One Cake, Three Looks
By Kate Palmer-Irani and Becci Howe
Becci specializes in one- and two-tier abstract Italian meringue buttercream wedding and celebration cakes. She prefers this buttercream as it is less sweet and takes the addition of color well. She loves taking inspiration from nature and interiors. She has a love of pastels, neutral shades, and likes a light and airy styled setup for her cake images.
If you are like Becci and prefer to use real cakes for promotional images rather than dummy tiers, and you need to maximize the use from one cake, here are some simple steps on how to create three different looks from one cake. This will save you time and money rather than making three separate cakes.
- Use a color palette that works well with both dry and fresh florals.
- Choose buttercream colors that complement each other or mix well to avoid unwanted shades.
- Choose your additional props to add color or texture such as cake stands, sprinkles, toppers, and cake charms.
- Keep the background, the table, and larger props plain or neutral to not distract from the cake.
- Try to use the additional props to identify the styling as a point of difference, for example a wedding, birthday, or christening.
The top tier uses Colour Mill taupe for a lovely off-white, creamy finish and the bottom tier is dusk. We kept the finish on the edges fairly rustic.
For the first look, we added a border of dried flowers, including a few different dried pink spray roses, bunny tails, and dried ferns. You can prepare these in a few different ways: either using food-safe floral tape; a food-safe wax seal to dip the stems; flower picks; or if the flowers are edible, you can poke them straight in! As this was for a photo shoot only, they went straight into the cake.
For the second look, we removed the flowers and used a small spatula and a cake smoother to repair the holes around the edge of the cake. We added some dabs of the pale buttercream to the lower tier and went over gently with the cake smoother to add texture. We then added some loose, edible gold leaf around the top of the top tier. Using the same method for fresh flowers, we added peonies, dahlias, hydrangea, and daisies. To place flowers for a relaxed feel, don’t be too symmetrical and don’t overcrowd them. Give each flower some room to breathe.
For the final look, we turned the cake around (yes, as simple as that!) and added on some dabs of a caramel-toned buttercream using Colour Mill Clay to add some richness and complexity. We then added some loose gold leaf across both tiers and added a few nude and metallic sprinkles, along with some large balls as accents at the bottom, middle, and top. We used a lovely giraffe cake topper complete with a flower crown from Pretty Panda Shop and an offset tall gold candle from Meri Meri to complete the look.
Styling & Photography: instagram.com/brambleskysolutions
Food Coloring: instagram.com/colour.mill
Cake Stands: instagram.com/bramblesky2014
Giraffe Topper: instagram.com/theprettypandashop