Tag Archives: Wedding Cakes

Modern Marie Antoinette Wedding Cakes

It’s always a pleasure to work with clients that have a fun & interesting theme for their wedding.  And when I received an email from a bride planning a modern Marie Antoinette themed event (think of Sofia Coppola’s rendition) at the historical Loews theater in Jersey City, I just knew we’d get along smashingly! 😀

I ♥ ‘The Love Story” marque.

As the bride was also in the industry (she is a fab makeup artist, and you can find out all about her work here), she was very wise to the fact that the more advance notice you can provide to a boutique vendor like me – the better everything seems to work out!

During our initial design consultation, the bride mentioned that she was interested in the possibility of multiple wedding cakes, as the table the venue provided was 14′ long, and she was afraid that just one small wedding cake would get completely lost.  However, with the wedding being on the more intimate side, I knew that breaking down the number of servings needed into multiple cakes would result in some pretty miniscule cakes that would definitely get lost on such a giant table.

So what to do?

Create rental cakes!

I’ve been toying with the idea of rental wedding cakes for a while, and with this particular client being incredibly nice (yes, listen up … it does pay to be nice to your vendors people … we’ll go above and beyond for grateful clients!), I knew that rental cakes would work beautifully to fill the table on a budget.  So, in the end, I created one real wedding cake (center) and two faux cakes (left and right) for display on the giant dessert table.

The real wedding cake below was comprised of devil’s food cake, filled with Nutella and raspberry preserves, and frosted in Nutella buttercream.  This was the first cake I had made with macarons as decoration & ombre ruffles, and I have to say, I was quite pleased with the end result!

Here’s a closer shot of one of the rental cakes that incorporated pink macarons, a fondant fan and a few gum paste feathers with a black bow on top.

The other faux cake was a one tier cake, in a rough hand painted “polka dot” treatment with a large outline of a flower in the front, accented by a macaron center.

I was so happy to see the following review a few days later from the bride about these cakes on WeddingWire:

“I can’t thank Jen at Sweet Element enough for sharing her amazing talents with us!

I fell in love with a wedding cake design and had come across a bunch of ideas and was searching for someone to bring it all together in one original cake…and not charge us a million dollars for it! I found Sweet Element online and was excited when I read that she will make your design fit within your budget! Its one thing for someone to rip your wedding cake dreams into little parts that you can afford but she really took everything I wanted and gave me a bunch of designs that were all amazing! It was so hard to choose just one!

Jen also made the suggestion of using 2 false cakes to take up space on the huge(14ft long) table we would use as our cake table. Everyone LOVED the 3 cakes and people kept asking when we were going to cut the other two!

I would highly recommend working with Sweet Element for any occasion! Jen was always easy to reach, willing to work with our ideas, worked everything into our budget and her cake was DELICIOUS!

And lastly … a bit of advice for how to transport a cake on a cake plate!

As the bride wanted to use specific cake plates of her own for presentation, and the real cake had a delicate ruffled base, we came up with an ingenious idea for transport – with the foam support in the photo below.  Essentially, I took a cake tier the height of the cake plate, cut out a hole in the center to put the foot of the plate through, cut a piece of no-skid to place atop the foam, and voila!

Rami Kashou Bridal Line Launch at bebe

I was thrilled when Sweet Element was offered the opportunity to participate in the Vow to Wow launch party for Rami Kashou‘s new bridal line for bebe last month at bebe’s SoHo location in NYC,  as I have been a fan of Rami’s work ever since his first stint on Project Runway.

The cake above was inspired by this layered silk tafetta wedding gown.

So why the delay in posting you may be asking?  Well … it’s taken me a little while to get over the unexpected drama that completely threw me for a loop! (There’s a hint in bottom of the photo above of me & Rami.)

