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Love in the Air

Dallas pastry chefs present a flock of feathered cake toppers worth cooing about.

Birds of Paradise
Nothing says classic like black and white for bridal, says Corey Thomson, pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. “My baking style is simple and classic, and to me black and white speaks elegance,” he says. A pair of Iittala’s glass lovebirds from the Nasher Sculpture Center Store top this six-tiered cake, which is covered in black and white fondant. Birds and flowers, stenciled in black and white royal icing, carry out a lovebirds theme. “Something elegant in black and white needs a flavor like vanilla chiffon cake with dark chocolate ganache. If your bride is a chocolate lover, then do white buttercream on the inside,” he says. When it comes to toppers, Thomson’s brides have selected a wide variety of options, from fresh flowers to huge gum paste bows to a pair of 60-year-old bride and groom toppers handed down from mother to daughter. At The Ritz, Thomson’s specialty is pulling off elaborate events, and he specializes in wedding cakes and specialty desserts such as petit fours, cake balls and cake lollipops. A veteran of the food industry since he began working in his family’s pizza parlor in Wisconsin at age 14, Thomson started baking six years ago, honing his skills under chefs Bruno Davaillon and John Tesar at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, before coming to The Ritz-Carlton last year.

2121 McKinney Ave., 214.922.0200 

What an Angel!
Pastry chef and co-owner Chad Fitzgerald of The Cake Guys created a bird-themed fondant and buttercream cake to play off a pair of porcelain wings from Grange Hall, used as toppers. “Birds make me think of an organic feel,” says Fitzgerald, who designed a nest from grapevines dipped in chocolate. “It’s rustic, yet you get an elegance from the chocolate,” he adds. The blue color recalls the sky, while a bit of chocolate lace is Fitzgerald’s nod to the inner traditionalist. “She wants to be modern, but there’s that little part of her that wants lace,” he says. Fitzgerald, a recent contestant on TLC network’s The Next Great Baker, is seeing a surge in unconventional toppers. “Vintage is a key word these days,” he says, with some brides bringing in an heirloom topper that he updates with fresh flowers. Fitzgerald, who has been baking cakes since middle school, uses original recipes of his grandmother, Anna Conklin, including her recipe for buttercream icing.

3527 Oak Lawn Ave., 214.219.2253

Love Peck
An antique cloisonné vase in the shape of an exotic bird (courtesy Ceylon et Cie) inspired this show-stopping wedding cake by Frosted Art Bakery & Studio pastry chef Bronwen Weber. Featuring design elements from Scandinavia, Persia, India, Mexico and Morocco, Weber’s multicultural cake appeals to a bride who isn’t tied to tradition. “The pattern is almost like damask, almost like Moroccan tiles. We painted everything with 24K edible gold accents similar to cloisonné,” says Weber. The frilly red peonies are handmade from gumpaste. The flavor is Persian love cake, natch, with cardamom, rose water and orange zest. As for toppers, brides are “getting more and more creative with them,” she says. “For one couple, keys meant something so we put keys on top. Another bride collected tiny objects so we did a cake topped with typewriter buttons and other little things.”

1546 Edison St., 214.760.8707

Cakes crowned with family heirlooms or simply beautiful objects are more popular than ever. The topper can be anything of sentimental significance, such as a cloisonné vase bought on a trip together or a set of glass birds passed down from mother to daughter. For a modern look, a pair of porcelain angel wings represents love taking flight. How heavenly!