Annapolis-themed wedding cakes that make a statement

In the past, wedding cakes fit a standard look: tall, multitiered and a dignified, stately white. Some were embellished with elegant, corded trim or flowers; others featured small figurines of a formal bridal couple atop the cake.

But, increasingly, to-be-wedded couples want a cake that reflects their personality, lifestyle and environment — and in this case, that’s Annapolis. No longer the exclusive domain of the groom’s cake, these creative confections pay homage to the Chesapeake Bay, the Naval Academy and other local themes in bridal style.

Julianne Brown, who co-owns Cakes & Confections Bakery Cafe with her husband Michael, noted the requests for unusual wedding and grooms’ cakes have increased in recent years, especially in the four years since the business moved from its former site on the Broadneck Peninsula to a busy spot on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.

The most unusual cake requests included a confection designed to resemble a basket of crabs, each handmade by Michael Brown with poured fondant. The “basket” was formed from rolled fondant, which was flattened and detailed to resemble wood, then tied together with more fondant.

Another cake was draped with myriad maritime flags.

“It was a lot of rolling and cutting of various colors of fondant,” Julianne Brown says.

It’s no surprise that Navy themes proliferate. Scores of recent Naval Academy graduates marry within a few days — or hours — of their graduations each year. Others return from overseas assignments to marry in the town of their alma mater. Those couples often request cakes sporting anchors aplenty, blue and white ribbon-like detailing, and nautical symbols.

Local bakeries are up to the challenge. The Honey Hive Bakery of Edgewater adorned one cake with a giant, gilded anchor. Another cake was molded in the shape of a large anchor embellished with smooth, silvery icing and dotted with rope trim and blue flowers with gold centers.

Imagery of the Chesapeake Bay turns up in cake form as well. For crabby couples, Cakes & Confections sprinkles their version of “Old Bay” spice over red fondant crabs nestled in baskets — it’s really crumbles of brown sugar.

Main and Market Catering in Annapolis festooned the sides of one cake with anchors and dancing crab images. Resting on the cake’s top layer was a pair of fuzzy, red fondant crabs. Each displayed a wedding band on the left claw; one wore a top hat, the other a wedding veil.

The Maryland flag also makes frequent appearances at local weddings; the familiar red, black, yellow and white pattern of the state flag wraps around cakes of all sizes. The more ostentatious designs, though, tend to appear on grooms’ cakes — a modern tradition that aims to incorporate the groom’s interests into the wedding.

That was the case with one area wedding: Next to a decorous white and pale pink patterned cake, Cakes & Confections placed a groom’s cake cut in the shape of the state of Maryland, emblazoned it with a Maryland flag print — and topped it with a tiny crab.

Another wild groom’s cake, this one by Honey Hive, was a ringer for a dish of shucked and sauced oysters on a bed of crushed ice. The oysters were molded from white chocolate, the sauce was poured fondant and the “ice” was rock candy.

Other themed cakes are a little more discreet, elegantly sprinkled with dancing candy starfish or shells. White and dark chocolate is also molded into crab-shaped candies and served alongside the cakes.

A charming cake, crafted by Fiona’s by The Cake Faerie in Severna Park, upended the staid image of the stiff bride and groom figurines. On a cake with a striped white and navy ribbon trim encircling each layer, the married couple on the topper embraced while standing in a rowboat.

The cake celebrated the nuptials of Jessica Tavasti and Brett Davis, a world champion team racing sailor, who married in September 2015 at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club on the Eastern Shore.

“We went to three different bakers before we found Fiona’s by The Cake Faerie,” says Tavasti. “We really wanted to do a nautical themed cake.”

Davis found the nautical rope used as trim on the cake, which matched the couple’s wedding colors of coral, navy and white. Tavasti found the blue and white striped ribbon and ordered the custom cake topper — complete with hair colors and skin tones to match the bride’s and groom’s — from the online retailer

“I still have it in our house,” she says.

Despite the unconventional cake choice, Tavasti and Davis stuck with one tradition: They froze and saved the top layer for a year, then ate it on their first anniversary.

And, like many couples before them, the newlyweds decided the cake was better on their wedding day.

“It was OK,” Tavasti says. “Going forward, we’ll just get a cake made fresh for each anniversary.”

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