Everything started out well, and I set up my table above with chocolates, a few display cakes inspired by Rami’s new gowns, my portfolio and some business cards.  Initially I thought that this would be an invitation only event, but I was surprised to see that bebe kept it’s doors open to all shoppers.  As you might imagine, when you’re giving out free chocolate – it goes quickly!  Within twenty minutes, all 100 pieces of chocolate were gone and I had one of the corporate marketing folks from bebe come over and ask if I had any more chocolate or any other food, as I couldn’t have an empty table.  I explained that her staff had specifically ordered just 100 bon bons, but I did bring two sheet cakes that were supposed to be cut and served by their catering staff.  After grumbling that she was going to have words with her staff, she then disappeared to find the sheet cakes that I had left in the kitchen for the catering staff.

Half an hour later, the corporate marketing person was still missing, and I was left wondering what was happening with these two sheet cakes, as I didn’t see any catering staff.  At that point, one of the security people from bebe came over, and seeing my quizzical expression, explained that there were no plates or utensils for the sheet cakes, and they were sending someone to Duane Reade (a local pharmacy) to get something to serve the cake with.  With the event nearly half over, as it was only two hours in duration, I was seriously wondering if these cakes would even get served.

Oh, but then *I* got served.  I was mortified when the staff brought up both sheet cakes, which were supposed to be cut and plated in a back kitchen and NEVER meant to be placed on my white linen table!  If that wasn’t bad enough, the staff thought it was helpful to precut the cakes in a very odd fashion, and not supply me with anything to serve it with … so I ended up using two forks (or spoons!) to serve up the odd shaped pieces of cake, while suppressing tears.  Where was the catering staff I was promised?!  If I had known there was no catering staff I never would have made sheet cakes (which by the way, the corporate staff specifically asked for), and would definitely have opted for mini cupcakes as I usually do for these types of events.

Here’s a photo of the cake horror that I took with my cell phone.  That’s devil’s food cake with nutella buttercream on the left and red velvet with cream cheese frosting on the right.  And yes, those are paper BOWLS that the staff ran out to get.

And as if that wasn’t bad enough … the staff only ran to get 30 or so bowls and 48 forks, so within ten minutes, I was offering people cake on napkins sans utensils as that’s all I had.

I honestly think I might have just packed up if Mr. Sweet Element hadn’t shown up as moral support during this disaster.  It was a small consolation to see the corporate marketing person felt terrible and came over to apologize for the mix up, as she saw how mortified I looked when they dropped those two very NOT for presentation cakes on my table for me to serve.

So … lesson learned … I will now ALWAYS quadruple check with any event planners to ensure that everything promised – like a catering staff with PLATES & FORKS will actually be there!

Here’s a shot of Rami with the bebe staff.  And yes, that’s me at my table in the back right corner, posting the cake horror on twitter.

Oh, hello there blogosphere!

Before the entire month of April goes by … I wanted to sneak in at least one post!  Like many months as a solopreneur, the month of April was one of ups and downs, unexpected opportunities, and a lot of lessons learned.

I’ll be posting in more detail about all of the below soon … but here’s a quick recap of all the goings on at Sweet Element this past month!

To start things off, here are a few of this month’s cakes!

This first cake was a vanilla cake, filled with dark chocolate ganache, and frosted in vanilla buttercream for a shabby chic birthday party for a very sweet one year old in Edgewater, NJ.

This sweet little red velvet birthday cake, filled with cream cheese frosting, and iced in vanilla buttercream was ordered as a surprise by a very sweet son. 🙂

These three wedding cakes were designed for a super fun modern Marie Antoinette themed wedding. I’ll be posting a lot more detail on these in another post next month!

Lastly, this fashion forward wedding cake was one of the two wedding cakes that were specially designed for the launch of Rami Kashou’s bridal line at Bebe.  I’ll be posting more on this event soon too!

There were a few more really fun cakes that I had the opportunity to make and would love to share, but I’m awaiting publication … so, as soon as I find out more, I’ll be updating everyone here too!

I was also extremely fortunate to get to know a number of fabulous folks in the wedding & event industry this month, including fellow cake designers, photographers, event planners, florists and make up artists.  I even got to make wedding cakes (yes, you read that right – cakeS!) for a super sweet make up artist ~ who had an awesome wedding at the Loew’s theater in Jersey City, NJ!

