Thanks to Jaz at Moxie Rose Photography for suggesting Voyage Dallas take a look at Sweet By Design! Guess it's time I introduce myself! My name is Melisa, and I am the one woman show behind Sweet By Design. From cake concept to clean up, I am responsible for all that goes on here. Except for taxes...I call my husband my CFO because he takes cake of all that. ;)
I love to read, am deep water scuba certified, and majored in dance in college. Thanks to an ankle injury and my daughter, I started Sweet By Design. To find out a bit more about my story, check out this interview I recently did with Voyage Dallas.
Occasionally, I will get a request for a duplicate of a cake I have made previously... the "I saw this cake on your website, and it would be perfect for my daughter's birthday!" order. I like having this kind of cake every now and then because it gives me a chance to rethink how I did the original and challenges me to find what I can do differently to make the new version special for the new client.
Here is the original cake I made a couple of years ago. The cakes are very similar, but cakes with this kind of detail will never look exactly alike because they are hand made by a person, not a machine. The finish of the cakes is fondant that has been hand painted to replicate the look of parchment. The wood grain look of the cake board is also fondant that has been hand textured and painted. The wands, scarves, and glasses are also all slightly different. The most obvious difference I think was the addition of the footprints around the name plaque on the second cake. Ironically, both cakes were Chocolate Fudge filled with Chocolate Hazelnut buttercream. I guess wizards have a favorite flavor!
It is important to keep a few things in mind when you find that perfect cake on the interwebs:
The point I'm trying to make is to not let that dream cake you saw online be the end all, must have, can't even think of anything else. Your guest count will change the size and silhouette, your baker's skill set may modify the design, and the lighting at your event will alter how the final product looks. Be open to these changes, and you will end up with a centerpiece dessert that is perfect for you.
The traditional stacked wedding cake is my most requested wedding dessert; however, dessert tables, where several goodies are offered, are still trending too.
We recently did a wedding at the gorgeous Rustic Grace Estate in Van Alstyne where the couple asked for a small gold painted wedding cake which was only for them and cake pops for their guests. The bride and groom chose a flavor filled combination they loved for their cake - Champagne cake with Lavender Blackberry, Vanilla, and Raspberry filling. For the cake pops, they selected Amaretto cake with Raspberry buttercream which they thought would be more popular with their friends and family. The couple's family provided some additional desserts to round out the sweet offerings.
When planning for a dessert table, we recommend that you plan on 3 mini desserts per guest. Some guests will only have one, but some will want to try every item you offer. We can't blame them...it's hard to say no to something this tasty!
Rustic Grace Estate is a beautiful venue just 20 minutes north of McKinney. They have a breathtaking white chapel (the floors! the pews! the windows!) that is just steps away from their 1920's red barn where the receptions are held. Additionally, they have a 3 acre lake with a fountain, longhorn cattle, and Arabian horses... what an amazing scene for photos! The venue is yours for 14 hours on the day of your wedding, and they also have a bridal suite and groom's room so you can get ready for the walk down the aisle on site. Take a look at their photo gallery, because my little picture of the barn is just a taste of all the rustic elegance they have to offer!
I love a whimsical groom's cake! It gives the couple a chance to show off their personality and interests.
This one we made recently is covered in thick swirls of dark chocolate buttercream, succulents, and edible gold leaf. Tucked away in the tropical fronds are a few extra party guests - classic and fun!
My kiddos named the dinosaurs John, Paul, George, and Ringo... can you guess what CD has been playing my car for the last 6 months?
This design is a great option for a groom's cake, but it would also be a wonderful choice for a rehearsal dinner or birthday too!
This sweet cake was actually a display cake made for an open house at 1899 Farmhouse. I am going to be back out at their open house later this month, and I will be bringing this one out again so you can see it in person.
Each tier is surrounded by trailing vines of pink and purple fondant flower blossoms. This design could of course be changed to match the colors of any wedding, and it is a great design for an outdoor or garden themed wedding.
Dessert tables are really big right now, and the beauty of a design with smaller flowers like this is that you could add them to cupcakes or cake pops too. You can have the variety of dessert offerings while still having a visual continuity in the selections.
To see this cake in person, come out to the Open House and Date Night at 1899 Farmhouse on September 28th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. You can tour the venue which has several versatile ceremony sites, meet some great vendors, and of course have some cake!
Ah, the geode cake. This is a relatively new trend that is taking the wedding cake industry by storm. Just search "geode wedding cake" on Pinterest and spend an afternoon perusing all the lovely sparkly confections. Go ahead... I'll wait.
Cool, right! When made to look like a geode is growing in the cake, a portion of the dessert is carved away before being covered in fondant. Clear rock candy is then placed in the divot and painted with edible color to match the colors of the event.
