Food and Drink

Cake Art

Your bridal creation is the icing on your wedding-day cake

Photos courtesy of Dulce Couture Cakes

Gabriela Szegner says she’s old-fashioned when it comes to wedding cake. “I think a wedding is not a wedding without a wedding cake; the cake is part of the decor, it is tradition,” declares the Kanata-based cake designer.

While her sentiments may be old-style, her bridal creations are anything but. Gabriela is an artist who sculpts, paints and conjures show-stopping confections with sugar, spice and everything nice. Boy is it nice! Imagine classic Swiss meringue buttercream in flavours such as chocolate, raspberry, mocha and Madagascar vanilla. The cake combinations are also drool-worthy, including fleur de sel caramel, lemon and elderflower, red velvet or banana with dulce de leche cream. Possibilities include anything your heart and sweet tooth desire.

But while great taste is baked into each layer Gabriela pulls from the oven, her cakes also represent great aesthetic taste. They are edible artworks. And they typify a striking trend in today’s nuptials: expressing your unique style via all the day’s different elements and experiences. In an era when weddings are anything but standard, a signature cake serves as a decorative centrepiece you can cut with romantic flourish, share with everybody, and relish.

Not only is it a sweet way to incorporate a timeless wedding tradition, it’s also a scrumptious way to add the ultimate wow-factor in a day full of eye candy.

“A spectacular wedding cake is a reflection of the couple’s taste and personality, and the venue,” says Gabriela. “The size and the complexity of the design, the height, the placement of the cake in the room, the tablecloth, the cake-stand—all that together makes for a spectacular piece.”

This artist is devoted to creating just such an impact for bridal couples. As owner of Dulce Couture Cakes (dulcecouturecakes.ca), she has been designing artistic, custom wedding cakes for three years, and earning enthusiastic kudos from happy brides. One reviewer describes her skills as “out of this world.”

ART AS THE INFLUENCE

Always artistic, she dabbled in oil painting and worked as a beauty advisor and makeup artist in earlier years. “The idea of cake designing came as an accident, really,” Gabriela says. “My sister’s friend overseas had a small business at home designing children’s cakes; I saw her work and my eyes opened up.” She came home and signed up for all the cake designing courses offered at Michael’s. That wasn’t enough for her, though, so she did some research and found a school in Barcelona, Spain. “Off I went to learn about sugar flowers and other techniques; every course I took, the more I wanted to learn.” Eventually, she attended Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts, in Toronto, and became a certified cake designer.

All that training is lusciously evident in the wedding confections she masterfully produces. In recent years, cupcakes, cake-pops and sweets tables have sometimes served as alternatives or additions to a wedding cake, and Gabriela can do it all—from macarons to meringues. But when you see some of the cakes she has crafted, you’ll want one. They are spectacular.

For instance, the dramatic black Grace design is a four-layer stunner featuring bold colour and details.  A strikingly lifelike, champagne-hued sugar peony, delicate gold leaves and pretty rosettes set off this dark showstopper. An elegant high tea-in-spired design is bursting with beautiful spring shades and blooms.

Gold detailing adds extra panache. There’s a cake with a white layer, a red layer and a middle layer iced in gold sequins. It’s topped, in perfect winter style, with a beautiful big red peony and green leaves. A three-tier design that looks to be dressed in real marble has a stunning emerald geode waterfall and gold accents. There are designs with dramatic ruffles and ones with crackled, parchment or bark effects. From majestic, towering multi-tiered cakes to tasteful, minimalist single layer styles, all are distinctive.

That’s the real beauty of this delicious art. It can ingeniously reflect and enhance the spirit of your wedding, whether it’s a rustic-chic soiree in a heritage locale, an intimate gathering at a restaurant or an elegant affair at an upscale hotel.

As for the latest trends, they include cakes with lots of textures, organic flower designs, and sugar flowers you cannot distinguish from real ones, the designer says. While local brides tend to favour “mostly classic, elegant, rustic and romantic styles,” she notes, “I have been lucky enough to be able to design more modern cakes for couples who want to step out of their comfort zone and treat themselves to a beautiful cake.” 

If you’re a bride-to-be who wants a gorgeous cake, she suggests being open to trying a new trend and letting your personality shine through. There are no hard-and-fast wedding-cake rules dictating colour, shape, size, style or flavours.

“To me, all cakes are amazing,” Gabriela says, as long as they match the venue and number of guests. “You cannot have a tiny cake with 300 guests in a huge room; the cake will get totally lost.”

As she notes online, her favourite part of the creative process is working directly with the bridal couple. The aim, she explains, is “to ensure the cake reflects their personality, while maintaining the perfect combination between the wedding theme, the venue and decor.”

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