I was so excited to finally have a few professional headshots taken by the lovely Mikkel Paige in SoHo, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC.  The most amazing thing to me about these shots was that they were taken after I had only gotten four hours of sleep, having stayed up to the wee hours to finish cakes for a last minute shoot (more on that shoot coming soon too!).

And last but not least, here’s a glimpse of some of the much needed *fun* that Mr. Sweet Element & I got to enjoy this month!

Clockwise from top left: Mr. Sweet Element & I on the beach in Asbury Park – my first time there!; Traditional ice cream cake from Parm in SoHo, NYC – worth every calorie!  The sandwiches were so good (& I was so hungry), that I never got a photo.; My first Yankees game of the season in the Bronx.; Nagle’s ice cream parlor in Ocean Grove, NJ … can you see a theme here? 😉

March Madness!

It’s been a flurry of activity at Sweet Element this March, but I’ve finally been able to catch a little bit of computer time to share what we’ve been up to here in the land of sweets!

We started the month off with a very tall, very chocolate wedding cake for a wonderful couple who had their wedding at Battery Gardens in lower Manhattan.  Ilona & Allen were having a black & white NYC themed wedding, and loved the concept of having a unique chocolate buttercream cake decorated with a stunning silver NYC skyline, some graphic red fondant hearts and the iconic “I ♥ NY” logo in the center of the cake.  This cake was all red velvet, filled with cream cheese filling, and stood around 27″ tall!

Keeping in the NYC theme, we created this fun Jets jersey groom’s cake for another wedding at ‘Cesca, on the upper west side of Manhattan the following weekend.  The jersey was customized with the groom’s name and the couple’s wedding date in place of the player’s number.  The cake was a rich vanilla cake, filled with dark chocolate ganache, frosted in vanilla buttercream and decorated in a combination of fondant and gum paste decor.


We also created a fun Baby Einstein themed cake for a 1st birthday party in NJ.  This cake was a devil’s food cake, filled and frosted in vanilla buttercream.  The baby blocks on top were decorated rice cereal treats made with white chocolate in lieu of marshmallows in order to get nice edges.  All decor was made of fondant & gum paste.

Next up was prep for the 19th GLBT Expo at the Javits Center in NYC – which involved a LOT of baking: 6000+ mini cupcakes!  I am happy to say that I definitely had help this year in the baking department: BIG thanks to Mr. Sweet Element, fellow pastry chef LP & Remo – our newest intern!  I don’t know how I would have gotten through it all without you!

The GLBT Expo took place on St. Patrick’s Day weekend … which meant that Mr. Sweet Element and I celebrated our 1st date anniversary working the booth!  After last year, we realized that we definitely couldn’t do it alone, so this year we enlisted the help of some fabulous family and friends.  I don’t think I could give a big enough *THANK YOU* to Kim & Susan for all their help!  We were also very happy to share our booth with Nancy Swiezy Events, who created a gorgeous floral display for the table.  If you are ever looking for a fabulous florist or wedding planner – definitely give Nancy a call!

Here are a few snapshots from the show (last two courtesy of my cousin Kim, as most of my photos were STOLEN!***)

Kim, me & Susan all set up and waiting for the crowd to head in on Saturday.  Pistachio, Almond, Red Velvet, Confetti, Coconut & Vegan Chocolate mini cupcake samples, a few display cakes, a gorgeous floral display and little moo cards filled up our table!

Mr. Sweet Element, me & Kim ready to take on the onslaught of tasters!
Mini cupcake closeups and a shot of our back rack filled with boxes of cupcakes and display cakes.

***The weekend was fabulous … until I realized that someone swiped my phone!!! Definitely a downer to a great weekend, but luckily I was able to get a new phone late on Sunday at the AT&T Times Square store, who had reps at the Expo and were extremely helpful.  I’ll definitely be going back there for any phone needs in the future, as I’ve never received better service at any other store.  I thought it was incredibly sweet that the rep who I talked to at the Expo personally called me later that night just to check in to see if I was ok and had everything squared away.

So, new iPhone acquired, but many contacts and photos lost as I hadn’t synced it in a small eternity.  Needless to say I’ve already set up my new one and all my other devices on iCloud with “Find my iPhone/iPad/etc.” installed!

