Rustic…simple and charming
It is thought by many who come for consultations that when they don’t want buttercream-iced cakes it’s because they’re not smooth. It’s one time we’re pleased to tell someone they’re wrong while we proceed to show them pictures of buttercream cakes that we’ve made, and then get to hear, “that’s buttercream?” What people are often thinking of is the style that we call “rustic.” Now, there are also many who come in and know exactly what rustic is and that’s what they want. So what is rustic? By definition, rustic means “having a simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside,” which in terms of icing cakes used to mean “looks homemade.” But as with most cake decorating, we’ve come a long way from just that “not perfect” look. We like to focus on the simplicity and charm part of the definition because it really seems that that is, and should be, the main focus of the design scheme behind wanting a rustically iced cake. A couple weekends ago, the majority of our orders were rustically iced, and their charm became the inspiration behind this post.
The, dare I say smallest, cake was this 2-tier with fresh, deep plum-colored ranunculi. One of the so-called tricks for rustically iced cakes is that they often have a pattern; you just have to find it. A couple brought us in a photo of a style that they liked and it was up to us to mimic it. In this case, the pattern was like a horizontalo swooshing (and no, that is not a technical term!) using a spatula. This delicate little cake sat upon a glass stand provided by the couple and we made a sugar replica of their monogram, which, as you might notice was in other decorations around the reception.
This set of cakes was unique in the sense that the couple wanted their 2-tier covered in fondant while wanting the other cakes rustically iced. That’s totally fine, so we kept it clean and simple by added a fondant band at the base of each tier. Their cakes were a mixture of soft ivory tones with oranges so the trick was combining all of their ideas in a cohesive manner. The cake on the left is iced in buttercream rosettes, which isn’t a traditional rustic style but has grown in popularity. The cake on the right is iced in what we call “horonically” styled…honestly, we just got tired of calling it horizontally rustically iced because we do it a lot (and love it!) and it got too long to say. To add some color to both this cake and the 2-tier, we added some sugar peonies in deep oranges and reds to pull it all together.
As in the first photo, these cakes were another trio for a wedding where the whole theme was fall/farm. The couple’s design scheme was wanting their cakes to look similar to the flavor. Therefore, the chocolate cake, filled with chocolate buttercream, was drizzled with a rich dark chocolate glaze. The center cake, an apple butter spice cake filled with caramel buttercream, was decorated to mimic a caramel apple so it was iced in vanilla buttercream (horonically) with some toasted crushed walnuts up the sides. It’s finally topping was a layer of caramel and of course a wooden stick! And last but not least is the classic buttermilk cake filled and iced (again, horonically) with vanilla buttercream. To keep with the fall/farm theme we decorated this cake with small sugar maple leaves in fall tones of yellow, green, orange and red dusted with golds and browns. Delicious looking and tasting!
This cake does represent a more classic rustic style where it’s “spatula-marked,” but it’s been updated to look more, yes, swooshed…and intentional. In other words, there’s no question that we tried to make this pattern. And that’s truly the difference with rustic now as opposed to the original consideration where it was more like someone tried to make it smooth but couldn’t quite get all the way there. All of our rustic cakes start as smooth and then we create our pattern. This couple wanted their simple cake to be decorated with fresh succulents and their beautiful wood carved bride and groom topper. Sitting atop a wooden wreath, this wedding cake truly fit the charming rustic feel of the wedding. Inside was the delicious apple butter spice cake with caramel buttercream. All in all, a lovely ending to our rustic weekend.
One of the beauties of rustically iced cakes is their versatility for other decorations and we can’t wait to see what comes up next!