How an art minded couple married their love of minimalistic chic design and architecture into their cake aesthetic.
Wedding cakes, I had long though of as never being my forte. After a decade of working as a pastry chef my eye still twitches at the mention of fondant. However, I was absolutely ecstatic when I was contacted by one of my site contributors and her wonderful fiance who were in the market for a not-so-traditional wedding cake for their upcoming day. Chalisse Burrell and Kevin Crystal had very few requests for their wedding cake: must be simplistic in design, structural, NOT include fondant and be anything but traditional. This particular couple have an impeccable eye for aesthetics, Burrell founder of Shop Midnight Home is an antique collector after all and so any traditional cake simply would not check all of her boxes.
I met with the couple to absorb their "must haves" list and plan their ideal cake. While most wedding cake consults typically include mulling over color profiles or which varieties of fresh flowers, embellishments, cake toppers are preferred this one went a little differently. The couple wanted a three tier double barrel all white cake to serve their 50 person intimate metropolitan-influenced rooftop wedding. With an eye for architectural integrity and visual interest (our consult being held in their, home dripping with their art collection and antiques sourced from their vacation) our conversation quickly turned to structural inspiration. We pulled out basic design concept, a deco shape inspired by white spiral staircases and the curvature of arched doorways.
In love with the soft curvature and modern white of the staircases and archways, the pair wanted to replicate a similar shape in their cake deco. We settled on incorporating this style in the form of rounded panels made from sheeted and molded gum paste that would clip in around each cake tiers and hover about a centimeter from the cakes surface. Alternating the placement of these panels from right to left on each tear would establish a fluid eye line and replicate the feeling of a spiral without carving into the cake and compromising the simplicity of the design.
With understated as the decor nailed down we next set out to finalize the flavor profile. I presented 6 of my favorite cake combinations here was the lineup presented to the happy couple:
Chocolate Devils Food
Chocolate American Buttercrem
Vanilla Bean Sponge
Mixed Berry Jam
Cream Cheese Crème Mousseline
Spiced Pineapple Jam and Miso Caramel
Classic Cream Cheese Buttercream
Cookies And Cream Mousse
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Fresh Strawberries in Coulis
Sicilian Ricotta Cake
Honeysuckle Toasted Almonds and Sweet Cream Mascarpone
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Each of these options were presented to Kevin and Chalisse as 3 layer 4inch cakes. This is my preferred size as it allows the client multiple slices of each cake flavor to eat over the span of a few days and truly take their time reaching their final decision. After a few days to sleep on the cake selection, they reached out and we had a Winner ! Option 6 A Sicilian Ricotta cake with two fillings 1.) a sweet cream mascarpone, delicate and slightly sweet 2.) a honeysuckle Toasted Almond filling, sticky and toothsome in a reduced orange blossom honey reduction. The Swiss meringue buttercream on the cake fit in beautifully with the flavor profile. With its addition of egg whites it is my preferred frosting option due to its much more palatable sugar content and smoothness in comparison to a traditional American Buttercream.
This Honeysuckle Almond Filling is one of my all time favorites. It's a fantastic addition to yogurt bowls, pancakes and waffles and cake fillings. I've also used this base recipe as a starting point for Bourbon Nut bars. Super Simple to execute: here's a small batch recipe (1/10th of the batch used for this wedding cake)
2 C Slivered Almonds
8 oz Honey (i used orange blossom but any honey will do)
4 Tbsp dried honeysuckle flowers
4Tbs Salted Butter
1/4tsp Kosher salt
2Tbs dark Vanilla extract
4 drops Lorann Honeysuckle oil
Preheat your oven to 375. Pour out your slivered almonds and spread them out in as even a layer as you can manage onto a sheet tray lined with parchment or a silicone mat (I prefer silicone as it makes a more eat even surface for the nuts ensuring none of them burn) Toast for 25 minutes. Depending on the moisture content of your nuts this time may vary slightly. A good rule of thumb I use when toasting nuts is to check on them every 6 min or so and give them a little toss, rotating the nuts so they all toast evenly. You're nuts are ready to remove from the oven when their flesh is the color of caramel.
In a medium sauce pan add 5 oz of water and 4Tbsp honeysuckle flowers and bring to a simmer. Once at a simmer, cut off the heat and put a lid on the pot, Allow to steep for 6 minutes and strain out flowers, making sure to give the flowers a good squeeze and get every drop of that tea back into your pot.
To your honeysuckle tea pot add in your honey, butter, salt and almonds and bring the mixture to a simmer, gently stirring with a spatula. Simmer for 5 minutes, turn off heat and add in your dark vanilla extract and Honeysuckle oil.
Store your Almond Filling in an airtight container. I like to prepare my mix the day before I intend to use it giving the nuts a solid day to absorb all the moisture and melds its favors.
Here is the final Cake, the beautiful couple cutting and a gratuitous gallery of their incredible wedding photos! Congratulations to the happy couple and their journey building their lives together!