Wedding DIY: Cake

by Amy Azzarito

This is the last DIY post from our Design*Sponge Fall Wedding shoot at Terrain. And this a good one! We asked Emily Lael Aumiller of Lael Cakes to come up with a cake decoration DIY. Lael Cakes is a Brooklyn-based boutique cake studio (just around the corner from the Design*Sponge offices) Emily specializes in cakes that are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. She is amazingly talented pastry sculptor – she apprenticed with Sylvia Weinstock and Eric Bedoucha of Financier Patisserie before opening her own studio. Emily invited us into her studio to show us how to recreate this look ourselves.

Thank you again to all our friends at Terrain, our wedding models, Brian Sullivan, Melissa Moy and all the talented people who helped us –   Lael Cakes, Sullivan Owen, and Ginny Branch Stelling. And a big, big thank you to our amazingly talented photographer – Jorge de la Barra of da la Barra Photography, who traveled with us from Brooklyn to Philly.  He’s also giving away a free engagement session photo shoot in NYC!  So if you’re in the NYC area (or are willing to travel here!), definitely enter the contest today at 3pm over at Style Me Pretty.  (After our six-hour car trip, I think we’d all say that he is definitely a fun guy, in addition to being a talented photographer – so you’ll have a great time!)   –Amy

Design*Sponge Fall Wedding DIY Projects


(If you’d like to learn more advanced cake decorating techniques, Lael Cakes Workshop is scheduled for November 23 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. All the details are here.)

All photographs by de la Barra Photography



See the full how-to after the jump!

Berry Wreath Topper Materials Needed

Step 1: Make a hook at the end of the wire with pliers

Step 2: Take a small piece of gum paste and role into ball

Step 3: Wet the end of your hook in a water-cornsyrup mix


4) Place gum paste ball on the end of the hook

Step 5: Allow to dry for 48 hrs to a week.

Step 6: With brown floral tape attach the ball together forming a semi circle, repeat to make 2.


Step 7: Place on either side on the top of the cake to make a beautiful berry wreath!

Berry Applique Materials Needed

  • small brush
  • xacto knife
  • cornstarch (I like to put it in a cotton-muslin bag for dusting)
  • rolling pin
  • small circle piping tips
  • water-cornsyrup mix (the ratio is 2:1)
  • maroon gum paste (gum paste + color)
  • wet tea towel wrapped in plastic wrap

Step 1: Dust surface with cornstarch

Step 2: Roll the gum paste out until thin

Step 3:  Cut out small circles in a variety of sizes with the pipping tips. pic-28
Step 4: Place the circles on the wet tea towel wrapped in plastic wrap to keep from drying.

Step 5: With an xacto knife cut out thin organically shaped lines and leaves.


Step 6: Place shapes on tea towel to keep from drying.


Step 7: Brush shapes lightly with water-cornsyrup mixture

Step 8: Apply to cake. Allow shapes to keep an organic form to look natural.








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  • I actually think that unless you have a good amount of prior cake experience that this is an advanced how to and is hard. Just setting the cake layers and making the fondant appear to be smooth and not torn is not an easy thing. And this is before you even get to the part about the topper and decorations. Too bad you didn’t mention this in the dyi. I would hate to be the bride whose friend that “can bake” decides to do this for a wedding present without realizing what she is getting into.

  • This is gorgeous, and a fun read. But while I’m fairly crafty, I would never undertake making my own wedding cake. egads. Might try some of these elements for a nice fall dinner party cake tho.

  • I second that, Beth! While the “decoration” might be that hard, getting the cake to look like that is not an easy DIY by any means. I have made wedding cakes before; and to get a cake that tall, you need MANY layers… Which means many days of baking if you are doing it in your own kitchen. And fondant is notoriously difficult to work with if you are a first timer.

    My advice; get yourself to the grocery store and have them make the cake – even Walmart does fondant cakes in some areas. Then decorate away. :)