Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fantasy Royal Wedding Cake for William & Kate

I’ve always been fascinated by royal weddings, and all the fuss and attention that surrounds them. In 1981, even my native Lima, Peru was caught up in the excitement of Prince Charles & Lady Diana. In 1993 I saw a royal wedding from a slightly closer perspective; I was living in Japan, and for months the only topic of conversation at work was the wedding of Prince Naruhito & Masako. When the big day came, we along with the rest of the country, had the day off to watch the wedding live on TV.

After these two fairy tale weddings between princes and commoners, the whole world is waiting in anticipation for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. After all, who doesn’t love a good fairy tale?

I learned that I would feel some connection to this royal wedding and have a fond memory of it, when I got a call from BRIDES editors to come up with a sketch of a fantasy wedding cake for a feature they’re doing on the royal wedding.

Of course, I’m well-accustomed to sketching, but it’s not every day I’m given carte blanche and an unlimited budget for a cake! This is my first experience sketching a cake that I might not have the opportunity to actually create (although I wouldn’t mind doing it; if you happen to run into Kate, feel free to drop a hint on my behalf!)
I usually get all the inspirational materials (flowers, dress, colors, etc.) from my client, but in this case all the details are being kept secret, so all I had to go on was the inspiration packet that BRIDES editors provided; Westminster Abbey, official emblems, traditional flowers, etc., and elements of past royal weddings. One interesting tidbit I learned in the course of my research is that Kate’s given name is Catherine, which explains why the official logo has a C rather than a K.

My own inspiration board for William & Kate’s wedding cake.  These are the flowers, colors, and details I imagined while sketching the cake.

It was tricky making something of my own style, that wouldn’t be a radical departure from past royal wedding cakes. With the centuries of traditions, and with a royal wedding occurring only once every several decades, styles don’t evolve as quickly as they do in the real world. It was a tough judgment call deciding which modern techniques to incorporate in the design. I imagine the royal wedding planners must be tearing their hair out as the powers that be wrestle over these same issues.

You can see the whole feature here at Brides.com. I enjoyed the rare opportunity to see what other cake designers came up with from the same inspiration and theme; they’re all very unique but I especially like designs numbers 4 and 9. I would love to know what you think!

Here’s wishing William and Kate a storybook wedding and a lifetime of happiness together!

My original sketch with notes, with the inspiration board I put together, which gives you a better idea of how I envisioned each detail as I created my design.

The original story along reader comments is also being featured on Yahoo’s Shine homepage.

Inspiration Board Credits:
Flower images via: tobyfairley.com;
Judy Stalus flickr.com; lebonnefleur.wordpress.com; feverishthoughts.com
Invitations: Ceci NY
Westminster Abbey via: Patdollard.com
Cake details: Ana Parzych Custom Cakes

Friday, March 4, 2011

Martha Stewart Weddings: “White Plus” Wedding Cake

I was thrilled when Shira Savada, Martha Stewart Real Weddings expert and editor, called upon me for a challenge: to create a wedding cake to go with their 2011 winter issue color palette “white & slate.”

Martha Stewart Weddings magazine is a source of endless inspiration, eye candy for the wedding obsessed, so I was very excited to work on this project. While browsing through the color story pages, the beautiful and unusual bouquet by Quatre Coeur caught my eye, so I decided to design the wedding cake around the flower colors and texture: pure white cymbidium orchids, delicate scabiosa, rich succulents, and whispy olive leaves.

You can see the results below. All the wedding cake assembly, step-by-step sugar flower instructions, royal icing piping techniques and behind the scenes images were taken by longtime colleague and friend Ron Manville, an artist himself who has 54 cooking books and 3 James Beard awards to his credits. Thank you Ron for the beautiful photography and for being so easygoing.

(Left) Wedding Cake conceptual sketch on my inspiration board.  As you can see (and that’s what usually happens during any creative process) I later modified the monogram and decided against adding fondant ribbons. (Right) The gorgeous inspiration bouquet from Quatre Coeur. Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Close-up of the sugar flowers.
The finished wedding cake.

Wedding Cake slice: Tahitian vanilla layers filled with fresh strawberry and  vanilla mousseline 
finished with meringue buttercream and  vanilla fondant.
With my dearest friend Miriana, (who’s always there to lend her critical eye and is always ready for flavor tasting).
You can see the original story that appeared on “The Brides Guide” http://thebridesguide.marthastewartweddings.com/2011/02/ana-parzych-cakes.html
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