Delicious Reads

I do, Round 1

Love is in the air and we can hear the wedding bells ringing; but this time, they are on the steps of the courthouse.  A courthouse wedding can be intimate and romantic without the lengthy planning and size of a traditional service.  And for many couples in Onslow County, a courthouse wedding is the perfect way to become husband and wife before – or between – military deployments.

Perhaps you’ll have a traditional ceremony later with your family, but for now, you want to make it official without hosting a big affair.  A courthouse wedding is a WEDDING!  So, with a little planning and a few special touches, your day can be just as celebratory and sharable as a church wedding.  Here are a few hints to help you pull off a simple celebration at the Justice of the Peace.

Love & License

In North Carolina, couples are required to obtain a marriage license before getting married.  Your marriage license can be from any county in North Carolina; it does not have to be from the county where you have your wedding.  In Onslow County, you can obtain your marriage license from the Register of Deeds Office at the Courthouse before your marriage date.  After you receive it, it’s valid for 60 days.  Both parties must be present, the license fee is $60 and you’ll need identification.  Don’t forget this one!  No license, no wedding.

A Dreamy Dress

Make your simple ceremony special by wearing a dress and having him wear a suit.  Just because you’ll be in the courthouse, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the dress!  Encourage guests you bring to wear appropriate wedding attire as well.  A dreamy dress and wedding-worthy attire will make for better photographs and fun memories.

Go Pro Photography

We’re not talking about a camera strapped to your head! Schedule a professional photographer to capture photos of your day.  Having a courthouse wedding eliminates some of the traditional expenses of a church wedding, so budget in a talented photographer who can take amazing photos.  Onslow County’s courthouse is nestled in downtown near parks and historic buildings, so it’s only a short distance to a great photo shoot destination before or after your ceremony.

Tiny Guest List

When it comes to the actual ceremony in the judge’s or magistrate’s office, there may be a limit on the number of attendees.  Inquire with the office and verify limits.  You’ll want to have 2 witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.  If you wish, you can also invite close friends and family to witness your vows.  The guest list is much smaller, but this intimate group can celebrate with you.

Skip the Bridal Party

It’s not necessary to have bridal parties for a courthouse wedding.  Having a maid of honor and a best man as your witnesses are all you need.  Take advantage of the smaller setting and reduced company to save on expenses and formalities.  This day is about a commitment to love, so keep the focus on your marriage and each other.

Reception? or Not to Reception?

Short answer, yes… or no.  This one is completely up to what you and your fiancé desire. There is no big expectation for a traditional reception or party. Some couples want to celebrate privately – and that’s perfectly fine.  Some couples host a small cake-cutting only. Others skip the big wedding expense and invest in a party with friends with a few more traditional touches.

If you want to host a celebration after your ceremony, be creative in how you celebrate with your friends and family.  You can rent a beach house and have your friends and family join you there to celebrate.  Cut the cake, have some fun and the two of you can slip away to your own accommodations when you’re ready.  You are free to create your own style and size of celebration.  From picnic to beach party to fine dining… it’s completely up to you.

Enjoy the one you love and the day you are married.  You’ve got a lifetime to build more memories.  For this day, plan the little details that will make it special for the two of you and your courthouse wedding will be perfectly suited to you.

Wedding Cake Style Forecast

Your wedding date is approaching, the dress is being fitted, the rings have been ordered, and the floral arrangements are planned to perfection.  It is cake time.  While a traditional, white, 3-tiered cake with tiny columns holding every ounce will forever be a timeless tribute to romance, we have spotted gorgeous cake trends emerging in 2018!  We love to think outside the proverbial cake pan and bring to each bride and groom a delicious and awe-inspiring cake.  We’ve collected our favorite styles to hopefully excite your imagination.

Marbled Cake

The natural stone of marble has moved from the counter top to the cake!  A marble design can be dressed up for an elegant, formal feel or dressed down for an earthy, bohemian wedding.  You can trickle your main colors into the design.

In this cake, marbled finish is combined with the geode cake trend, that has been popular in recent seasons.

Naked Cake

 Naked cakes are divine.  This style of wedding cake really shows off the craftsmanship of the cake, filling, and has a very natural, “back-to-basics” feel.

Naked cakes feature the colors of the cake itself and are usually adorned with natural elements like fruit or flowers.  This trend is staying strong in 2018 and 2019.