Spring 2012 Press!

I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the latest Sweet Element cakes that have found their way onto the pages of a variety of spring bridal magazines!

Here’s our pleated cake (on the right) in a Designer Desserts feature in the Spring 2012 issue of The Knot.  All cakes in the feature pulled details from fashion to adorn cakes – one of my favorite things to do!


Sweet Element definitely made a splash in our first appearances in both Contemporary Bride New Jersey & Contemporary Bride New York with a total of 9 cakes featured in their Spring 2012 issues!

In the inspire me: Jet Setters spread, our Par Avion Wedding cake was featured.


Here’s a close up shot of the Par Avion Wedding Cake.

In the inspire me: Groom’s Cakes spread, we had our Miller Lite Beer Bucket and our Lego Star Wars & Guinness groom’s cakes featured.


Close up of the Miller Lite Beer Bucket Groom’s Cake.

Close up of the Lego Star Wars & Guinness Cake.

I was thrilled to see our set of five Monique Lhuiller Inspired Wedding Cakes opened up the Cakes to Feast Your Eyes On feature!

Last but not least, we had one of our fresh flower wedding cakes, a square fondant wedding cake decorated in orchids in the subsequent pages of the Cakes to Feast Your Eyes On feature.


Close up shot of the Cascading Orchid Wedding Cake.

Brides White Hot Style Shop!

I usually wait on blogging about cakes created for publication, and as this lavender sequined wedding cake was created for the January 2012 issue of Brides magazine, I decided to wait until the issue hit newsstands to share this post!

Sweet Element was fortunate enough to be included in last year’s Brides White Hot Style Shop in NYC.  I was super excited to see my lavender sequined cake with purple fantasy flower was showcased on the cake table right at the front of the shop!


Here’s a photo of me with my cake taken by a fellow female entrepreneur & friend, Susan Ng (go check out her beauty products @ Naturally Susan’s) that came to visit during the Sweet Element cupcake tasting (both pistachio and red velvet went over extremely well)!


A few beautiful orchids from the florist …

And lastly … a lovely portrait of Jay & I being silly at the wrap party from The Booth!

Making Mini Wedding Cakes Big!

I recently had the opportunity to work with a bride who had fallen in love with the Monique Lhuillier inspired mini-cakes featured in The Knot’s spring 2011 issue.  There was just one little catch – she wanted them made big enough to feed 100+ guests!


Close up of the original mini-cakes:


And here are the replicas made a lot bigger!


It took a little bit of math to figure out how much cake would be needed in order to replicate these five lil’ cakes into their larger counterparts & a little bit of carpentry to make a few custom cake stands, but I have to say, I think I like the larger versions a bit better!

All five cakes, delivered to the Garden City Country Club in Garden City, LI,  were vanilla cake, filled & frosted in vanilla moussaline buttercream, and decorated in a combination of gum paste & fondant.

Here’s a quick shot I got to showcase the size difference before heading out for delivery.

And lastly, here are close ups of the individual cakes.




April Cake Catch-Up!

I love when a relatively quiet month all of a sudden turns out to be a super busy one unexpectedly!  This April was definitely one of those crazy months where I seemed to be inundated with last minute requests.  Here are a few of the Sweet Element projects that kept me busy this month.


Sweet Element Winter 2010 – Press!

Sweet Element was lucky enough to have a few more of my personal favorite Art Deco styled wedding cakes featured in both NY Weddings & The Knot winter editions, so I thought I would share!

One of the two covers for the Winter 2010 edition

NY Weddings Spread with a Sweet Element cake!

Closeup of the Blue & Silver Art Deco Wedding Cake

The Knot Winter 2010 – National Edition Cover

I was delighted to see my cake in the table of contents too!

The Knot spread with one of my favorite White-on-White Art Deco wedding cakes & a few Sweet Element chocolate bon bons too!

Sweet Element Cakes July Wrap Up

Where oh where did July go?! Apparently, it was far busier than I thought! Luckily, I was able to schedule a short birthday vacation away at Mohegan Sun & a few incredibly awesome birthday lunches & dinners out in NYC, but other than that July was all about cake!

