You see a pair of fabulous shoes, but a talented cake designer sees more—the inspiration for a gorgeous cake. Real brides showed us the same "inspiration points" they showed their wedding cake bakers, who in turn brought us the fabulous results—all to inspire you to take a chance, ask nicely, and try something original.
Since Jennifer Van Hofwegen, 37, a marketing executive, was hosting a formal affair at one of America's oldest literary clubs, she wanted her cake to have a distinguished feel, similar to the setting. "I thought that our invitations, which I designed myself, captured the atmosphere of the wedding, so I used them as inspiration for the cake," says Jennifer. Her bakers, Ellen Sternau and Beth Pilar, of How Sweet It Is Custom Pastries & Cakes, covered the tiers in simple white and gold fondant, and used royal icing to mimic the invitation's gold flourishes and royal purple lettering.

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