Gold Foils and Metallic Finishes

Gold foil and metallic finishes add a sophisticated aspect to a wedding cake.  Metallic foils come in gold, silver, platinum and copper.  In this cake, metallic sequins cover the second tier and gold ribbons adorn the top and middle layers. Gold foil can be added in clean sections or streaked into a cake’s design with a modern, edgy flair.



Painted Cakes

 We are simply in love with hand painted cakes.  From painted textures like this watercolor tier to full panoramic landscapes and painted flowers, this custom-painted wedding cake trend is wildly popular for its originality.  White icing is your blank canvas, and your cake becomes your very own work of art.



No matter what trend or tradition you’re eyeing for your wedding cake, contact our cake design team for help with planning for size, servings, and style.  We’re here to help.

Cookin’ Up Spring Specials

Spring is in full swing in Jacksonville, NC!  The bees are pollinating, Bradford pear trees are blooming, and American Dream Cake specials are hopping!

We have specials for your Spring occasions.

Easter Specials

Share and enjoy One Dozen Easter Cupcakes for only $19.95. 

Surprise the kids with an Easter Bunny Cake for $19.95.

More Spring Specials

Hosting a garden party, tea party or spring social?  Bring One Dozen Flower Cupcakes for $19.95 and you’ll be the toast of the party!

Looking for something other than a cupcake?  Who can resist a sugar cookie?  Bring home One Dozen Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles for $19.95 and make your entire family smile.

Don’t forget Saint Patrick’s Day!  This year, celebrate the Irish green with One Dozen St. Patrick’s Day Cookies for $24.95 or One Lb. of St. Patrick’s Day Tea-Cookies for $18.95.

Celebrate all the beauty that Spring can bring, and make sure your get-togethers have amazing sweets from American Dream Cakes.


4 Birthday Cake Trends to Love

  1. Drip Cake:
    Drip cakes top the trend charts across all celebrations, including birthdays.  Baked, stacked, and filled, these cakes are then professionally dripped in a liquid glaze of your choice.  The result is a delicious and unique pattern.While it may be featured in many DIY blogs, dripping a clean pattern takes practice and control.   All that’s missing is a candle.
  2. Candy-Filled “Pinata” Cakes:
    What are two of the best things you have at a birthday party? If you guessed piñatas and birthday cake, this trend is for you!  Baked as a whole cake, the center layers are hollowed out and filled with candies.  Popular for gender reveals, piñata cakes are making the scene at many birthday parties to the delight of the young (and young at heart).
  3. Create-Your-Own Dessert Bars:
    An interactive food station is fun for guests. Instead of a decorated cake, setup a DIY cupcake decorating station or a Donut Wall for guests to create their own tailored dessert.  Want to make it even easier on you?  Call us and order cupcakes with no frosting and you’re ready to go with delicious cake and your own decoration selections.
    Feel like adding even more personalization to your party?  Add multiple DIY stations at the party.  Try a DIY taco bar or ice cream sundae bar. Sure to be a unique addition to the party, Create-Your-Own dessert bars let everyone tap into their creative side.
  4. Buttercream is More and Fondant is less:
    There are still plenty of times that fondant is a great choice, but new trends are pulling away from it and back to – yes, buttercream!  Deliciously creamy and full of flavor, buttercream is making a big comeback in 2018.We’re seeing buttercream flowers and textured patterns.  Want even more?  Check out #5:   Cakes are being topped with a plethora of candy bars, pastries and even popcorn!   We love making birthday wishes come true.  If you have a birthday party or celebration coming up, give us a call.  Our cake designers are ready to make your unique birthday centerpiece!

5 House Favorite Picks

Over the years, we’ve had opportunity to create a wide variety of cakes for special events.  We’ve made custom creations for birthdays, reunions, weddings, military affairs and business events.  From cool to crazy, we’ve seen a wide range.  Here are a few select “house favorites” from the many event cakes we’ve designed.

3D 80’s Throw-back Cake

From bright colors to metallic finishes and edible printing, this 3D cake had it all!  We had a blast (from the past) creating this cake for a special event at the Montessori School in Jacksonville.

Hand crafted fondant game controllers and a 3D microphone decorated the Pac-Man inspired lower cake level.  A metallic disco ball and printed logo added fun flare atop a giant Rubik’s cube.

Marty McFly would be proud!

Edible 3D Tank

Another favorite from Team ADC, is a dimensional tank cake.  This cake was edible from top to bottom, interesting to sculpt, and the smiles from our customer made it even more fun.

