This project was inspired by the romantic designs of Paloma’s Nest. Their handcrafted ceramic keepsakes are both beautiful and functional: ringbearer bowls, cufflinks, frames, and more for weddings, holidays, and baby with a fabulous hipster aesthetic.
I love the idea of an edible version that can be saved forever. Get creative with your message and write something that has special meaning to both of you.
What you’ll need (clockwise from left): Fondant rolling board, rolling pin, round cookie cutter, fondant in the color of your choice, small round piping tip, elastic ribbon, cornstarch (to prevent sticking), metal alphabet punches in the typeface of your choice. I used 1/4″ metal stamps that I purchased on etsy. The size of the stamps you use will be determined by the size of your keepsake and your message. (A lengthy message will require smaller lettering.) Be sure to practice with the letter punches and measure the spacing before you begin. (Hint: If you have trouble getting your letters to line up, try wrapping them with tape and pressing complete words rather than individual letters.)
1. Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on board to prevent sticking.
2. Roll out fondant thin, about 1/16th of an inch. Roll as evenly as possible. Be sure that fondant is not sticking before proceeding to next step.
3. Place cookie cutter on rolled fondant and cut out circle.
4. Remove excess fondant.
5. Your keepsake is now ready to decorate.
6. Insert small round piping tip (we used a tip 2) into fondant about 1/4″ from the edge. Press to make small round cutout.
7. Repeat previous step about 1/4″ away so that you now have two small holes punched out.
8. Select the letters you’ll need for your message.
9. Begin with first letter punch, ensuring that you press evenly. Remember that you’ll probably want to practice a few times on another piece of fondant. If you are having trouble lining letters up, wrap the punches with tape to keep them together. Allow keepsake to dry thoroughly, up to one week.
10. Allow your keepsake to dry completely (at least 48-72 hours) before proceeding to the next step.
11. Take a length of elastic ribbon and fold in half. Hold from behind keepsake and insert ends. Pull so that folded section forms a loop.
12. Insert ends through loop and pull.
12. Use a dab of royal icing to secure keepsake to cake. Tie elastic ribbon around cake. We also added a gold fondant ring around our keepsake for a little extra zing.
Creating your own edible keepsake? We would love to see what you come up with! Please email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, I can’t thank Brooke Allison Sforza of Brooke Allison Photo enough for these beautiful pictures. Thanks Brooke, as always.
I love ombré. There. I said it. I’m not even the slightest bit sick of it even though it seems to be everywhere. But I’m particularly enchanted with dip-dyed silk ombré, like this dress by Gypsy 05.
For my fourth DIY for Project Wedding, I wanted to create a cake inspired by the dip-dyed look, but because fondant is so sensitive to liquid, dipping it really wasn’t an option. Instead, we painted it using varied shades of food color. Here’s the how-to.
1. What you’ll need:
~approximately 1 ounce fondant
~square cookie cutter
~round cookie cutter
~letter cutters or (xacto knife if hand-cutting letters)
~flat, food-use only paintbrush
~two colors paste food coloring with increasing amounts of white food color added to achieve three shades of each (light, medium, dark) plus additional white food color. (Can also be done with several shades of a single color.)
~fondant board or mat
2. Roll fondant thinly on board. Be sure that fondant is not sticking before proceeding to Step 3.
3. Cut fondant into a square about 3″ x 3″.
4. Use round cutter on corners.
5. Mix food coloring.
6. Dip paintbrush in one of the darkest colors. Using a single stroke, paint on fondant. Repeat with medium and then lighter color, then white, followed by the light, medium, and dark shades of the other color. Fondant can be repainted only AFTER paint has completely dried. Avoid the temptation to repaint while wet.
7. Cut initials using letter cutters or by hand-cutting.
8. After paint has dried, moisten back of letters with water and adhere to fondant cutout. Apply a small amount of water to fondant cutout and adhere to cake.
I get many emails inquiring about the chevron pattern that’s so hot this year, so when it came time for my next DIY project for Project Wedding, the choice was obvious.
I am certainly not the first cake designer to use the chevron pattern on a cake, ad I have to give a shout out to my predecessors. This peach and navy chevron cake by Vanilla Bake Shop is the first one I remember seeing, years ago, and I love the preppy colors and contrasting heights of the two tiers. I love the clean lines and muted tones of this one by Sweet & Saucy. And finally this one by Carrie Sellman of The Cake Blog, because it is so incredibly neat and accurate.
I don’t know how other cake designers do their chevron, but here’s how I do mine.
You will need (clockwise from left):
fondant in the color(s) of your choice (We used a citrus-inspired palette here.)
food-use only paint brush
Measure cake’s circumference. Determine the size of the chevron by dividing circumference into even segments the size of your choosing, usually around 1″ – 1.5″, to . For example, our cake had a circumference of 26″. We determined that each segment would be 1.3″ for a total of 20.
Create chevron template. Measure segment size on paper and mark with pen. Holding paper horizontally (landscape), fold into accordian so that each fold measures the same size as the segment. (Each of our folds measured 1.3″)
Cut paper at an angle. For a deeper chevron, angle scissors more vertically. For a more shallow chevron, angle scissor more horizontally.
