Traditional Wedding Cakes
Seven-Tier Classic Wedding Cake
If you're a classic bride looking for classic elements, these are the wedding cakes for you. Be it a white cake or a piped cake, we've pulled together all of our most traditional confections.
The designs on this dramatic tower mimic the elaborate cake-decorating style of Joseph Lambeth, a master baker in England during the 1920s and '30s. Fine garlands and latticework are piped onto the fondant in royal icing, as are delicate roses and bunches of grapes. The star and C-scrolls on top are examples of a technique called overpiping, in which a shape is layered over again and again, giving it depth. These heavier effects are piped in decorator's buttercream (thicker than usual) to maintain their shape. A satin-and-lace ribbon visually anchors the cake to its simple stand.
Embroidered Lace and Appliqued Wedding Cake
To evoke a hip sixties dress crafted of embroidered lace blanketed with floral cotton appliques, cake designer Ron Ben-Israel created silicone molds of appliques inspired by the original fabric -- no small task considering there were 25 shapes to replicate, including dahlias, roses, and periwinkles. Sugar paste was pressed into each mold, then applied in layers to the fondant. The resulting ivory tower is one that both generations -- yours and your mother's -- will adore.
Garden Rose Wedding Cake
The beauty of this cake, created by Ron Ben-Israel, is punctuated by the purity and simplicity of one giant flawless rose perched on the top. The white tiers are decorated with confectionary bands inspired by the lace of a bridal gown.
Delicate French Silk Wedding Cake
The delicate and elegant detail of a circa-1900 French silk fabric looks every bit as gorgeous at the dawn of our century in cake form. Ron Ben-Israel meticulously re-created the fabric by pressing the fondant with a rubber stamp to mimic the weave, then piping on petite mimosa blossoms and stems, and applying sugar-paste leaves. The flowers were painted with powdered yellow food coloring mixed with luster dust for a silk-like shimmer.
Matelasse Wedding Cake
Sugar-paste roses are fashioned to look like fabric flowers; they add a touch of haute couture to a cake based on finely quilted cotton matelasse. The leaves (fondant formed in a silicone mold) contrast with the textured bands (made by pressing fondant onto a grid) wrapping the tiers. The oval shape of the confection makes it appear slightly different from every angle. The cake board is covered with fondant and edged in a vintage silk ribbon. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
Wedding Cake with Piped Roses
A garden of roses in pink, peach, and yellow encircles a full-size cake. The flowers' variegated look is achieved by placing two colors of icing side by side in the pastry bag. Rows of dots are piped in the same buttercream that covers the tiers.
Basketweave Wedding Cake
The top and bottom sections of this grand cake display a classic basketweave design, while the thick whorls (made with a petal tip) and braided wreaths (a round tip) of the middle tiers copy the artistry of baskets made by Maine's Wabanaki tribes. Mocha buttercream is also unconventional; along with a brown satin ribbon around the stand, it gives the cake an autumnal air.
Applique Wedding Cake
Techniques used by dressmakers to turn fabric into flowers inspired this sophisticated cake. A combination of fondant and white chocolate both envelops the cake and decorates it. Prim buttercream dots frame the designs.
Snowflake Wedding Cake
This cake is as magical as the season's first flurry. Snowflakes made from royal icing are miniature at the top of the cake and larger at the bottom, giving the impression of a gracefully drifting snowfall. The tiers are frosted smoothly with Swiss meringue to resemble tightly packed snow.
Gilded Wedding Cake
The legendary Venetian fabric house of Fortuny first produced this glamorous pattern, called "Granada," in the 1950s, but it's so timeless that it remains a top seller today. To translate it into sugar and flour, two shades of fondant were blended -- a pale pink and a rosy peach -- to mimic the marbled appearance that hand-dyed cotton takes on in the light. Then, royal icing was spread over stencils of the pattern's sinuous floral design and painted it with edible luster dust mixed with lemon extract.
Tiered Wedding Cake with Monogram
A traditional tiered confection covered with pale green fondant has fresh hydrangeas between the layers (each cake tier is topped with clear acetate so flowers don't touch the icing). The monogram is made of royal icing sprinkled with nonpareils for texture.
Creamware Wedding Cake
The reticulated pattern of this 18th-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 the top and base.
Ironstone Wedding Cake
The subtle aesthetic of ironstone china made it popular in 19th-century England. This confection takes on the quietly raised pattern and charm of the original.
Meringue Bouquet Wedding Cake
Any cake frosted in buttercream can be decorated with crisp meringue flowers in shades of white. On this cake, some flowers are piped in one piece and baked in the oven, while others are piped petal by petal, baked, assembled with more meringue, and baked again; the overall effect is that of a heavily embroidered bodice. The finished flowers, which are easy to cut through, add a delicious crunch to each slice.