Sitting atop edible “sand,” this tank boasts details for storage, lighting, and armament.  We tip our hats to those who serve and all those who love and support them.

Custom Sloth Birthday Cake

This 21st birthday cake was designed for laughs.  Stretched out lazily across the cake holding a beer can, this sloth takes her sweet time.

A USMC seal and wrench give nod to the day job of the recipient, but the joke is clear… she’s teased for not moving fast enough by her friends.

The detail work on the tree trunk base and hand-crafted sloth were fun for our cake designers, and the metallic wrench is edible, too!

Fairy Tree-House Cake

This one gets props in our team’s picks for attention to detail in the little things.

All edible, this little fairy house sports tiny flowers, mushrooms, pebbles and a wood-grain house and door.

Garnished with leaves, ivy and hand-crafted flowers on top, it’s magical in miniature!

The Grossest Cake Ever…

We get all kinds of requests for our talented cake designers, and this one was extra creep-y.

Sculpted from Red Velvet cake and airbrushed for realistic detail, this cockroach cake may show up in your nightmares.  From nose to tail, he was 12 inches long.

He was delicious, but it was hard to find an appetite for this one!

We love a challenge!  If you’ve got a creative cake challenge for us, we’d love to hear it!


Top 10 Gourmet Cupcakes You’ll LOVE!

We’re pretty well-known for our gourmet cupcakes.  Our die-hard fans love them for good reason!  There are over 100 flavors of our large-sized, filled, topped and garnished gourmet cupcakes.  They make life delicious every day.

10 most-LOVED Gourmet Cupcakes

The Dalmatian

Moist white cake is speckled with chocolate chips, topped with white mousse icing and mini chocolate chips and garnished with chocolate shards.  It’s the perfect polka-dotted blend of vanilla and chocolate.  Enjoy 1 or 101, they’re that good!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

Fresh chocolate cake with a strawberry preserve filling, topped with chocolate buttercream & a chocolate covered strawberry on top.  What’s not to love?!


Moist chocolate sponge cake is filled with rich chocolate fudge, topped with chocolate mousse icing and pecans, brownie crumble, & fudge drizzle.  A crowd-pleaser, Death-by-Chocolate is a layer upon layer of chocolate experience.

Over the Andys

This fresh mint-chocolate twist might take you by surprise.  Our delicious fresh-baked chocolate cake is soaked in mint liquor then it’s filled with a mint-vanilla crème filling, topped with a mint infused whipped icing & mint candy crumble.  Feel the mint.

Black Forest

Fresh devil’s food cake is soaked with a Kiersch (cherry) liquor, the center contains cherry puree filling, and it’s crowned with whipped topping, a cherry and chocolate curls.  Get lost in the Black Forest… and you won’t care if anyone comes to your rescue or not.

Carrot Cake

Moist and flavorful carrot cake baked with walnuts and raisins, then topped with traditional cream cheese frosting & a buttercream “carrot” garnish.  The carrot cake gourmet cupcake has just enough spice to keep you coming back for another bite.


You’ve died and gone to coffee heaven.  The Tiramisu Gourmet features white sponge cake soaked in an espresso liquor, vanilla coffee crème filling, whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder and a chocolate medallion garnish.  Oooooh, yes!

Orange Dreamcycle

A grown-up version of the childhood favorite, the Orange Dreamcycle is orange-infused sponge cake with sweet vanilla crème filling, orange colored whip swirl and a white chocolate orange garnish.


Here’s to a balanced life that’s delicious.  Chocolate and vanilla-marbled sponge cake contains rich chocolate fudge filling and is topped with chocolate fudge & vanilla buttercream swirl and crowned with an icing pearl.  A delightful twist of chocolate and vanilla flavors!


Pour a cup of cake!  The Mmmocha Gourmet cupcake is another delectable pairing of chocolate and coffee.  Fresh chocolate cake is soaked in coffee liquor and filled with rich espresso crème.  It’s all topped with chocolate-coffee mousse icing and a patterned fudge garnish.

Did your favorite make the Top 10 cut?  Give your favorite flavor a shout out below.

Romantic Vow Renewals

Your wedding anniversary is a time to reflect on the love you share and the journey you’re taking together.  Sometimes gifts fall short when you’re expressing your love for your spouse. This year, a romantic way to honor your marriage and love might be to renew your promise to love and cherish each other.

Vows are an important part of every wedding ceremony. You can recite the same vows you originally made at your wedding, or choose to make it even more personal by writing your own updated vows together.  Some couples mix a little of the traditional vows in with some of their own. It’s about the two of you, so make it your own.

