Sketch to Cake: Sasha Naidoo’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Bernini Inspired Wedding Cake

Sasha Naidoo @sugarcoated1

of Sugar Coated Cakes in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa designed a splendid, carved wedding cake for the Bernini issue of Cake Central Magazine Volume 8 Issue 1. Sasha’s innovative wedding cake was inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Rome.


I’m naturally drawn toward anything that’s old, hand-made and carved, so Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was a winner for me! I found as many other photo’s as I could, to see it in different lighting and angles, and I was most interested in the cave-like structure in the middle of the fountain, the natural stone textures and of course, the water in the fountain.

I usually start designing without a sketch, this often leads to too many different ideas, and I end up procrastinating or doubting my ideas. So, for this cake, I sketched exactly what I thought, and stuck to it, as close as possible. I really wanted to include the cave yet still keep the look of a tiered cake, so carved and hollowed out the middle and kept a solid base for the water effect.

This was one of the rare times that I stuck to the sketch, down to the very last detail. It helped me have a clear vision of the end product, and also sped up the time I spent working on the cake, because I had it down on paper. There’s something magical about seeing a sketch on paper, and then in a few hours time, it’s right there in front of your eyes.

I thought it would be best to start by mixing the colours of fondant I would need, covered the cakes, and stacked 4 tiers, marked out the area that I wanted to carve, and carefully started cutting, hoping that the tiers won’t collapse into themselves! I’ve never carved a cake before, so carving 4 tiers together was a little (ok, a lot!) out of my comfort wedding cake zone. Once that was done, I started on the shades of blue ruffles for the base tier. Finally, I started shading in the inside of the cave, and added the stone shading and gold details on the outside of the tiers.

I used Rolkem colours for colouring the icing and for the shading, edible gold leaf to highlight and outline the edges of the cave.

I was quite pleased with the finished cake, especially the shading inside the cave and the pop of colour from the blue wavy ruffles, I saw a picture of the fountain on a bright, sunny day, and I think I captured that in cake form perfectly. I also loved the fact that it still had the elegant look of a wedding cake and I’d be happy to recreate this design for a daring bride to be.

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