Using the same angle as first cut, cut the other side of the paper. For a wider chevron, move scissor further from first cut. For a narrower chevron, move scissor closer to first cut.
Unfold. Your chevron template is complete.
Create fondant chevron. Roll fondant thinly. Place template on fondant and carefully cut with Xacto knife. (Avoid paper sticking to fondant by rubbing it with cornstarch.) Remove excess fondant.
Score cake. Use template to gently score cake to guide placement of fondant chevron.
Create pattern on cake. Use water to wet cake. Apply fondant chevron to cake. Continue pattern around entire cake.
Lay second color directly above first. (Optionally, use the template to guide placement of another row evenly spaced above first row.) Repeat with additional colors.
Complete the look. Add fresh flowers, or use sugar flowers like the sugar ranunculus seen here.
This idea was inspired by a post I saw on Such Pretty Things. I forget what I was searching for when I stumbled across it, but I immediately thought the hearts would be just lovely in an ombré. (Until about a year ago and a half ago, I thought ombré was some kind of silken fabric. Silly me. Merriam-Webster defines it as “having colors or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark”.) This DIY originally appeared on The Wedding Chicks.
I should preface this post by warning readers about the dangers of consuming raw and/or undercooked eggs. I provided a safer alternative to egg whites that I termed “liquid meringue”, a mix of meringue powder and water. Feel free to weigh in on the safety of these ingredients.
Also, this DIY was created for both non-professionals and professionals alike, so I tried to use easy-to-find ingredients. Although I don’t necessarily recommend Wilton’s meringue powder to professionals, it is the most widely available to home bakers.
What you’ll need
Two cups sugar (or more, depending on the number of colors you want), divided
4 teaspoons (or more) egg white or liquid meringue (1 teaspoons of meringue powder mixed with 1 tablespoon warm water)
Paste food coloring (found at local crafts store)
Large cutting board, baking sheet, or other flat surface, lined with silpat or parchment paper
Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper
Ateco aspic cutters or small cookie cutters
Small and medium bowls, spatulas, rolling pin, measuring spoons, measuring cups, ziplock bags, butter knife
3 x 4-inch treat bags, colored ribbon, cake to decorate
Place ½ cup sugar in medium bowl. Add a small amount of paste food coloring (we used a combination of Wilton’s Rose and Violet), and mix thoroughly. This will be your darkest color. (Hint: A little goes a long way and will darken once liquid is added in next step.) Add more if needed until desired color is achieved.
Add 1 teaspoon egg white or meringue liquid and mix thoroughly until the mixture resembles wet sand. Be careful not to add too much liquid or you will dissolve the sugar.
Empty contents onto silpat or parchment lined cutting board or baking sheet. Spread with hand or spatula and pat down, then roll over mixture with rolling pin to compress. Ideally, the flattened mixture should be as compact as possible and level, about ¼”. Press heart cutter into mixture and lift up. Place hearts on lined baking sheet. If cutter will not release heart, gently tap with the back of a butter knife. Repeat 10-20 times or as many as desired. If hearts will not hold their shape, add more egg white or meringue liquid in small increments and mix thoroughly. If sugar builds up in cutter, rinse with warm water and pat dry before continuing.
Pour remaining colored sugar back into bowl and proceed to Step 3.
Add ½ cup sugar to colored sugar from Step 2 to lighten. Mix thoroughly. Add 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue. If desired color is not achieved, continue adding additional ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon egg white or liquid meringue and mixing thoroughly until desired color is achieved.
Repeat Step 2.
Continue with Steps 2 and 3 until desired shades and number of sugar hearts are achieved. We recommend at least three to five shades. Leftover sugar can be stored in ziplock bags for future use.
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat hearts in oven for 10 minutes. Allow to harden overnight. Sugar hearts will be the consistency of sugar cubes.
Place 10-20 sugar hearts in treat bag. Staple ribbon to bags. Tie ribbon. Can be given as gifts or used as favors.
For cake: Attach sugar heats to cake using royal icing. Begin with darkest color on smallest tier. Continue with lighter colors.
Special thanks to Brooke Allison of Brooke Allison Photo, a genuine talent and all around funny gal.
When I moved to California from New York in 2005, cupcakes had already exploded all over the New York confectionery scene. The Cupcake Cafe had become a New York icon, with Magnolia Bakery, not to mention countless others, not far behind. On the west coast, the cupcake was just entering its renaissance.
“How passé,” I remember thinking. “Cupcakes are, like, so NYC 2004.”
And then, “this too shall pass.”
Boy, was I wrong.
If cake was a blank canvas waiting for me to bring it to life, cupcakes had a life of their own. They didn’t need me as much. Slap a little icing on top, maybe throw some sprinkles at it, and your done. I’m an artist more than a baker, and the idea of churning out 150 identically iced cupcakes just didn’t spell creative to me.
For a while, I refused to make cupcakes. But the requests kept coming, and my resistance eventually wore down. I sold my first batch of cupcakes.And so I learned to appreciate the cupcake, albeit several years too late. Indeed, designing cupcakes can be just as artistically challenging as designing a cake. Now, I just think of them as smaller canvases.