Not sure where to start with renewing your vows? Here are a few hints to you get started:

  • It’s important to understand that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do a vow renewal or reaffirmation. It is completely up to you and your spouse.
  • There is never a wrong reason to have a renewal ceremony. Some couples renew to reaffirm their love to each other as often as every year – others may have a renewal ceremony after a rough patch in their marriage – while many renew their vows after a substantial amount of time has passed such as the 20th or 50th-year milestone.
  • To invite guests….or Not? This is a personal decision and can be romantic either way. A renewal ceremony with guests can be great. This gives you the opportunity to profess your love to on another in front of those you love and then celebrate afterwards. At the same time, intimate can be very romantic.

Picture just the two of you, the minister, and a breath-taking view. This intimate option allows a memorable, romantic experience.  With no guests, there’s no one to make happy but the two of you.  After the ceremony is complete, you and your spouse can enjoy entertaining no one but each other.

  • What should I wear? Today, what the bride and groom “should” wear during a ceremony is very personal, so don’t stress over tradition during your renewal. The bride doesn’t have to wear white. The groom doesn’t have to wear a Tux. What you wear may be influenced by the type of ceremony you plan to have. If it’s a family affair with wedding parties, you may want to wear formal attire. If it’s just the two of you, you may wish to wear more casual dress – especially if you’re on the beaches of an all-inclusive Jamaican getaway. In either case, the bride may consider wearing her wedding gown again. In addition to the sentimental value it holds – it’s always good to get a second use out of that expensive dress!
  • To Write my Vows or Not? Having a vow renewing ceremony doesn’t necessarily mean you must write them yourself. You can recite traditional vows after a priest or minister.

Should you decide to write your own, you have the opportunity to express your love directly from your heart. Not sure what to say or feel you are not the best with words? There’s help for that! You can research wedding vows online and customize them as you see fit.  It’s easier to start with something than nothing. Here are a couple vows to get you started:

  • I see these vows not as promises but as privileges: I get to laugh with you and cry with you; care for you and share with you. And most importantly, love you every single day.
  • You make my joys greater, my sorrows more bearable, and my spirit known. I promise you nothing less than the rest of my life. This is what I mean when I tell you I love you every day.
  • Because of you, I laugh, I smile, I dare to dream. Each day, I look forward to sharing my life with you, caring for you, nurturing you, being there for you. I promise today, as I did on our wedding day, to love and cherish you through whatever life brings.

More vow suggestions.

If you have a photo of your wedding cake, the cake designers at American Dream Cakes can make a small replica of the cake or cake top for your vow renewal ceremony.

Taking the time to renew your promise to love and cherish your spouse demonstrates commitment.  There’s nothing more romantic than a time-tested commitment to love, honor and cherish each other.



Romantic Evenings for Dummies

Sometimes finding Valentine’s Day inspiration can be difficult, and for the Valentine Vets, the same glass of wine with dinner and a rose can seem played-out.  We want to help.  Here are a few inspired alternatives to the average box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day.

  1. Get Personal on a Blackboard– Store bought items with cheesy sayings can get old.  Custom is best and that’s where blackboard comes in handy. Pick up a mug or other blackboard product at a local crafting store and write something lovely and specific for your valentine.  Want bonus points?  Have it ready when they wake up!   Serve fresh coffee, a favorite breakfast food and your message of love.  It’s a great way to spend the morning.


  1. Think Outside the Roses- While flowers are lovely, they are often expected and can fade fast.  Instead, tickle the senses of your sweetheart with gourmet sweets. Chocolate covered strawberries are a universal treat, and they still have the beauty factor! Need help?  We’ve got a variety of Valentine’s Day sweets for your sweetheart:
  • Half dozen large chocolate covered strawberries
  • One dozen large chocolate covered strawberries
  • 4-pack of gourmet cupcakes

Image AmericanDreamCakes

  1. Video Top Ten- Almost everyone has a smart-phone with mobile video capability, so why not use this to surprise your valentine with a Video top ten of everything you love about them. Make the list before hand, and throughout the day, record a short video of yourself saying the items on that list. This shows your valentine that you think of them throughout your day.  It’s creative, personal and shows forethought.  A+


  1. Visit a Wildlife Rescue- This one is unconventional, but for animal lovers this date idea is unique and memorable! What pulls on the heart strings more than those cute little animals? Be sure to plan ahead and bring a small gift for your valentine that says “I love spending time with you.” Perhaps, written on a blackboard.  (hint, wink)

  1. A Beach Picnic- Sometimes the over crowded restaurants are daunting, but since it is mid February, the beach is empty. Obviously, wind chill and weather conditions are factors, but setting up a nice blanket and eating with your valentine will be special especially if it is just you two, the sound of waves, and the sun setting. A fire is a nice touch and will keep you warm. Just check local beach regulations first.

