Tiers of Joy

Tiers of Joy | Wedding cakes may be a centuries-old tradition, but that hasn’t stopped them from evolving right alongside wedding design. Here, we share a few swoon-worthy styles by local pastry chefs.
Fresh Florals
Whether stacked atop, cascading down, or scattered about in a whimsical display, adorning your cake in beautiful blooms creates a look that is equal parts romantic and effortlessly elegant. “Fresh flowers will forever be a classic staple,” says Taryn DeYarman of Flowerchild. It’s also a great way to tie in your wedding’s florals for a truly cohesive aesthetic—especially if you leave the specifics to the pros. “When a couple doesn’t have a floral placement in mind for their cake, I’ll walk into the reception and pull inspiration from the centerpieces and floral installations themselves to align with the florists’ overall style,” DeYarman says.
Plus, flowers tend to play well with additional color, becoming a natural way to incorporate even more of your wedding palette into your cake, notes Lauren Robertson of The Cake Stand, a joint venture she runs with her husband, Will (he bakes the cakes; she decorates them). While you could choose fully colored tiers, Robertson is a fan of creative techniques like using a palette knife to layer on color, which lends an abstract feel as it adds bright splashes on top of the traditional solid white.
Classic White 
Of course, one can never go wrong with white at a wedding, and a monochromatic cake can still tell a great story. Just ask Ashley Brown of ABCD, who taps into her art and design background to hone a couple’s vision and thoughtfully craft a wedding cake that doubles as art. “I love referencing different aspects of the wedding and design board to get the overall vibe they’re going for,” she says. “I’ll pull examples of cakes and textures I can incorporate and put together a sketch to send their way, and we play off that.” From piping to gum paste to edible pearls, options abound for adding texture to an all-white cake, with potential inspiration sources spanning the details of a bride’s dress, veil, or jewelry; table linens; and floral design elements—just to name a few. And if you go monochrome, don’t overlook the cake table, Brown says. She once delivered an all-white cake to find it would be surrounded by lush, vibrant blooms, brilliantly juxtaposing the minimalist dessert while creating a truly show-stopping display.
Looking to really mix it up? Break the mold and go the multi-cake route. In Charleston, no one does it better than Sugar Bakeshop, a pint-sized local favorite for celebrations of all stripes. Located in the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood, Sugar still features recipes belonging to the original owner’s grandmother. Whether you choose a collection of cakes (favorite flavors include vanilla with sugared blueberries, almond, and confetti) or a single cake followed by mini cupcakes in the same flavor, there’s something decidedly easy about cutting and serving up smaller cakes, says Sugar Bakeshop manager Kat Palmisano. If opting to mix and match cakes in multiple colors and flavors, plan to display them prominently on a “cake bar”—bonus points for fun cake stands.