Getting Inspired for your cake
The first thing most people do when they are looking for a cake but don’t know what they want, is look at other cakes. While this is an easy way to see something you like, it doesn’t always end with something very original. If you want something different and unique, don’t draw your inspiration from other cakes. Instead draw them from things! I often will find plenty of ideas from interesting textiles and fabric or an article of clothing. Art, architecture, jewelry, tiles, art periods (e.g. baroque, art nouveau, bauhaus, etc.), stationery and pieces of furniture can also be wonderful starting points for design. Items in nature, of course, are always a huge draw and can help you plan that cake for your outdoor or seasonal wedding. Get inspired not just by the designs or colors, but also textures.
My biggest qualm when it comes to listening to client’s ideas and inspirations is in the area of baby showers. I think there are so many unique and inspirational sources to draw from, and yet so many look to other baby shower cakes that have all the done the same thing time after time. Here are the ideas that has been overdone: baby blocks, babies themselves (I am always disturbed by the fact that someone would want to eat something that looks like a baby), teddy bears, rattles, bibs, bassinets, baby socks, onesies, etc. Instead look at items that are often overlooked like other baby toys, nursery decor, fabrics, mobiles, baby cushions, hand knit items, and quilts. Even jars of baby food would make for cute design for miniature cakes or cupcakes. Belly cakes are becoming ever so popular. They are actually great since you can choose a completely unique design for the outfit.
In these times, everyone is a little more cost conscious. It’s harder to plan a large wedding for 100+ people. A lot of people are opting for simple decorations or none at all, or cupcakes.
If you don’t have extra money in your budget for a fancily decorated wedding cake, opt for a plain undecorated one, with or without fondant (or if you have a friend that’s an avid baker, why not let them try a hand). Fondant, while it is more expensive, will a offer you more choices in non-edible decorations. Of course, the old stand-by with fresh flowers is always an excellent choice, and they can go on both buttercream and fondant cakes. As beautiful as gumpaste flowers are and while it may be a novelty of having edible flowers, nothing can compare to nature’s creations. No matter how artful and skillful I think some gumpaste flowers are made, they just cannot compare to the beautiful delicateness of an actual flower. Have your florist or floral designer wire some flowers for you. You can purchase little plastic vials to stick in the wires, or just stick them in the cake directly. You can also, in turn, use silk flowers or paper flowers.
Other items to look at are paper decorations. Arts and craft stores sell cutouts for scrapbooking, or purchase art paper and paper punches to make your own. You can also purchase patterned vellum paper to wrap each tier in.
Other design ideas are using ribbon, costume jewelry like brooches, candies, chocolates, cookies, ornaments, sea shells and beads.
If you are a little more daring, you can purchase design stencils and spray paint the designs onto your wedding cake. Most cake decorating supply stores now sell food coloring in spray form.