Sketch to Cake: Jackie Shaffer’s Bernini Inspired Apollo and Daphne Wedding Cake

Jackie Shaffer

Cake Central's own founder and CEO, in Scottsdale, AZ created a phenomenal wedding cake for the cover of our Bernini issue of Cake Central Magazine Volume 8 Issue 1. Jackie’s magnificent wedding cake was inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's statue of Apollo and Daphne and the royal European wedding cakes of the past.

Apollo and Daphne is a baroque, life-sized marble sculpture by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

I had been thinking about creating an issue of Cake Central Magazine inspired by the works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini since I started this magazine in 2010. Creating new designs in sugar based on such an unparalleled master of sculpture and architecture is no small task. One of my all-time favorite works by Bernini is his baroque statue depicting the most dramatic scene from the story of Apollo and Daphne. I wanted to create a wedding cake that exemplified the European architecture and captured the romance of the period with ornate detail while staying true to the ancient Greek myth.

Jackie Shaffer Bernini Wedding Cake Cover Cake Central Magazine

I initially sketched out a design loosely based on the wedding cake of Victoria, Princess Royal and Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia. I knew I wanted to include a lot of ornamental architectural-style details. I sketched the topper to consist of a miniature version of the original Apollo and Daphne Bernini statue in modeling chocolate and to somehow incorporate cupid, and the busts of Apollo and Daphne as well as laurel leaves.

I had to create my own molds for almost all of the ornamentation such as the borders and swags. This process took several weeks to carve out pieces, or find ornamental items and create silicone molds. I used the Winbeckler’s modeling chocolate to make the topper, busts and cupid. I used Satin Ice gumpaste for most of the other components along with royal icing. I attached each gumpaste or chocolate item to the fondant covered tiers using edible glue.

I absolutely adore how the middle tier turned out. I placed the bust of Apollo on the left and Daphne on the right, with Cupid sitting in the middle to create a visual for the story. One of my favorite design element on this cake are the two pillars that frame Cupid’s niche. I created the pillars from gumpaste and used royal icing for the details and although it was very time-consuming and took more tries than I care to admit, it was worth it because the pillars turned out beautifully.

Whenever I complete a wedding cake there are always a few features I wish I could have spent just a bit more time on, that being said, I am in love with this Bernini inspired wedding cake. Each detail on this wedding cake is painstakingly hand-crafted and carries its own beauty, but for me this cake is made exponentially more exquisite by the sum of these parts.

Comments (8)


This is a "sketch to cake" that I really wanted to see. Thanks for sharing. The cake is stunning. It is also great that you can keep it as a trophy! Worth every minute you spent on it! Congrats!!!!!


it is a truly exquisite cake -- what incredible workmanship, jackie, wow --

it's the kind of cake that keeps your eyes ever refreshed -- you can't seem to ever take it all in -- it's got so many lovely intricacies -- you never tire of looking at it -- i love it -- it's a masterpiece inspired by a masterpieces -- mazel tov --