Crewelwork Wedding Cake
Stems, berries, and flowers in the style of crewelwork edge their way up and over the tiers of this handsome cake like a lush vine. The raised, textured look of the "yarn" is emphasized by the smoothness of the fondant. Rolled strands of white sugar paste cover cafe-au-lait-colored fondant. Dental tools were used to make the "stitches." The wooden cake boards are trimmed with grosgrain ribbons with white detailing on the edges. Cake by Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.
Transferware Wedding Cake
The 19th-century English pottery that inspired this cake was known for intricate scenes and border patterns. Here, a border detail is repeatedly piped in chocolate.
Wedgwood Wedding 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.
Baroque Wedding Cake
The lively architectural flourishes of the 18th and early 19th centuries inspired the design of this romantic cake. Buildings of that era were characterized by a dynamic interplay of color and ornamentation. Here, swags, friezes, and cartouches in fondant and gilded royal icing bring life to an otherwise static structure.
Sailor's Valentine Wedding Cakes
These masterly cakes, made by Ohio baker and Weddings contributing editor Wendy Kromer, have romantic seaworthy roots: They are styled after "sailors' valentines" -- keepsake boxes, decorated with intricate shell patterns, that 19th-century mariners gave as gifts to their beloveds. The originals inspired our mosaics of gum-paste shells arranged in concentric circles, rosettes, and monograms.
Eyelet Wedding Cake
This eyelet "sampler" -- with its cutouts, flowers, and pristine whiteness -- evokes summer as prettily as a billowing cotton dress. Each fondant-covered tier presents a different eyelet. The second layer is inspired by the table runner; the cake's crown by the bottom layer (which has a sugar-paste ribbon "threaded" through it). Styrofoam disks, wrapped in fondant, lift the top layers. Tiny eyelet cutters and small pastry tips were used to make the holes; the embroidered effect comes from piped royal icing. Cake by Wendy Kromer.
White-on-White Wedding Cake
The delicate gum-paste flowers and royal-icing beading on this elegant cake evoke classic white-on-white embroidery. The ornate three-letter monogram was copied from the hemstitched runner.
Wedding Cake with Molded Medallions
Highly detailed wooden springerle molds are traditionally used in cookie making; here, a selection of botanically themed ones were pressed into white fondant, which was then cut to the right size with cookie cutters. The resulting plaques were attached to the fondant bands on the tiers with royal icing. The bands themselves were attached to the cake with gum glue; royal icing created a picot edge. As a final flourish, delicate vines, leaves, and berries were piped onto the tiers in royal icing.
Ribbon Rose Wedding Cake
A cascade of 60 piped meringue flowers tumbles down a stack of rectangular tiers for the Ribbon Rose Cake; each tier is edged in a pristine border. Each rose on this cake is piped with a single, continuous squeeze onto a flower nail and baked before being affixed to the cake with royal icing.
Primrose Wedding Cake
This four-tiered cake takes its fanciful spirit from gowns created by some of fashion's most daring designers, who adorn necklines, bustles, and hems with clusters of colorful silk flowers. The cake's flowers and leaves appear to support the weight of the tiers but are actually hiding the dowels that do the work.
Swag Wedding Cake
The swags, which start and finish with a bow, ripple and flow like fabric; delicate dots of buttercream icing imitate dotted swiss.
Grosgrain Ribbon Wedding Cake
Sleek, oval tiers enrobed in fondant are at once classic and modern. A band of grosgrain ribbon encircles each layer, secured with piped royal icing. A vintage bisque bride-and-groom cake topper stands on top.
Calligraphed Wedding Cake with a Flourish
The intricate scrolls on this cake by Wendy Kromer recall those used in calligraphic ornaments. Adapted from clip-art books, they, along with the monograms on the middle tier, were traced in royal icing and attached with more icing.
Mint Wedding Cake
Intricately designed, this chocolate-mint cake comes off as elegant and polished; after all, the fondant molding, cast from architectural reliefs, was inspired by the interiors of neoclassical architect Robert Adam. But cut into it, and decadence awaits. Each rich slice is laced with a minty buttercream filling.
Crystallized Flower Wedding Cake
Buttercream baskets brim with crystallized flowers, including pansies, roses, lavender, cornflowers, and violets. Sugaring flowers gives them a sparkling appearance; if you want guests to be able to nibble on these lovely decorations, be sure to acquire them from a reputable supplier.
White Orchid Wedding Cake
Voluptuous fresh cattleya orchids spill over a white fondant-covered cake. Use only pesticide-free blooms; the flowers should be removed before serving.
Regal Piped Wedding Cake
Five tiers of varying heights and shapes combine with ornate decoration to give this cake its regal appearance. Underneath the smooth, dense fondant coating is delicate white cake; royal-icing piping over the fondant is enhanced further with white chocolate ruffled rosettes.
Lusterware Wedding Cake
The sweet, shimmery details of lusterware plates -- often used to serve dessert in the 19th 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.