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China Cakes

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 12 2000

Fine china and wedding cakes have much in common: Both are beautiful and functional, both are products of centuries-old traditions of honed and studied craftsmanship, and both preoccupy the minds of brides. Adornments derived from traditional china patterns look right at home on these elegant wedding cakes.

Transferware Cake
The nineteenth-century English pottery that inspired this cake was known for intricate scenes and border patterns. Here, a border detail is repeatedly piped in chocolate.

Lustreware Cake
The sweet, shimmery details of lustreware plates -- often used to serve dessert in the nineteenth century -- were typically painted in silver, copper, and pink. The playful motifs encircling the tops of the four tiers of this cake were created with powdered food colorings and a sable paintbrush -- the best tool to match the brush strokes of the originals.

Wedding Band Cake
In the nineteenth century, this fine white china was shipped plain from France and trimmed with gold paint once it reached the United States. These white tiers were dressed with metallic ribbons; sprigs of olive branches symbolize fertility.

Creamware Cake
The reticulated pattern of this eighteenth-century English china is emulated in the multitiered cake by rolled fondant cut with aspic and eyelet-embroidery cutters. Sugar paste was used for the "embroidered" flowers on top and base.

Ironstone Cake
The subtle aesthetic of ironstone made it popular in nineteenth-century England. This confection takes on the quietly raised pattern and charm of the original.

Wedgwood Cake
The icinglike trim on jasperware, developed in England in 1775, translates well to a wedding cake -- piped here in royal icing. This cake and base were covered with fondant; gum-paste leaves adorn the base and top.

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