Custom Cakes 101: Who’s Who in the Cake Design World

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Today we’re thrilled to have Tessa from Tessa Lindow Huff Cake Design sharing all of the details about who’s who in the cake design world. Tessa breaks down all of the trends and shares her favorite custom cake designers.


Cake: Sylvia Weinstock

The trend of custom cakes has definitely hit its stride over the past few years. Sculpted cakes, elaborate sugar decorations, and three foot tall confections have become the norm. Whether it be a backyard wedding, children’s birthday, or an elaborate event, specialty cakes have become a huge component of any celebration. As a cake designer myself, I have a laundry list of artists and culinary geniuses to thank for paving the road of this custom cake phenomenon.

With the prevalence of cake challenges, cupcake competitions, and other sweet shows, television really got this trend rolling. With the television’s ability to reach the masses, more audiences became aware of what was really going on behind the closed doors of our kitchens and pastry studios. Networks such as the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, and TLC have opened up the consumer’s eyes to the possibilities of sugar as art. While Buddy and Duff have become household names, other familiar faces like the original “Sweet Genius” Ron Ben-Israel, the beloved Sylvia Weinstock, and the sugar queen herself, Kerry Vincent, have really made an impact in both the culinary and entertainment fields. There are so many others that have helped set this trend in motion for the rest of us. As a tribute, here’s a short “Who’s Who” in the cake design world:

Nicholas Lodge

Lodge is the founder of the International Sugar Art Collection in Atlanta. He teaches internationally, specifically at his sister school in Tokyo. I even had the honor of taking a class with him at the French Pastry School in Chicago a few years back.

Margaret Braun

Known for her elaborate Baroque-style, Braun creates cakes that are consistently found in print, film, and radio.  She uses a lot of hand-painted techniques with gilded details from her New York City studio. Still not impressed? She was even selected to make Chef Bobby Flay’s wedding cake.

Colette Peters

Peters started her design career for Tiffany’s & Co. in the 1980s. After one of her cakes made it into The Tiffany Wedding, her career as a cake artist skyrocketed. Known for her whimsical, over-the-top style, she was voted one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in the USA and was given the Trendsetter of the Year Award from Modern Bride Magazine.

Norman Davis

An ICES Hall of Fame inductee and Certified Master Sugar Artist, Davis is the co-owner of The Sweet Life with Zane Berg in Virginia. Not only is Davis a master of cake, but he is also well known for his work as a chocolatier.

Elisa Strauss

Strauss began her journey as a designer for Polo Ralph Lauren. After much praise for her Bugatti-shaped cake for Ralph himself, she was inspired to take her talent in the kitchen full-time. She currently owns Confetti Cakes, a custom cake boutique in NYC. She most recently helped develop the first ever walk-in cake decorating experience for children at Make Meaning.

Cakegirls – Brenda and Mary Maher

Over the past 10 years, these two sisters have been creating a name for themselves in Chicago and nationwide on programs like Food Network’s Last Cake Standing, Oprah, and Amazing Cakes.  After a tragic fire took down their cake studio a couple years back, they recently relaunched their website to include decorating tutorials, DIY projects, and an online store.


Cake: Elisa Strauss

The interest for the latest cake trends and innovative designs continues to grow. Cake designers are continually crafting new edible decorations and ways to incorporate art into dessert. Some new shining stars to watch out for include:

Cake and Desserts: Sweet and Saucy Shop

Jacqueline Butler

Owner of Petalsweet, Butler creates the most life-like sugar flowers and is now teaching lessons world-wide!

Anne Heap

Heat is the owner of The Pink Cake Box, which is now serving the New Jersey area with elaborate cakes and cute cupcake tiers.

Lori Hutchinson

The Cakestress herself! Her fashion-inspired, couture creations once brought her from Canada all the way out to Dubai to create a custom wedding cake.

Melody Brandon

As owner of Sweet and Saucy Shop in Santa Monica and a brand new location in Newport, Brandon and her work consistently graces pages on The Knot and various popular wedding blogs.

Amanda Oakleaf

Serving the Boston community daily, Oakleaf and her team recently created both a life-size Stormtrooper and Darth Vader – completely out of cake!

Sharon Wee

This designer hails from Australia and has reached our U.S. radar with her beautiful, chic cakes and toppers.


Cake: Anne Heap

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    1. Bellenza Bistro

      I am totally in awe of anyone (famous or not) who can design and produce such amazing cake creations! The wedding and party worlds wouldn’t be the same without them!


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