This wedding cake was lovingly made for my sister, Denise, and her husband, Agustin Carrero on February 10, 2007. Their wedding and reception were held at the beautifully restored Cabrillo Arts Pavillion and Bath House in Santa Barbara, CA.

Denise and Agustin had decided the theme of their wedding would be "romantic elegance" because of the proximity to Valentine's Day. They had looked through numerous photos for some cake ideas and it turned out that they loved the stacked present look. The final design resulted in a variety of different shaped stacked "presents" covered in fondant "wrapping paper." The wedding colors of ivory, red and gold were incorporated into the design so as to maintain the feel of romance and elegance. The ivory wrapping paper was printed with various gold heart patterns. The ribbons and bows were painted gold as well with a single red ribbon. The topper is especially significant because it was designed to represent a present in the shape of a heart box which has been opened to reveal the gift of true love in the form of deep red roses. This also hints that perhaps the other boxes are also filled with red roses and they will have an endless supply of love in their relationship. Typically I don't put too much importance on cake toppers, but for this cake, the topper is actually the most important element.

Famous "Chocolate Blackout Cake" recipe by Margaret Braun.

Delicious ripe whole strawberries and vanilla italian meringue buttercream which match the wedding colors.

Vanilla italian meringue buttercream crumb coat with ivory white chocolate rolled fondant.

The bows, ribbons, boxes, and "wrapping paper" were hand painted with an edible "paint" made from equal parts gold sparkle dust and super gold luster dust mixed with lemon extract. The hearts on the bottom tier were made using a foam stamp. The ribbon on the heart box top was painted with a mixture of super pearl luster dust and lemon extract. The topper is made from a paper heart box covered in fondant, painted gold and filled with real red roses.

Between work deadlines, licensing exams and other cakes, I realized I was quickly running out of time for this very important cake. Luckily my family is full of awesome people who were willing to help out. A whole team of friends and family happily pitched in to help make the perfect wedding cake.

BLAKE and I were really equal team members on this cake. We both finalized the design the weekend prior and we both worked hard well into Friday night to fill, crumb coat and fondant the tiers so that we could both get a few hours sleep before decorating them in the morning. He even learned how to make italian meringue buttercream!!! And of course he was instrumental in setting up the cake at the venue, as usual. I was amazed at how positive he remained through everything while I was so cranky and tired. I can't quite express how grateful I am for all his help not only on this cake, but for all the ones in the past as well.

My sister, GAIL, was a lifesaver indeed. Without her help we wouldn't have gotten any sleep at all. She spent most of Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning beautifully painting the ribbons, bows and boxes gold. My uncle Dale's friend, PATRICIA, and the best man's wife, STEPHANIE, also helped paint bows and ribbons. Really, the only thing I painted myself was the stamped foam hearts on the bottom tier. I even had the bride, my sister, painting the bows for her own wedding cake !!!!

LEESL, the maid of honor and long time friend of my sister and the family, made all the flower arrangements for the wedding including the rose topper for the cake. The weekend before the wedding I tried to make a test-topper from the design I could so easily envision in my mind. However, I struggled with the disproportionate size of the large roses that I had bought at the grocery store to the petite size of the heart box that I had so carefully covered in fondant. I also wasn't sure about the best method to secure the roses in the box. So, I sought Leesl out for her vast flower arranging experience. With a brief description of the design idea and after searching florist after florist for half a day, she was able to create the perfect topper!!!

My cousin, Dale, and his wife, Audre, came early to the wedding venue to say hello and to watch the cake setup. They stressfully witnessed a near fatal fall of the top tier as I hurredly tried to stack the cakes so that I could go get dressed for the wedding. They said it was too stressful to watch, which I imagine was probably simliar to one of those cake shows on the food network.... I usually make two of everything for all the decorations, but not for the cakes themselves. Luckily there were no fatalities and as you can see, everything turned out A-OK !!!

It was really wonderful to have so many dear friends and family involved in the creation and design of this cake. It made this cake all the more special because of it. Many thanks to all of you who helped out !!!