A fanciful layered creation made by Yamir Pérez of Cake & Cakes.
PHOTO COURTESY CAKE & CAKES
The tradition of celebrating matrimony with cake dates back to ancient Rome. Naturally, the celebratory delight has transformed with the times. These days, bakers are eager to bake outside the blunt fondant lines and craft fanciful creations that not only commemorate love, but spark imagination.
Pioneertown-based Nicola Collie, who opened Picnic Baked Goods in 2021, has created a world of whimsy with her simple yet colorful cakes, often adorned with fresh flowers. One trend she’s noticed among requests from her couples is Lambeth piping, which lends a more traditional or vintage feel to the cake. “It’s a super fun aesthetic to put my own spin on,” she says. “I naturally gravitate toward a more timeless approach. … I don’t find inspiration in anything too neat or finished-looking. We eat with our eyes first, and I think that allowing those beautiful swoops of Swiss meringue buttercream to be seen and celebrated and to see the little vanilla bean specks in there only makes something more enticing to eat.”
Flowers are a go-to embellishment for Nicola Collie at Picnic Baked Goods.
PHOTOS COURTESY PICNIC BAKED GOODS
Of course, it’s not all about looks.
“People are really beginning to value high-quality ingredients,” Collie continues. “They understand how [the quality] affects the taste of the overall product. And more so than that, they’re wanting to support local, small businesses.”
Meanwhile, Yamir Pérez of Cake & Cakes, a home bakery in Cathedral City, escapes the ordinary with his artful creations that sometimes look nothing like actual cake (a delicate morsel of chocolate disguised as a heart-shaped jewelry box, a bite fashioned to look like a geode, diced berries and cream in the form of a whole dipped strawberry).
“I have seen people gravitate toward more fun and less traditional approaches,” observes Pérez, noting that he often spends hours to perfect his flavor pairings. “[Couples want an] element of surprise. Using products like ube and healthier ingredients like coconut sugar. Global flavors continue to rear their heads, and I believe this will continue to be of interest even more in [the year ahead]. And edible blossoms, which I have loved using from the beginning.”
Pérez releases a new collection of sweets quarterly, inspired by seasonal ingredients and the world around him. “I’m always excited to create more bespoke desserts, curated flavor profiles, and to continue to push the artistry and taste of dessert experiences. I’m having lots of creative fun.”
Cake & Cakes specializes in sweets that aren't exactly what they seem.
PHOTOS COURTESY CAKE & CAKES