Studies in Blue
Three Talented Los Angeles Wedding Cake Designers Offer Their Artful Takes on This Uncommon but Striking Color.
Kimberly Bailey of Butter End Cakery, draws on her backgrounds in both fine art and baking to create edible masterpieces. “I find that hand-painted cakes are the pinnacle of individual expression for couples,” she says, “because every piece is truly one-of-a-kind.”
The intricate design of this pale blue and indigo cake is inspired by tulle, but Bailey has created stunning works based on everything from beloved family pets to Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.
Based in Los Angeles, Bailey is much in demand by Hollywood notables. She recently created the cake for Kirk Douglas’s 100th birthday celebration, and she designed a wildly colorful pop art–themed seven-tier stunner for the 2014 wedding of ‘N Sync pop star Lance Bass and actor Michael Turchin.
“I do a ton of gay weddings,” she says, “and nothing makes me happier. Some of my most memorable clients have been same-sex couples. I designed a wedding cake for two men who had been together for like 40 years, and during our initial meeting, one of them just started crying. He just couldn’t believe that they were finally sitting there together, planning their wedding.”
“With hand-painted cakes, the customization for each client is limitless—it can be so personal for them. The inspiration could be their favorite artist, a piece of art that’s significant to them, a style that they want to evoke—just about any concept can be expressed specifically,” says Bailey. “I also find it very satisfying—I’m actually painting on the cake, so there’s no margin for error. And it’s gratifying as an artist to provide something that guests are wowed by.”
Bakery: Butter End Cakery
Baby Got the Blues
Beatrice Tsang draws heavily on her clients’ interests and inspirations when designing new cakes. For this blue-hued beauty, the owner of Beverly Hills’ popular Baby Bea’s Bakeshop created a variety of textured patterns resembling different textiles—layered scarves, ribbon curls, knitwear. “I knew that this cake needed to be something you could ‘feel,’” she says. “We kept it modern and stylish, but still … cozy. Like something you could imagine running your fingers through.”
“Our job as a design studio is to help bring out your personality,” says Tsang, noting that the client who hired her to create this ruffled-base cake presented her with challenging, but inspiring, style guidelines. “Many couples feel limited to showing us only cake photos when trying to describe what they want. But for this cake we were shown seashells, yarn, Oriental rugs, and sweaters,” she says. These decidedly abstract inspirations allowed Tsang to come up with a more creative approach.
To maintain the sophistication of a wedding cake, they kept the top layers simple and sleek. “Our specialty is simple,” she says. “Our cakes are flour, butter, and sugar—nothing fancy. Less is more.”
Her advice to clients: “Do your research and learn about each designer’s style. Pick someone you trust.” Tsang adds that it helps to choose a designer you hit it off with personally. “Our clients often become our best friends. The fun is in the process,” she adds. “After all, we’re here to celebrate!”
Bakery: Baby Bea’s Bakeshop
Gone are the days of dry and boring wedding cakes, according to Rachel Chan of Elise Cakes in Irvine. “We’ve definitely seen more and more fun and creative ideas when it comes to cakes and desserts lately.” Chan’s soaring three-layer cake incorporates distinct patterns so that each tier stands out boldly. Deceptively simple at first glance, this statuesque tower appears more intricate the longer you observe it. Guests are also delighted by the effect of eating the intricate second layer—the sensation is that of torn paper melting in your mouth.
“I’m definitely a minimalist when it comes to cake design,” says Chan. “I love clean lines and taking a subtle approach to the inspiration I’m drawing from. In this case, we gave the majority of the cake an almost monochromatic feel by using cool grays and dusty blues for the delicate hand-torn wafer-paper ruffles.”
This technique allowed the deep violet-blue marbling of the base to stand out prominently. “Lastly,” she says, “adding a small cluster of stark-white sugar flowers and greens finished off our bold design with just a touch of softness and romance.”
In keeping with the winter season, Chan chose two “deliciously comforting” flavors for the cake’s two primary layers. The base is a brown-sugar cinnamon-spice cake, layered with decadent cream-cheese frosting and salted caramel. Above it lies a dark chocolate cake with layers of chocolate ganache and espresso mousse.
The Orange County–based baker encourages clients to supplement the main cake with an assortment of tempting bite-size desserts. “This creates such a beautiful and inviting dessert table,” says Chan, adding, “we can customize it all—mini doughnuts, s’mores cups, mini–banana cream pies, you name it!”
Bakery: Elise Cakes