Our contributor, Erica OBrien, is back for the next post in our Trending series. Join Erica as she goes from inspiration on Pinterest to cake concept and then the final cake design.
Since relocating to Connecticut from California four years ago, my cake designs have reflected a seasonal approach: cakes for spring that boast tender young blooms and pastel color palettes, summer cakes that celebrate everything summer has to offer, fall cakes with earthy colors, spicy warm tones, and falling leaves, and sweater cakes in winter that would have felt ridiculously out of place in Southern California.
When I lived in SoCal, the lack of distinct seasons meant that my designs were influenced more by the culture, architecture, and flora. I made my first edible succulents while there (they were awful), my first papel picado cake, and embraced the Boho vibe. One regret I have about my time in California is that I never made it out to Palm Springs. I love the mid-century architecture (although I’ve only seen it in photos) and the Scandinavian and industrial design. This cake is an homage to the Palm Springs I’ve never been to.
The visual inspiration for this cake came from the fun, mid-century inspired cactus prints we’ve been seeing a lot of lately on Pinterest.
We chose a pink fondant for the backdrop to give the cake a more retro feel. (It also pairs beautifully with the blue-greens of the cacti.) We’ve been doing a lot of water color lately and wanted this cake to look and feel different. For the the cacti, we made an opaque edible paint by combining various shades of petal dust with Wilton White-White Icing Color. We hand painted the cacti and pink and red desert flowers around the base of the top and bottom tier.
We chose to incorporate some contemporary calligraphy on the middle tier. After several variations of lettering, we came up with a design that felt unmistakably modern but also worked well with the retro vibe of the cake.