The Butter End Shares Its Approach to Artistic Wedding Cake Design

A slice of artistry takes shape from inspiration to reality with this conversation with Kimberly Bailey.
Written by
Lara Burnap


California Wedding Day Spring/Summer 2024

Kimberly Bailey, artist and owner of the renowned cake studio The Butter End in Los Angeles, opened her business 13 years ago and has been a regular on Food Network as both a judge and featured talent. She and her small team of artisans specialize in bespoke confections that range from chic two-tiered buttercream beauties to grand works of art. No matter the design, the main ingredient in every cake is the client. “For me, the design process is about finding out who they are as a couple and what is the vibe of the event,” says Bailey. Consequently, a tasting with The Butter End is also a collaborative session during which Bailey discovers what makes each person unique. “Any decent cake decorator can replicate a cake from a photo on Instagram or Pinterest,” explains Bailey. “At The Butter End, you have the opportunity to design a custom work of art.” And inspiration can come in any form: art, architecture, bridal dress lace, wedding mood boards, the invitation and more. Says Bailey, “I want to learn your style, your humor, your vision.”

The great thing about a wedding cake is that it can be a moment in and of itself, a commissioned work of art.
— Kimberly Bailey, The Butter End

Movement and nature are the tours de force behind this design, with hundreds of individual sugar leaves strewn together and swirled around this spectacular cake. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Bailey.
This tasty piece of contemporary art is textured with wafer and rice paper, and balanced asymmetrically on a custom (real) rock plateau. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Bailey.
Courtesy of Kimberly Bailey.
Courtesy of Kimberly Bailey.

This design was inspired by a butterfly sculpture that is a well-known piece of art in the clients’ Laguna Beach home. Because they were getting married at their residence, the couple envisioned the artwork being incorporated into their cake. Bailey took inspiration from the home’s clean, modern lines and textured, white-tiled walls to create a tall, narrow cake with an etched face. The butterfly adornments were handmade with tempered chocolate and given a patina finish.

Jose Villa
Jose Villa

The bride, who is an artist, created a floral watercolor that was used for the invitation and throughout the wedding. “As soon as I saw her art, I envisioned a two-dimensional watercolor design that came to life as if the flowers were growing out of the cake, in the form of realistic sugar flowers,” says Bailey. “The base of the cake is a deep green moss made of sugar, and every petal is handcrafted.”

Courtesy of Kimberly Bailey