SWEETEN THE DEAL
Wedding cakes have become a blank canvas for lavish designs and unique decorations that are both eye-catching and edible. Of these delightfully delectable creations, sugar flowers are on the rise, adding another layer of extravagance to beloved, traditionally tiered cakes.
Leanne Raccanello, owner of The Sugar Blossom Studio, fills Kirrily Ireland in on the art of sugar flowers; from their beautiful aesthetics and versatility to the incredible craftsmanship that goes into creating these lifelike blooms.
TOO GOOD TO EAT
Thanks to talented cake artists around the country, couples have very few limits when it comes to their wedding cake décor, and Raccanello says that if you can imagine it, then “there is sure to be a way to create it in cake or sugar paste”. Whether you envision a bunch of roses cascading down the cake’s many levels, or novelty figurines of you and your spouse-to-be to perch on the top, the options are truly endless, and limited only by your preferences. “It’s very much a case of researching to find someone whose style matches your own.”
While sugar paste can be molded to create bas-relief effects, mixed with fondant to replicate fabric, or cut into different shapes and sizes, Raccanello and The Sugar Blossom Studio have a particular specialty in crafting sugar flowers. With an uncanny resemblance to real-life blooms, these flowers are the perfect adornment if you’re looking to incorporate some natural beauty into your wedding day dessert.
It doesn’t just stop at the flowers, either.
To really capture an authentic floral arrangement, cake artists like Raccanello will incorporate a whole range of features. “Leaves are almost always a must to really finish off an arrangement of flowers,” Raccanello says. “It looks more balanced with a bit of greenery – or sometimes a lot of greenery, depending on the style.
Not just leaves either, [but also] palm fronds, bamboo, creepers, branches, rocks – anything you need to complete your design.” These natural-looking elements will take your cake to the top tier, turning it into the ultimate centerpiece.
THE ART OF SUGAR FLOWERS
Being as lifelike as they are, sugar flowers can deceive upon first sight, giving the impression that they are actually the real deal. However, rest assured they are completely edible. “Sugar flowers are created petal by petal from a sugar-based ‘paste’ similar to fondant that has vegetable gums added so that it can be rolled paper thin to create lifelike flowers,” Raccanello explains. “Depending on the bloom you are creating, there are different techniques. Some flowers require each petal to be wired individually, which involves creating a slightly thicker centre to each petal so a very fine wire can be inserted,” she continues. “Once dry, the petals are then taped to a central stem to complete the flower…They are very time consuming and labour intensive to make – it’s an edible art form that takes many years to perfect!”
Real flowers are a perfectly valid option when it comes to decorating your wedding cake, however Raccanello encourages couples to consider the ample benefits of sugar flowers. “Sugar flowers will not wilt over the course of the day or in the heat, they can be created out of season so are always available, come in any shade, colour or size needed, are always perfect and can be kept as a memento of the day for many years to come,” she lists. “As lovely as fresh flowers are, they just can’t compete!”
ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE BLUE
Fresh flowers are of course a great source of inspiration, so even if you opt for sugar flowers, you can still consult the real-life blooms that you’ve chosen to decorate the rest of the venue and pick matching florals for the cake. “Often, a discussion with the florist is very helpful – working in collaboration with other professionals involved in the event ensures all elements fit together seamlessly,” Raccanello says. If you decide to go down this route and make everything match, it’s ideal to lock in the flowers for the bouquets and venue first. “It is much easier to match the cake to your wedding flowers than it is for a florist to source something that is out of season or hard to find in order to coordinate with the flowers on the wedding cake.”
Tying your cake décor into the rest of the wedding doesn’t have to stop at flowers, either. “There are so many moulds, cutters, lace mats and other tools available now, you can always incorporate a theme in some way into the wedding cake,” Raccanello affirms. “A beach wedding may have intricately-made coral, or shells in place of flowers. A rural wedding may use sugar meadow flowers rather than formal rose. A sophisticated evening reception in black and white could have just one perfect stem of white sugar phalaenopsis orchids with fine black ribbon on the bottom of each tier.” No matter the theme, sugary sweet creations are a great and versatile way to bring it to life.
Whether you’re looking for a touch of extravagance or want to keep it simple, your wedding cake will no doubt benefit from the impressive craftsmanship that cake artists are offering today. Between sugar flowers, greenery, varying textures and designs, it will no doubt look simply irresistible, while tasting even better.
Image courtesy of The Sugar Blossom Studio