Fill me in: When it comes to cake trends, what’s hot and what’s frosted?

Photo: Rob Garland Photo: Rob Garland

After Kathy Watkins and her now wife moved to Orange, she decided to take a few months off from working before exploring the job market. “I got bored really fast,” she says, and when she saw a sign in a storefront for cake decorating classes, she signed up. “I come from a family of bakers and have a fine arts degree so things started falling into place,” she says.

She took Favorite Cakes full-time in 2012 and, since then, has gained exposure locally and nationally (last year Martha Stewart Weddings included her in its list of top pastry pros). We asked her to fill us in on what local brides are asking for this season.

Favorite Cakes' Kathy Watkins says brides are still fawning over floral cakes—fresh blooms especially. As for fondant, it provides a blank canvas and lends itself to plenty of possibilities, like elegant (and trending!) gold overlays (below). Photo: Tom Daly
Favorite Cakes’ Kathy Watkins says brides are still fawning over floral cakes—fresh blooms especially. As for fondant, it provides a blank canvas and lends itself to plenty of possibilities, like elegant (and trending!) gold overlays (below). Photo: Tom Daly

Flowers

Kathy says she’s made more sugar flowers this year than ever before, but fresh flowers (a more cost-effective option) are still the most popular choice with brides.

Frosting

While Kathy notes the appeal of fondant (“It’s a canvas with almost limitless creative opportunity…and we have several cake artists in Charlottesville [who are] exceptionally creative wedding cake designers”), most of her clients are looking for simple, textured frostings—soft swirls, ruffles, layers of frosting used like ribbons.

And what about no frosting at all? “Naked cakes may be very popular on Instagram but in reality I get very little interest for them,” Kathy says.

Photo: Sera Petras
Photo: Sera Petras

Color

Ombre is still in! Kathy says the technique—colored frosting blended from a light shade to a darker, very gradually—is popular.

And, back to fondant, gold accents are a hot item this year and, Kathy says, fondant lends itself beautifully to gold overlay.

Non-traditional cakes

Kathy is still doing cupcake weddings. “You can dress ’em up or dress ’em down—they taste so good,” she says. Typically, the bride and groom will ask for a small “cutting cake,” too, to make the more traditional first cut.

The bottom line? Says Kathy, “Find a nice fresh product that your guests will enjoy and talk about for months to come.”