Image Daria Shevtsova

  1. Staycation- This one is great for couples who are parents! There’s no need to go far, far away. Book a king suite at the best hotel in your town.  Enjoy the heated pool, jacuzzi, room service, and don’t forget to bring your chocolate covered strawberries from American Dream Cakes.  This idea is great to just get away without going away.  Turn off the phones, turn down the lights and enjoy romantic time with your valentine.

A New Year, A New Look

At American Dream Cakes, we strive for something greater every day.  We aim for excellence – from our fresh ingredients, original cake designs, and personal service to our commitment to make a difference in our community.  It’s not just a cake… it’s a dream cake.   It’s not just a business, it’s an American Dream.

We’ve recently been working on upgrades to our bakery.  If you haven’t stopped by in a while, come see what’s new!  A new stone wall has been installed (seen in photo above) to add warmth and texture to the front area of the bakery.  It creates an earth toned backdrop for our beautifully designed cakes and other baked items that are displayed in brand new European-style bakery cases.

We’ve added a fresh coat of paint, new decorating tables to create your dream cakes on and a few other little touches to make your experience in our bakery even more delicious for the senses.  In March 2018, American Dream Cakes will reach its 17th anniversary.  That is 17 years of flour, sugar, eggs… and love.  We love making life delicious.  In this new year, we appreciate you – our customers –  and we’re stepping up our game to enhance your experience in the bakery! Thank you to everyone who has chosen American Dream Cakes over the years.  We can’t wait to see you again.  Stop on by and see our updated look.

I Do 2: Planning Your Second Wedding

Getting married for a second time is a beautiful thing.  No one is too old, or too late to find their happily ever after.  We all love second chances, and in romance… sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered.  Planning a second wedding can be as simple or extravagant as your tastes desire, but you’ve done this once before.  Here are a few tips and tricks to help you say “I do” this time.

Wear White
Today is not the olden days.  If your heart so desires, wear a white dress.  White is symbolic of purity for many, but it’s also synonymous with weddings and the commitment you’re making today.  So, feel free to look like a snow princess.

Or Don’t Wear White
Who cares if it’s a white dress!?  This is your [second] wedding, do what you want.  Wear off white, hot pink or neon green.  Show up in a denim dress…well maybe not that one, but, this time, make it more about you and less about tradition alone.

Creative Registry
At this point in your life, you probably have enough dinner ware to last forever, but your guest will probably still want to get you something.  Keep your registry creative and maybe add all the things you’ve wanted.  A luggage set, an espresso machine, tube amp turntable, or skiing equipment.  Be creative.  Use your imagination.

Don’t Count on Mom and Dad

We’re not saying your parents don’t love you, but if they footed the bill for the first wedding, they might not chip in this time.  You’re older, wiser and more independent.  That applies to financing the wedding, too.

Do Get a Cake
This is one tradition it’s hard to skip.  People want cake.  Guests want to admire it.  They want to see you cut it.  Cake is expected.  There are new trends in wedding cakes, though. Mini-cakes, cupcakes, naked cakes, and even tarts and pies.  Explore styles in our gallery and online to see what works for you and your groom.

Don’t Invite the Ex
Enough said.

Blend the Family In

This is important and fun.  Often in second weddings, families are blending.  Each family has its own set of traditions, expectations, and experiences.  Have fun involving family members in little ways, but don’t lose sight of the fact that this is your wedding.

If minor children are involved in the blending of two households, involving them can create a memory for the rest of their lives.  Give each child a small role they are capable of playing successfully.  Don’t stress them out on the big day, but include them in a sincere way.  They may be a flower girl, ring bearer, read a scripture or a poem at the reception, or even a member of the wedding party.  Help them be part of establishing a new home together.


Throw a party!  Your reception can be formal, casual, intimate or a little on the wild side. This is a renewal, a second chance, a fresh start, — so celebrate it!  Get a band or a DJ to help you celebrate this new chapter of your life with your new family and new spouse.