipe white dots using open tip No. 10 on the first and third tiers. On the second tier, pipe cornelli lace using tip No. 3.
Use tip No. 86 to create a variety of borders and swags by using different piping motions.
Create a wonderful white-on-white effect by pouring warm white fondant over white base-iced tiers.
Today’s brides are planning their wedding days with simplicity in mind. Their preferences are elegant, but simple, including the dress, reception and most of all, the wedding cake. Simple, sophisticated designs adorn today’s wedding cakes. Many brides want cake decorations that replicate the lace and beading on their bridal gowns, and many gowns feature clean, classic designs.
The traditional tiered cake with plastic pillars, icing flowers and a plastic bride and groom on top is being replaced by contemporary designs as couples put
more thought into their wedding cakes and become more creative. Requested decorations are often tailored to suit the couple’s personalities. Fresh or silk flowers, sugared fruit, ribbons, beads, tulle and lace are fashionable toppers.
Not all wedding cakes are white either. Off-white tones, such as ivory, buff, cream or champagne, are becoming increasingly popular.
Round tiers for wedding cakes are still a favorite choice, but square, octagon, oval, heart and hexagon shaped cakes are frequently requested. The flavor of the cakes and fillings vary widely. Some popular choices for fillings include raspberry, custard, Grand Marnier cream, fresh fruit, lemon and chocolate mousse. Brides also are frequently requesting non-traditional cake varieties, such as cheesecake, carrot, red velvet, tiramisu or even chocolate cake. Icing requests also are becoming more varied. In response, bakeries are not only offering traditional buttercream, but also rolled fondant, rolled buttercream, non-dairy, whipped cream, cream cheese, white chocolate and marzipan.
Stacked tiers or acrylic stands with separated tiers are popular styles. Sculpted cakes also are being requested more frequently, often for themed weddings. A relatively new idea that is increasing in popularity is stacked and tiered cupcakes as an alternative to traditional wedding cakes. Many couples also are choosing individual decorated cakes for each guest table.
Wedding cakes account for 8 percent of an average full-line retail bakeries’ sales, according to Modern Baking’s Retail Bakery Survey, 2003. Having a showroom or special area devoted to wedding cakes will help increase your sales. Change the display cakes regularly and have a book available for customers showcasing all your cake designs. Be sure to offer samples of your cake, fillings and icings. Tiered cakes are usually sold by the serving, so check your area for the going price and charge for your cakes accordingly.
Pipe cornelli lace
The two styles of featured wedding cakes demonstrate simple, elegant designs.
The stacked cake features 6-in., 10-in. and 14-in. round layers. This size of cake, including the top tier, will serve 94 people with 1-in. by 2-in. traditional wedding cake pieces. For more servings, add another tier or a sheet cake. To create this simple design, base ice each layer with white icing.
The first and third tiers are decorated with the same pattern. Use open tip No. 10 to pipe white dots on the sides of the tiers. For the middle tier, pipe white cornelli lace using tip No. 3. Pipe the cornelli lace by squeezing and moving the tip around to create a continuous line of icing that runs in a random pattern but never touches itself. Pipe top and bottom shell borders on each tier using star tip No. 22. Use a wired, satin ribbon bow as the cake topper. The wired ribbon keeps the bow’s shape and allows the streamers to curl.
Another popular design features two tiers that are displayed on separate acrylic stands. I chose to use 6-in. and 10-in. round layers, which will serve 38 people. For a larger event, prepare individual 6-in. cakes for each table. Base ice the individual cakes in white buttercream or non-dairy icing. Slightly heat soft fondant roll icing, and pour it over the top of each tier. Pour enough fondant on the tiers so it drips down the sides of the cake, creating a lovely white-on-white effect.
Pipe white shell bottom borders on each tier with tip No. 86. This tip has the look of half-star tip and half-rose tip. Pipe the border with the star half on top. Place a strand of 4mm white pearls in the center of each bottom border. To add height for the floral centerpiece, place a small, 11¼2-in. square piece of cake on top of each layer, and cover it with icing. Pipe pink roses with tip No. 104 and white daisies with tip No. 143. Add the daisies’ yellow centers using tip No. 6. Pipe green vines using tip No. 3, and leaves with tip No. 352 or a cut parchment bag.
The tip I chose to use for the border, tip No. 86, is very versatile and can be used in several different ways. Besides piping a border in a shell motion, use the tip and a zig zag motion to create another pretty border. This tip also works well for side decorations, such as swags piped with a zig zag motion. This tip creates designs that tend to be fancier than when you use a plain star tip.
When working on new wedding cake designs, adapt ideas for your customers, the bride and groom. Modern cakes reflect the personalities of the couple, so work closely with them to create the wedding cake of their dreams.