Marsala Wedding Cake

Marsala Wedding Cake

I had the complete honor of making this beautiful wedding cake for a friend. She let me have complete design freedom (any cake designers dream situation!) I knew I wanted to step outside of my box for this one so I experimented with some new techniques that I had rolling around in my head.

The result was a cake that I kinda fell in love with. It’s dark, mysterious, glamorous with a hint of natural beauty. I played around with contrast of shiny finishes and matte and used incorporated jeweled touches right next to natural.

Marsala is not the easiest color to achieve! Plus, it looks much lighter as you are working with it but as it sits, it deepens in color. To achieve this color, I started with red fondant. I then mixed in a little electric purple and then some black fondant until I achieved the richness I desired.

I have had this idea of creating a 3D geometric texture using gumpaste triangles for a while now. I hand-cut each triangle, let them dry overnight then brushed them with rolkom gold. I used black sixlet candies under the tips of each triangle to slightly raise it up from the cake. I experimented with a few different arrangements before I settled on this one. I also coated the black and marsala tier in a little corn syrup to give it a slightly shiny look.

For the top tier, I wanted to experiment with a hammered copper look or something almost like coral. It’s hard to say what my brain was thinking haha. I just kinda started going to town on the modeling chocolate with various sized ball tools until I liked the pattern and texture that was happening. I prefer working with Sweetastic modeling chocolate but you could make your own modeling chocolate too. I finished by brushing on more rolkom gold dust mixed with a little vodka.


My favorite part of the cake is of course the floral elements. I wanted the flowers to look like they where growing from within something like rocks. I used marvelous molds “swanky” brooch by Marina Sousa.  I love this mold! I used SimiCakes pre-made isomalt and added in electric pink americolor gel anda touch of royal purple to get this deep color of isomalt. I poured it into the mold and before it was completely set, pulled it out of the mold and gave it a little twist so that it would come off the cake in this organic fashion.

The dahlias are made from gumpaste. I use Nicholas Lodge’s gumpaste recipe and love it. I pre-colored this batch as I made it to save time. You can learn to make your own dahlias for free with my online Realistic Dahlia tutorial. 

  • Danee Kaplan

    STUNNING cake. I LOVE the color so much. The shiny marsala Isomalt broach pieces are to die for…but the dahlias are my favorite. Just stunning. Your work is always amazing but this is so special.

    • Elizabeth Marek

      Thank you so much :)

  • Sharon

    It’s gorgeous! I love the Marsala & the textured top tier really resembles hammered metal-the entire cake is very elegant without being overdone. I simply adore your work. I just received your book & it truly surpasses any/every other cake book I’ve ever had! I love how you really explain your ‘process’ behind the techniques, rather then just a regular ‘How to’ book. The Expert Tips throughout were a brilliant touch, you can tell much thought went into your book and I appreciate that as well as all your videos and various info on your site. You’re a wonderful teacher & artist. I look forward to joining the paetrons on Sugar Geeks.

    I do have a question about the top tier, you mentioned you used modeling chocolate to cover it. When covering a cake in MC do you use a combo (like 50/50 with fondant)? And did you simply do that since you planned on texturing it? I hope that makes sense. I guess I’m asking if there’s another reason you’d use MC over fondant to cover a cake tier (aside from blending seems, adding different texture, etc.)?
    Thank you!
    Sharon M

    • Elizabeth Marek

      Hey there! Glad to hear you are enjoying the book! I used modeling chocolate for the top tier because you cannot achieve this texture with fondant. The fondant would have just bounced back after applying texture from the ball tool. I paneled the top tier with 100% modeling chocolate so I could get that sharp look. Hope that helps!