The month started off with a wonderful tasting with the Volunteer Committee at the Montclair Art Musuem, where I had the pleasure of meeting a small group of wonderful women that I hope to work with on a few events soon.

Here’s a shot of some of the cupcakes that the MAM ladies sampled~chocolate devil’s food with espresso buttercream topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean & vanilla bean cake filled with strawberry preserves and topped with fresh strawberry buttercream.

Here are a few of the cakes from this month:

This first cake was won by a Montclair mom in the BaristaKids giveaway back in April.  The lucky winner requested a dark chocolate cake, filled with a dark chocolate ganache, frosted in a vanilla buttercream and decorated in chocolate.  As her daughter is an avid gymnast & fan of the color green, I thought the silhouette of various gymnastics poses would be a perfect design. It was a lovely surprise to find this thank you email waiting for me in my inbox the next day:

Thank you so much for the wonderful cake.  It was a big delicous and a big hit.  Taylor was so excited!

This second cake was made for an adorable 2 year old’s birthday party held at Creative Groove Studio in Hoboken, NJ.  I created the chocolate school bus on the cake in the likeness of a school bus character on one of the birthday boy’s favorite books and added in the first line, “The Wheels on the bus go round & round …” on the side of the cake to tie into the invitation.  This cake was a devil’s food cake filled with raspberry preserves, frosted in vanilla moussaline buttercream and decorated in chocolate.

This third cake was a last-minute order made for a sweet 3 year old’s birthday held at Senorita’s in Bloomfield, NJ.  While I was browsing through a few bridal magazines in Barnes & Noble one morning, I met a local wedding planner, who just so needed a birthday cake for her daughter in just a few days.  Luckily, I was available, and was more than happy to create this princess themed cake to tie into their Princess & the Frog themed party.  This cake was also a devil’s food cake, filled with a milk chocolate ganache, frosted in a lavender tinted vanilla buttercream, and decorated with gumpaste inscription, blossoms & crown.  If you are looking for a local NJ event planner, I can tell you that Without a Hitch definitely puts together a beautiful party!

Of course, as soon as I thought I was going to have an open weekend to catch up on some of the business part of Sweet Element (like this *blog*!), I received a call last Thursday morning from The Knot asking if I could help them out & have TWO wedding cakes for them by this past Monday morning for a segment on predictions for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this coming weekend.  After receiving the dossier late Thursday afternoon about what was known (in theory) about the event (i.e. event planner, florist, location, style of dress, etc.), I drew up a few sketches of ideas for two styles of cakes and worked with The Knot to whittle the selections to the following two cakes by Friday morning (yes, this left me TWO days to make TWO wedding cakes – EEEEP!):


This first cake was a seven tier cake with three burgundy sugar peonies & gold fondant ribbons.

Here’s a detail shot of one of the sugar peonies. Seriously a labor of love!

The second cake was a slightly more modern wedding cake comprised of four tiers with alternating pearled & flat white pleats.

Here’s a quick shot of the cakes at The Knot’s studio in SoHo along with some of the floral arrangements:

There could be a whole series of blog posts dedicated to these two cakes (if I was crazy enough … wait, I just might be ;D), including some of the following topics:

  • How to source materials for EXTREME last minute orders (Thank you NY Cake!)
  • How to NOT freak out when on a tight time frame (having an awesome husband helps!)
  • How to create sugar peonies without any custom cutters
  • How TIME CONSUMING it is to make gumpaste flowers
  • Learning the importance of delegating – The structure/delivery man CAN paint!
  • When making wedding cakes under duress, REMEMBER to EAT! (Yes, the time is worth it!)
  • When going through TV withdrawl, Hulu.com can be your bestest friend.
  • How to pray to the delivery gods so you will run into NO traffic on a Monday morning delivery to NYC (I owe you a BIG one!)
  • And last but not least, How to say “How High” when media opportunities arise that ask you to “JUMP!” (Big thanks to The Knot for allowing me to take part in this opportunity!)

Be on the look out for these two cakes tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends! It’ll be Sweet Element cakes’ national TV debut! 😀