The inspiration for this cake came from slices of agate, not the rocky crystalline geode. Since they are commonly interchangeable search terms, you could call this my take on a geode cake (insert apology to my Geologist friend here. You know who you are, and I know they are not the same). =)
To make the agate slices, I painted rings onto rice wafer paper with the same food colors I use for my icings. I then poured melted isomalt, which is a sugar that is clear when it melts and rehardens, onto the paper being careful not to get any in the center. Once cooled, I could paint the edges with an edible gold. I painted the fondant covered tiers with the same food color and edible gold once the tiers were stacked, cut slits in the side of the cake for the agates to sit in, and added a bit of royal icing around them to make sure everybody stayed where they belonged. Then I added edible gold leaf here and there for a little extra shine.
I love how this bold and colorful wedding cake turned out!
A couple weeks ago, we delivered this cute little cake to a 2nd birthday party. The theme was Beauty and the Beast, and this buttercream and fondant field of flowers was the perfect setting!
The cake was our Golden Vanilla Butter cake, and it was filled with our Cream Cheese buttercream.
These colors would have been great for a gender reveal baby shower or a summery bridal shower too.
The birthday girl's mom found a cake topper set which included Belle, The Beast, and Mrs. Potts and Chip. We placed them on, and the princess was ready for her party!
This was a busy week! A wedding cake tasting, two birthday orders, and a surprise I'll tell you about in a couple of weeks!
First up, this birthday cake for a lovely lady. I made her wedding cake last year, and her husband requested her birthday cake be the same flavors - alternating layers of strawberry and lemon cakes filled with lavender blackberry buttercream. Yum!
Here's a quick video of me filling the layers with that delicious buttercream. Be kind, it's my first video, and I quickly learned that it's hard to fill a cake and hold a camera at the same time!
Summer is here, and that means congratulations are in order to this year's high school seniors!
The client provided a few inspirational pictures for this black and grey graduation cake, and after a little tweaking, this ombre rosette and swirl cake was designed.
Both tiers of this cake were our Chocolate Fudge recipe filled with Strawberry buttercream, The graduation cap was made from Rice Krispy Treats and covered in fondant. and for the non-chocolate lovers at the party, there were also two dozen Vanilla cupcakes with coordinating black, grey, and white sprinkles.
The other day, Daphne, one of our Facebook followers asked, "What is the most unique cake you have ever made?" I thought about it for a moment and realized there is no short answer to that question! Several came to mind for different reasons - unique flavors, unique design, unique structure...
So here is the not-so-short answer to the question.
Most unique "off the menu" flavor
A few years ago, I was asked to provide cupcakes for a going away reception for a family going on a mission trip to India. We came up with a yummy Vanilla Chai recipe and topped it with Cream Cheese icing.
Most unique combination of flavors
Last summer we made the most flavorful wedding cake to date. It contained alternating layers of Lemon and Strawberry cakes, and it was filled with Lavender Blackberry buttercream.
In addition to the refreshing, flavor packed wedding cake, there was also a Strawberry groom's cake, again filled with Lavender Blackberry buttercream. AND... there were 5 flavors of cupcakes too! Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Buttercream, Lemon with Cream Cheese Buttercream, Lemon with Lavender Blackberry Buttercream, Strawberry with Lavender Blackberry Buttercream, and Chocolate with Chocolate Buttercream. Yes, I would have been the guest with 5 cupcakes on her plate so I could have them all!
Most unique structure
Ok, so I couldn't pick just one here! First, I would have to go with the gray damask wedding cake we made for an open house a couple of years ago. The smaller separator tiers really gave the silhouette of this cake a modern feel, even with the very classic damask decoration.
Then there is the first carved cake we ever made. The client ordered this cake for her dad's birthday, and he was restoring two Triumph motorcycles. My engineering husband made cutting guides for me so we could get the finished cake to be to scale.
Finally there is the heart shaped 25th Anniversary cake I made last summer. Why is this one a unique structure? Well, I don't have any heart shaped pans! The hearts were made by cutting away parts of round cake tiers to make the point of the heart and then moving and molding those pieces into the bumps at the top of the shape.
Most unique design
It was really hard to narrow this one down, but I would have to say the most unique design I have made so far is the Shoe and Purse birthday cake. Not only is each fondant shoe and purse different, but each side of the cake features a landmark in Paris and London where the couple had traveled. The birthday girl's boyfriend made that suggestion - I originally sketched out sky scrapers in the background for this one. I love that he wanted to make the cake more personal and unique to their experiences!
Here is a better shot of those tiny shoes!
Most unique client
All our clients are special, but I would have to say that the most unique client that has contacted us so far is Make-A-Wish® North Texas. The organization was granting the wish of a girl who wanted a trip to Hawaii, and they were throwing her a wish reveal party to celebrate! We provided this cake complete with fondant waves, a tropical sunset, tiki carving, and gumpaste hibiscus flowers. So fun!
We have definitely had some unique orders over the last 8 years, and I can't wait to see comes next!
Hi! I'm Melisa
I am the owner, baker, designer, decorator and all around 'one woman show' of Sweet By Design, a home based, custom cake bakery which is located just outside of Dallas, Texas. I hope to shed a little light on the wedding and event industry and make your day a little sweeter!
Find us online