Cake design is art and today's wedding cakes are masterpieces

Like the iconic wedding ring, the iconic wedding cake has ancient origins. And like the white wedding gown, the white wedding cake is a holdover from the Victorian era. But contemporary wedding cakes are evolving with the times. Today high-concept cake design is an avant-garde art form with a painterly purpose, expressing the couple's lifestyle, engaging their guests' attention, and enhancing the setting of their event. Contemporary wedding cake toppers and wedding cake decorations incorporate exotic flowers, elaborate monograms, and edible, lifelike confections. Elaborately sculpted wedding cakes are designed to resemble miniature buildings, vintage automobiles, or anything else the couple may fancy. And grooms' cakes are making a surprising comeback, sculpted with uncanny skill to look like a football, a favorite pet, or the mascot of a favorite team. Dreaming up and producing these edible works of art is fun, but also expensive. The average price of today's wedding cake is $700. With an original design by a cake design artist, fancy fondant and flowers, monogrammed wedding cake toppers, whimsical wedding cake decorations, and a sculpted groom's cake for the rehearsal dinner, total wedding cake cost often stretches the wedding budget bottom line.

Photo courtesy Just Cake

Like Unusual Venues, Unique Wedding Cakes Are Coveted by Creative Couples

The increasing popularity of custom-designed wedding cakes parallels the growing preference of creative couples for unique off-premises wedding reception venues. Hotel-made wedding cakes, priced by the slice at $6-$8 or more per guest, are highly profitable, and many hotels charge a cutting fee to discourage the use of an outside bakery or cake designer. For comparison-minded couples, this policy makes commissioning a one-of-a-kind wedding cake for their out-of-the-box wedding venue both affordable and attractive. But an artistic wedding cake delivered by the designer to a distant wedding reception, particularly one outdoors, requires extra planning, careful consultation, and precision timing. All cakes are sensitive to heat, and over-the-top wedding cake toppers, fragile wedding cake decorations, and exotic flowers are often applied only after the masterpiece has been placed on the table. For wedding planners and creative clients with their own wedding ideas, knowledge about the art of cake design, the science of cake baking, and the inner workings of the cake business makes the process of commissioning an artful, attention-grabbing wedding cake easy, enjoyable, and worth every moment.

Photo courtesy Just Cake

Course Video Tutorial: 'A Celebrity Cake Designer Teaches Wedding Cakes and Cake Design' (36:34)

Marina Sousa, the owner of Just Cake, is the nationally acclaimed cake design artist who was selected to create a spectacular cake for the 'Oprah Winfrey Show' and the wedding cake for Keegan Gerhard, the host of 'Food Network Challenge.' A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and the Culinary Institute of America, she consults with creative couples months before their wedding, sketching designs for the wedding cake of their dreams, supervising baking and decoration in her kitchen, and delivering every cake personally to ensure minimal exposure to heat and perfect placement on the table. Her sophisticated style and star appeal are familiar to viewers of the Food Network, where she has won several 'Food Network Challenge' competitions and served as a judge. Her business savvy, creative vision, and comprehensive knowledge of wedding cakes make her the ideal guide to the wonderful world of contemporary wedding cake design. In this course video tutorial, Marina teaches Members the fascinating facts of wedding cake history, tradition, and style; the inside secrets of contemporary cake design; and the showroom and backroom operation of a successful custom cake-design business.

Marina Sousa, Celebrity Cake Designer

Learn 12 essential elements of wedding cakes, custom cake design, and the wedding cake business:

  • The origins and evolution of the modern wedding cake
  • The art and science of cake design and baking
  • Grooms' cakes yesterday and today
  • When to use sheet cakes, display cakes, and cupcake towers
  • Fresh fruits that make tasty wedding cake decorations
  • Adding exotic flowers as eye-catching wedding cake toppers
  • Varieties of wedding cake flavors, finishes, and mouth-feel
  • Cake design ideas from fashion, architecture, and art
  • Tasting, sketching, and follow-up after the client consultation
  • How a one-of-a-kind wedding cake is designed, decorated, and delivered
  • The importance of optimal lighting to showcase spectacular wedding cakes
  • Pricing structures, payment terms, and delivery fees
  • The inside truth about wedding style trends

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