Sketch to Cake: Tammy Youngerwood’s Zuhair Murad Inspired Couture Wedding Cake

Tammy Youngerwood of Jerusalem Cake Design designed a romantic wedding cake for the Fashion Issue of Cake Central Magazine Volume 7 Issue 4. Her couture wedding cake was inspired by an incredible, flowing, soft and metallic Zuhair Murad Haute Couture Paris gown. Tammy shares with us how she utilizes her background in graphic design to plan out and bring her charming wedding cake to life.

It was the summertime and I was away from my kitchen when I first received the request from cake central. I knew I wouldn't be able to actually start working on the cake for a couple of weeks. So, I used that time to do several variations of the sketch. Since I worked as a graphic designer for years,  I am very comfortable with photoshop. I was able to sketch out a few different options, and play with them on screen.  It is so much easier to play with the design when it is still at sketch-level.   I knew I wanted the cake to be four tiers, with a flower as a focal point…the rest was up for grabs.

Details & Design

I loved the level of detail and layering of the textures on the dress. I wanted to translate those elements into cake form - I could see that working well. I also loved the idea of metallic mixed with florals and lace.

Once I had my sketch I used it to plan out the stages of executing the design.

I asked mysqlf: What needed drying time? What was the order in which things needed to be done?  I had initially made a gumpaste flower with lace detail as the focal point - so this was actually the first thing I did. Then I made a few of the gems and embroidery pieces, using a variety of molds

How closely do you like to work from your sketch?

I love having sketches, as I am a little bit Type-A and like to have a plan for my work. So I print out the sketch and have it physically infront of me,…but once I start working, the creative process becomes quite organic. I like being open to new ideas when I am actually putting it all together.

Were there any complications in making your cake?

Well, that large beautiful gumpaste flower just didn’t work. First, it was just too busy for the cake so aesthetically it wasn’t working. Then, the thin petals were super delicate and when those had started to break I decided to go for plan B - wafer paper flowers. I made a few large ones and attached a few edible gems in the middle. I actually really loved the change in plan... it was lighter flower much more visually balanced with the cake.

Cake Decorating Techniques Used

This cake was a lot of layering  of pretty simple techniques. I used molds to create the various ribbons and pieces of lace.  While the pieces were still fresh I either dusted it with a shimmer dust and then applied it to the cake, or I applied it to the cake and then painted it with silver (dust mixed with alcohol). Then I would add on the edible pearls with some edible glue afterwords, and that seemed to tie it all together.

Did you have to make changes to your original plan when it came to execution? If so, what did you have to compromise?

I played with quite a few ideas that didn’t happen in the end. I tried to work in the idea of a metallic tier but could not resolve that.  I also had considered creating a metal band on the cake like the belt on the dress. When it came to final execution I couldn't find of way of making that work. So I tried just using a little grey ribbon between the tiers. I am not sure if that was a compromise, but I do like how that turned out.

Zuhair Murad is such a talented designer and the original dress was a real work of art. I feel that I have been successful in capturing some of that in cake form. If I did it again I would play around with the placement of the final ribbons and lace, as there is a lot of room for variation there. But all in all I am happy with how it all came together.


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