The Art of Wedding Cake Sugar Flowers

The life of the man behind your wedding cake


The life of the man bhind your wedding c

Meet your Wedding Cake Sugar Flower Artist

Article by Sahara Bohoskey

Photography by Rachel Gurjar and Sahara Bohoskey
Let's face it, everyone loves cake. We love the symbolic nature of it, because more often than not, cakes are are the centerpieces of any major life chapter -- birthdays, graduations, weddings. Our friend, Daniel Colonel is the master of making your vision come to life, particularly for your wedding or civil partnership ceremony. Not only does he bake your magnificent sponge but he molds, shapes and dusts the most exquisite, purely life-like florals -- which is why we asked him to come to FeedfeedBrooklyn to shoot a video showing his process, but we also wanted to pick his brain a little on what it means to be a full-time confectionery artist.

Q: So you went to CIA, with a concentration in pastry, studying under renowned chefs such as Betty Van Norstrand. Were you interested in wedding cake/wedding cake decoration before, or did learning from the master light an inspired fire under you?

Daniel: I think I have always been interested in baking and pastry for as long as I can remember. I knew going into CIA, I definitely wanted to specifically learn about wedding cakes and confectionery arts. During my time at school, I was lucky enough to learn from the most amazing chefs and I loved every minute of it! However, when I took that weekend sugar flower class with Betty during my first year, that was definitely the moment I felt like “this is what I should be doing.” After that, I did whatever I could to learn more and improve my craft in anything related to the confectionery arts.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to work in pastry? Do other people in your family also work in the culinary industry? 

Daniel: Yes! Growing up, I can remember playing with this puzzle of a kitchen with a chef in the middle of it all the time, always being curious with how different desserts are made, playing with my food and savoring every bite, and watching The Food Network every day after school. Not to mention, I had quite the sweet tooth. Compared to the rest of my family members, I am definitely the odd one out. My dad and brother work in finance (at least I think they do), my mom works in a school, and my sister is a teacher. However, my sister and brother-in-law are really great cooks and I am hopeful that they will eventually work in food. Being the only one who makes desserts though, I always know what to bring to family gatherings!

Q: What are your favorite sugar flowers to create? 

Daniel: This is a tough question, but with the risk of sounding cliche, roses. When I am at Nine Cakes in flower production mode, I always get very excited when I make roses. If time was not a factor, then I would say a succulent. I love dusting them, I find it so therapeutic and rewarding.

Q: You competed on Food Network's "Cake Wars.” Do you feel like working under that kind of pressure is the same as or different than creating a wedding cake for someone’s special day? I’d imagine the pressure is quite intense both ways!

Daniel: Preparing for “Cake Wars” was definitely very stressful! Recipe testing, practicing skills, timing yourself, pulling all-nighters, going to Home Depot and buying things you’ve never heard of; yes, very stressful indeed. During the filming and actual competition part of it, the cameras and the time factors definitely add stress and pressure, but I tried my best to have fun. However, when I am making a wedding cake, this is for a couple’s special day! I cannot serve something that is not up to my standards. So that may mean re-baking some cakes that were messed up, or making extra flowers in case some flowers break during transit, or working long days and nights. The couple will always remember their wedding and I want to make sure it's perfect.

Q: How far in advance do you make the sugar flowers? Let’s say for a classic 3 tier wedding cake with decorations on each tier. 

Daniel: It is definitely smart to work ahead! Ideally, I would make the flowers at least a week in advance and have them tied and dusted. That way, the week of, all I have to worry about is the actual cake and I can put my focus on that.

Q: Ok time for some words of wisdom. What would be three tips for someone who is looking to make it in the pastry world for the first time?

Daniel: Stay humble and hungry (and caffeinated). There is always more you can learn no matter what. Try and learn from as many people as you can, especially when you are starting out. (Drink coffee.)

Be inspired - go to museums, read cookbooks, experiment different techniques, etc. 

Take care of yourself - it is very easy to burn yourself out from the long hours, being on your feet all day, and just overall craziness; but remember your physical, emotional, and mental health. Remember to do something unrelated to food like read, work out, or just relax!

Thank you Daniel Colonel for sharing your story! Want to be featured next? Share and submit your recipes and save other people's recipes when you register on the site. As a registered user on you can also submit the image & recipe directly on your profile page for a more direct connection to our editorial team for future social promotion and in our weekly Meal Plan Newsletters!