Sketch to Cake: Julia Marie Reynolds’ Versace Inspired Couture Wedding Cake
Julia Marie Reynolds
of Julia Marie Cakes designed a romantic wedding cake for the Fashion Issue of Cake Central Magazine Volume 7 Issue 4. Her chic wedding cake was inspired by a bold, colorful Versace Haute Couture Paris gown. Julia Marie shares with us how she fell in love with this Versace dress and how she made the audacious wedding cake it inspired.
I actually fell in love with the Versace dress I was given as my inspiration piece. It's such a striking gown with a bold colorful pattern, as well as the trailing blossoms on the shoulder, I could instantly imagine the cake I wanted to create, without even the need to really draw up a sketch. I knew I wanted to try and incorporate the main floral pattern, as well as the draping and of course, include some sugar flowers.
I started my design process by searching through the internet to find more images for the dress, including some close up shots. I soon realized that the bodice was made with some barely there lace, which was then quickly introduced into the design. I wanted to create the illusion of height to the cake, so opted to make each tier 6 inches tall, that way I could increase the amount of elements on the cake, without making it look too wide and heavy.
I first began with a four tiered pale pink blank canvas, with only a little lace embossing on the three upper layers. I then cut thin strips of purple sugar paste, placing them as straight as I possibly could, making sure they all lined up on each tier, to mimic the bodice of the dress. The next step was hand painting the pattern with cocoa butter and petal dusts, which I admit, did take up a fair amount of time
I normally use my initial ideas and sketches as only a guide, sometimes I will change things up a little and sometimes a lot. For the most part of this cake, I didn't deviate too much, except for the draping which I initially wanted to fall to the very bottom, and also the sugar flowers, which I had planned on keeping them mostly on the upper tiers, which also wanted to include more larger flowers in the arrangement too, but later decided to keep with just the smaller blossoms.
The main difference in my original plans to the finished cake was the draping, as mentioned before, however, I believe overall the change worked out for the best, as I didn't compromise all the hard work I'd already made painting the design on the bottom tier.The other change was the floral arrangement. I had originally planned to make it only small, extended over the top and to include larger flowers, but as I was making the cake, I realized the larger flowers just wouldn’t work. I wanted the flowers to be noticed, but not take over. So I decided to stick with just the blossoms and leaves, with only a couple of smaller roses, which I did originally arrange trailing up the uppermost part of the cake. The decision to increase the amount further down the cake was mainly due to the fact that there was too much free space on the lower tiers, as well as I had actually made a lot of blossoms that would have just gone to waste, it just made sense to add them there.
The only real complication I had was the drape! The first problem was that I had wanted it to go all the way down to the bottom of the cake. It was just too heavy to hold itself up and keep in the shape I wanted, not only that, I felt it over-powered the design as well, as it would have covered a lot of the hand painting I'd already made. I ended up finishing it up shorter, tucking it neatly to the back of the cake, which I actually preferred a lot more in the end.
The other problem I faced was the wafer paper frill that was put under the drape. At first I applied to much of it, which again, just overpowered the cake and also just didn't hold up too well. I ended up putting just a few strips, sticking it down with some piping gel.
I tried a technique that was new to me, which was painting with cocoa butter and petal dusts. I actually loved this technique, it was just like oil painting, which enabled me to blend the colours into one another and create solid colors, just like the floral pattern on the dress. I painted all the colors first, which looked really pretty on its own, but the main element on the dress was its boldness with the black outline, so I took a really thin liner brush, with the same cocoa butter and black petal dust, lining each part of the pattern, which terrified me at first, but changed the entire look of the cake dramatically.
I was actually really happy with the finished design and with all the changes. I'm so glad I chose to take a photo with a darker background, as I felt it really shows off the vibrant colors of the flowers and the pattern. But really, the main credit goes to Versace, for making such a beautiful gown, that gave such an inspiration to me.
Wow! This is so lovely. I cant get over the beauty and perfection of this 'piece of art'. Definitely a job well done.