February 24, 2012

Friday Favorites: Tiered

For reasons unknown to me (and largely unappreciated by my hips), my proverbial sweet tooth has been running rampant recently. Don't get me wrong, I've never been one to turn down dessert... I'm a firm believer that there are few problems which can't be solved with a cupcake. This week, though, it seems like every time I turn around there's a cookie or oversized muffin or pint of ice cream, and I just can't. say. no. I go through phases like this sometimes, so I am crossing my fingers that this one passes fairly quickly, because wedding dress shopping is rather high on the to-do list lately, and no one likes looking at a blimp, even if she is wrapped in satin.
In an effort to make a little use out of my latest cravings, I decided that there was no better time to start researching another wedding checklist item: the all-important wedding cake. When Dan and I got married in our small ceremony last April, we catered a small selection of hors d'oeuvres and, since I was super sensitive to the idea that the only thing we would repeat at both weddings was the "I do," we opted to save the cake for the big wedding and do cupcakes instead. 
unfortunately this was the only pic I have on my computer right now... they were on a great tiered platter and looked fantastic
Oh my goodness... these were less "cupcake" and more "little bite of heaven." We had chocolate with cream cheese frosting and yellow cake with lemon buttercream, and while the latter was pretty amazing, the chocolate ones are definitely on my list of Top Five Things I Have Ever Sunk My Teeth Into (and you know how I like to eat). I got compliments on those cupcakes for months after the big day, and we were lucky enough to have several extras left over... I may or may not have demolished two chocolate ones on the way down to the beach the next day.
All of this to say: now that it's time to pick the actual wedding cake... the pressure is on. To have any shot at living up to the crack cupcakes (disclaimer: I am 100% sure that they included no illicit substances, nor do I condone the use of such substances in any baked goods), this is going to have to be the best damn cake anyone has ever tasted. And it's going to have to look pretty amazing. So last night found me in bed with a box of girl scout cookies, searching "wedding cake" on Pinterest.
I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted: a basic, smooth, round cake with several simple tiers and colored ribbon around the base of each. I didn't want to overload with flowers or piping or too much frill. After two hours on Pinterest, though, I've found that in fact I have absolutely no clue what I want. More specifically: I want so many things that I have absolutely no clue how I'm going to narrow those ideas down into a single cake. 

Like I said, I'm not usually a fan of tons of flowers, but something about these is just perfect. I love the fact that they are tiny and delicate and the way that the color intensifies as the tiers get larger. I also love how they bunch at the top of each tier, but a few seem to escape and cascade down. If you look closely, you can see that the fondant on the base of each tier is somehow dotted (I'm sure that's the technical term for it)... a simple but adorable detail.

Again with the flowers... but I love that there are just a few for accents, not blooms plastered all over the cake. I also love the texture of the tiers -- I am definitely no longer sold on "smooth."

Again, the flowers are sparse enough that this one remains pretty simple, but also very seasonally appropriate. I looked at so many that were "fall-themed"... ie the entire autumnal season seemed to have thrown up and you could barely make out the cake underneath (sorry for that visual). As much as I am a huge fan of anything pumpkin, I don't want the tip of my wedding cake peeking out from inside a huge jack-o-lantern with fake orange leaves everywhere. This one represents probably the highest volume of "floral clutter" (another technical term, I'm sure) that I would be comfortable with -- somehow the bare sticks help to it simple.

Honestly, if you asked me why I like this one, I'd tell you I have no idea. That is quite a lot of flower up there, but something about it just works for me. I think the fact that the petals are large (a total contradiction from what I said on the first cake, I know) and that it's all white keeps it from going over the top. I also like how it sort of twists up the tiers... just barely, but I like the idea of a "swirl" (really, I am just a bottomless pit of knowledge regarding wedding cake terminology. I can't imagine why decorators aren't just pounding down my door to hire me...)

Caveat: too many flowers. Also, not very pretty flowers. Try to just focus on the delicate stripes here -- such a pretty idea!

This choice surprised me as well, but I kind of like the Missoni-esque zig-zags. I am definitely not a fan of the turquoise, but the cake on the right is actually very similar to the color scheme I am going to use -- although my green will be a bit closer to "sage" than that. I like both the round and square shapes for this concept, but I don't really like the fact that the tiers are such different heights on the left.

I am head over heels in love with this bow. It is big enough that it could only work on a cake that is otherwise completely plain (although I love the dots along the base again). I can't imagine this could be an easy thing to make, so I'm wondering how hard I'd have to look to find someone who could recreate this...

I know it's not elaborate, but I think this idea is brilliant. I just love the concept that those little colored dots (Dan asked "what are those things??" Answer: I have no idea) spilled onto the cake and left a fantastic little cascade of color.

I think we can file this last one away under: Dreams Which Are Unlikely to Come True. This is actually much better suited to a baby shower than a wedding, but it was just too cute not to share. I can't imagine how much time it took to make such perfectly detailed cake balls, and I love the two little tiers at the top. Maybe unrealistic, but still absolutely adorable!

And finally, one of the best cake toppers I've ever seen....
How cute are they??

So thanks a bunch, dear Pinterest, for leaving me much more indecisive and stressed over what I thought would be a pretty straightforward choice. I hope the potential decorators are not intimidated when I walk in to meet them with a folder full of pictures, place it in front of them, and ask them to use their magic talents to pick something and make it work. And I hope Dan is not intimidated when I start cordoning off the kitchen for hours at a time, inspired to hone my own multi-tiered decorating skills.....

Happy weekend, everyone!



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