Sketch to Cake: Elaine Duran's Rustic Vineyard Wedding Cake

Featured in the Adore section of the recently published issue of Cake Central Magazine (Volume 4, Issue 8), we wanted to take a closer look at Elaine Duran’s rustic wedding cake. We chatted with Elaine about the sketching and design process behind her vineyard-inspired creation.


Vineyard Wedding


Cake Central: Where did your ideas come from (apart from the mood board we sent you for inspiration)?
Elaine: I’ve always had an interest in architectural design, fashion, interior design, and history and how they all work together to create timeless beauty. So I knew I was going to move in that direction and incorporate it into my design.

CC: What was your design process like? How did you create your cake concept?
Elaine: I started out with a “what not to do” list. As soon as I saw the mood board, I knew I did not want to do your average predictable and traditional white wedding cake. Also I knew I wanted this piece to be different and incorporate the grapes as a focal point, verses the huge flowers that are usually placed on wedding cakes. I thought of the old porcelain vintage lamps that my grandmother used to have growing up in her living room. I wanted to capture that era and moment and fuse it with Tuscany vineyard.

In the mood board picture the bride and groom were facing each other and their faces together created a heart shape. To represent their love, I wanted to tell their story of the two becoming one through the cake design by incorporating three gold hearts as another focal point in the middle of the cake. The two small hearts representing their individual love for each other and then the slightly bigger heart in the middle representing their love united.

CC: How did you begin making a cake from your sketch? What were your first steps?
Elaine: First, I had to carve the cake semi round and create an urn where the top tiers could sit on. Next, I began to work on the top two tiers making sure the aged ceramic buttercream affect matched the bottom round tier. Lastly was the placement of the gold accents on the cake and the placement of the grapes (this was the most important because they had to appear lifelike).

CC: How closely do you like to work from your sketch?
Elaine: I use my sketches as a guide throughout the whole design process of my cakes for placement purposes. I am a big stickler and much of a perfectionist when it comes to making the details symmetrical and even. Once the initial cake is up then I just let my creative ideas get lost in the moment and have a mind of it’s own.

CC: Were there any complications in making your cake?
Elaine: I knew the grapes had to look realistic, so I focused on shaping each grape slightly different and then applied different shades of luster dust for shading and shadowing. This process was extremely time consuming and tedious. Also, placing the grapes one by one to create a realistic “cluster” was challenging because each one was adhered individually with buttercream to each other and had to hold it’s weight on the cake without falling over. However, in the end I was extremely happy with the results.

CC: Did you use any special techniques on this cake?
Elaine: Yes, to recreate the aged ceramic look from the cherub on the mood board onto the cake, I took a small spatula and applied small portions of beige buttercream to create a plaster affect as if I was plastering several holes on a wall. Lastly, I sponge painted highlighter gold sparingly all over the cake to add elegance, age, and a 3-D effect.

CC: Did you have to make changes to your original plan when it came to execution? If so, what did you have to compromise?
Elaine: When I started applying the gold gumpaste details on the cake the idea was to place a small cherub in the middle of the round tier but in the end it looked better omitting the cherub. I wanted to keep the simple elegance and thought it would have been too much keeping the cherub.

CC: Any final thoughts on the finished cake?
Elaine: I appreciate the opportunity given to create this piece of art. I hope that my intense passion as a cake designer was portrayed in this piece and in all my work. This was truly a blessing!

Elaine Duran (CakesByElaine) runs Enticing Cake Boutique in Orlando, FL. You can see more of her creations at

Comments (1)


I had so much fun creating this cake! Thank you Cake Central once again for the unforgettable opportunity. I can't wait to have more opportunities with you in the near future :)