Back in early April 2017 I was delighted (after checking it wasn’t bogus) to receive an email from Cake Central.com inviting me to submit a wedding cake design for Volume 8 Issue 3 of Cake Central Magazine! The magazine features some big names in the cake world so for my work to potentially be featured alongside was a bit of a pinch-myself moment. To fit in with existing wedding commitments I had about a week to get the job done – cue some intensive days!
I’ve had to keep this top secret for a while and really had no idea whether my design would be deemed good enough or demonstrate sufficient skill. The magazine features some phenomenal and elaborate designs so it’s been a patient and hopeful wait.
In early May Cake Central notified me that my wedding cake had reached the final selection process (yay!) and that Volume 8 Issue 3 was due out in May. However, we’re now almost knocking on the door of October and neither Issue 3 nor any others have been published since April. To tell the truth, this is disappointing as it would have been good exposure for me.
To ensure my photos remained eligible for Cake Central magazine I’ve held off posting them anywhere. But, as I spent soooo much time on this design (even making the table runner) and invested in professional photography, and given it’s quite a summery cake, I’d like it to see the light of day before balmy summer days are a distant memory. So, rather than wait indefinitely for it to maybe appear in a magazine that may or may not be published, here it is! (Of course, now it won’t be in Cake Central Magazine and I won’t get one of those shiny badges for my website!)
On viewing the inspiration I was thrilled to see that it so suited my style of work. I love intricate detail and the Moroccan lanterns possess just that.
So, I commenced some rough sketching incorporating the colours and details of the lanterns, for which I planned to create individual appliqué shapes. Through my research into other Moroccan influences, such as native flowers, I discovered that Morocco doesn’t, as such, have a national flower. However, it is renowned for its annual Festival of Roses around May time. The particular variety is Rosa Damascena (Damask Rose) with colours ranging from pink through to red.
I wanted the wedding cake to be opulent, with the use of gold leaf and gold lustre, but also to have a sense of the outdoors and be totally suited to a wedding ceremony in an exotic, lantern-filled, Moroccan garden for example, so looked towards other Moroccan indigenous plants. Luckily, olives and lemons are both indigenous to Morocco but their shapes are also perfectly matched to the lanterns – the olives to complement the overall silhouette and the lemons to mirror the shape of the intricate details within the lanterns.
I planned to decorate the cake with the appliqué shapes on three tiers only to enable me to incorporate some detail on the top tier inspired by the finial of the spherical lantern. I ummed and ahhed regarding the specific placement of the appliqué shapes and ultimately decided, when viewing the cake from the front, they should mirror the triangular shape of the finial but taper towards the bottom of the cake. To me, this just seemed to flow and it also created a blank canvas to the left for a branch of foliage and fruits.
Firstly, I created the three roses – two in different shades of pink and one in red for a pop of colour. Given that they have 60 delicate veined petals each they were quite time-consuming to make.
I then went on to create the olives and lemons, both gilded with gold leaf accents to match the lanterns….
The pleating on the top tier was a challenge for me – my initial thought was that each pleat would taper to the top to form a triangle but it just didn’t work so I opted for various panels of pleats applied in opposite directions to create a triangular pattern. Also, to draw the eye, I piped some pearls painted with gold lustre along the seams.
Hand cutting the appliqué shapes (all 144 of them!) was necessity rather than desire – I just didn’t have a cutter to suit! I had thought I would then just punch little perforations out of each shape but it would’ve looked pretty messy so I chose to pipe little black dots (around 2400 of them!) to give the appearance of perforations instead. I now have a claw for a hand.
To complete the design I opted for some scallop piping to the bottom tier, again, to complement the lantern shape.
Here is ‘Olive’ all complete…
Thank you so much to Amanda Manby Photography for her dedication in following Cake Central’s strict photography guidelines, her (as ever) quick turnaround and stunning images. In an effort not to appear too self-indulgent I’ve whittled down 45 available images to a selection of (still quite a few!) close-ups…
I hope you like it! If you’re planning your own Yorkshire wedding (I’m based in Harrogate and deliver to venues throughout Yorkshire and parts of the North East) and would like me to design a wedding cake just for you then please get in touch!
With love, Amanda x