RBI cake collage RBI cake collage Two of Ron Ben-Israel's most detailed wedding cakes. (Photo: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes)

8 of the most elaborate wedding cakes

The meticulous works of talented designers, you almost don't want to eat these beautiful creations. ... Almost.

It all starts with batter (which we're not supposed to eat, but always do). It ends with a sprinkle of glitter, a fondant flower, a ribbon — and finally, the cake toppers. Everything that happens in between is the painstaking process that produces wedding cakes that seem as though they belong in a display case, not on your plate. 

For famous cake designers, there is no room for error. We've spoken with renowned Israeli pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel, Food Network host and owner of one of the most well-known bakeries in New York City, about his transition from ballet dancer to go-to baker for high profile celebrities, trading one demanding career for another — and clearly, it has worked in his favor. Because of its deadline, a wedding cake has a sense of finality — undercooked cakes, last minute crumbles and icing mess-ups have no place in this competitive business. 

"We start planning well in advance, sometimes more than a year ahead for the reception," Ben-Israel told From The Grapevine. Details about everything from the wedding's location and decor to the dinner menu go into conceptualizing designs. "Each event is special, but a wedding sends a spiritual, social and stylistic message about the couple," he explained. "I try to capture all the elements that make them a couple and celebrate their new entity with a single cake." 

So, how do great chefs accomplish such feats of artistry? If you've ever seen cake baking competitions televised, you know that patience, technique and fastidiousness are all involved — but perhaps the greatest quality a cake designer can have is flexibility. In a world where so many things can go wrong, knowing how to improvise is key. 

Performing well under pressure can save a couple's wedding day or even win a gold medal. With time being of the essence, Ben-Israel gets ahead by making decorations in advance. "We have only 24 hours to work on a fresh cake, so I mobilize numerous chefs and artisans to cooperate on each project," he said.

Fondant, that sugary canvas. Sugar flowers, so delicate and yet realistic. Patterns, carefully pulled from molds or hand-drawn. Ribbons, beads, jewelry... so many components go into making these incredible treats. With all that in mind, take a moment to appreciate some of the most impressive wedding cakes the industry has to offer:

Flowery RBI cakeA flowery wedding cake from RBI Cakes. The pastry chef says a jasmine-themed cake stands out in his memory as the surface was covered with 1,500 cut-out blossoms and topped with 300 hand-shaped flowers. (Photo: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes)

Sylvia Weinstock cakeSylvia Weinstock is known for her detailed, 3D decorations. (Photo: Monika Graff/Getty Images)

Cake with roses and butterfliesThis cake comes complete with its own garden. (Photo: Tamara Polajnar/Flickr)

Platinum cakeWorth over $25,000, this cake produced by the Platinum Guild International at the Takashimaya department store in Tokyo is made with platinum jewelry. (Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Flooral cakesThe designers at Sweetface Cakes have an eye for floral details. (Photo: sweetfacecakes/Flickr)

Royal wedding cakeWilliam and Kate's royal cake was designed by Fiona Cairns, costing a total of $80,000. (Photo: Lewis Whyld/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

RBI blue accented cakeAnother of Ron Ben-Israel's intricate creations, featuring vibrant hues of blue and gold. (Photo: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes)

Through it all, detail-oriented chefs like Ron Ben-Israel keep a positive attitude. Sure, a lot of work goes into it, but as Ben-Israel says, "ultimately, there is a lot of magic happening, which is beyond description."

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