I admit that I’m still not a huge fan. I have no problem with the way they taste, per se, although I do find that they dry out in the baking process more easily than cake. I have a problem with the esthetics of the cupcake. Sorry, but in their natural state, they’re just not fancy enough for me. And they’re not uniform enough. So, I put my own spin on cupcakes: I make my own cupcake wrappers.I’m not talking about the paper baking cups. I’m talking about a custom wrapper that goes around the cups. Here’s how I did it.
First, I designed a template. Once I had the shape right, it was easy. I went to Michael’s and bought some 12×12 scrapbook paper I liked. This is where the DIY wrapper is superior to the store bought wrapper: The possibilities are endless. (Well, almost endless. It depends on the available paper.)
Then, I traced the template onto the back of the paper.
Cut the paper. It now resembles a rainbow shape.
Used my daughter’s fancy scissors. (Note: It’s helpful to have a seven-year old who has all sorts of fancy scissors so you don’t have to buy any, but if you don’t have one, you can just go to your local crafts store.) Be sure to cut the outer edge of the paper (i.e., the top part of the rainbow).
Wrapped the cupcake wrappers around the paper baking cups and taped the back. You are now read to use your custom cupcake wrappers. Just drop in your already baked (and still wrapped in their paper baking liner) cupcake.
Here, several of my cupcakes designed to match the custom wrappers.
For the baker: I don’t allow the paper to touch my cupcakes. The paper isn’t greaseproof, so any grease or fat will stain the paper, and not all paper is foodsafe. If you’d like a copy of the template, shoot me an email with “cupcake template” in the subject line at: email@example.com
For the bride: If you’ll be serving cupcakes at your wedding, you can ask your stationary designer or graphic artist to print sheets of paper that will match your invitations. Give the paper to your baker and instruct him or her to follow the directions in this post.
Size does matter, especially when it comes to your wedding cake. For many brides, the bigger the better. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of a five-tier cake, but the reality of your budget won’t allow it. Not surprising. In today’s tough economy, many brides are forced to find creative ways to stretch their budget, and get more for less. Below are five practical and relatively inexpensive ways to make your wedding cake appear bigger.
1/Increase the Number of Tiers. In a traditional wedding cake, each tier increases in diameter by 4″, so a cake for 100 guests typically has three tiers: 6″, 10″, 14″. Let’s say you have your heart set on a four-tier cake, but you only have 100 guests. Adding an 18″ tier would be cost prohibitive, not to mention extremely wasteful. By decreasing the difference in size of each tier, you could have a four- or even five-tier wedding cake to serve 100 guests. For a five-tier cake, the diameter of the tiers would be 5″, 6″, 7″, 8″, and 9″. The less space between the tiers, the taller and leaner your cake appears.
Keep in mind that this also gives your cake a more streamlined, modern look. Notice the difference in the two cakes below. Both serve 100 guests. The one on the left is a traditional, three-tier cake with three inches between each tier. The one on the right has only a one-inch difference.
2/Elevate your Cake. Another way to increase the grandiosity of your cake is to lift it.
Cake plateaus are more traditional looking, have wider bases, and usually come in gold or silver. (They tend to be pricey, but you can recover almost all of your money by reselling on ebay.)
The term cake plate and cake stand are used interchangeably to mean a plate on a pedestal. Cake stands range from antique to vintage to brand new, with looks ranging from traditional to modern. One caveat of a cake stand: A standard cake stand will accommodate a cake up to 10″ in diameter, while the largest tier of a typical wedding cake is anywhere from 12″ to 18″. Be sure to confirm with your baker the size of your largest tier before you purchase a cake plate so you know it will fit.
A traditional cake plateau (left) and a reproduction milk glass cake plate (right):
Make your own. There are many creative ways to create your own cake stand, but there are some challenges. First, wedding cakes can be extremely heavy–hundreds of pounds–and you have to make sure that your structure can support the weight. Also, your stand should be proportionate to your cake in both height and diameter, so check the dimensions with your baker. Lastly, some designs look better in theory than in practice. Although a glass vase filled with lemons and used as a cake stand might sound like a great idea, it doesn’t mean that it will have the visual appeal that it does in your head. Purchase some dummy cakes in the sizes of your tiers and play around with different ideas before you invest a lot of time and money (not to mention emotion) into your DIY cake stand.
3/Add a Faux Tier. Many cake designers are happy to add a faux (or fake) tier to your wedding cake. Since faux tiers are non-perishable, the designer can work on it weeks in advance (at his or her leisure), so they are generally less expensive than a real tier.
4/Add a Cake Topper. Vintage wedding cake toppers can be found at flea markets, garage sales, or your grandma’s attic. Ebay always has interesting finds as well (just search “wedding cake topper”). Adding a topper will give your cake more height, creating the illusion of a bigger cake. We found the custom toppers below on etsy.com:
5/Use a Smaller Table. The larger your table, the smaller your cake will appear. A cake with a 12″ bottom tier would be dwarfed by a 60″ round table. Using a smaller table will make your cake seem bigger in proportion.