We spent nearly a year scouring the country's best bakeries in search of top pastry artists. More than 200 accepted our invitation to create a showstopping design, but only 24 can claim to have produced one of America's Most Beautiful Cakes.

Patti Paige was influenced by the charming patterns and shapes of 1950s textiles; a simple peach background showcases colorfully hand-painted cookies.

Fondant cake with cookies, $14 per slice, Baked Ideas, New York

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