Sunday, July 25, 2010

Handpainted Sugarpaste Plumerias cascade over this three tier wedding cake. Lemon Chiffon Cake filled with Lemon Curd Buttercream as well as Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake filled with Raspberry Preserves were the choices of this Bride and Groom. Covered in Marshmallow Fondant over a layer of Vanilla Buttercream.

This past week was a busy one for me since it included a wedding cake. The theme was Hawaii and beaches and the flower of choice was yellow Plumerias. They were used on the tables as well as in the bouquets and hair decorations so, of course, they were needed on the cake as well. I spent over 15 hours handcrafting and painting 50 large and small Plumerias for this cake. This does increase the cost of your cake but the effect is priceless. Even the Groom was stunned by the cake and thanked me multiple times.

The cake itself is a favorite of mine. The Lemon Chiffon Cake with the Lemon Curd Buttercream is almost a signature cake for me and next in line is my Dark Chocolate Fudge so how lucky was I that the Bride picked out these two cakes to make up her dream wedding cake? Baking a cake such as this takes a lot of time. Each tier has two layers and each layer takes over an hour to bake so that means that there is about 8 hours of work that goes into just baking the cakes.

I often hear the question "why do wedding cakes cost so much". Well, here is a quick break down of this cake for you. First comes the designing of cakes for the client to look at and pick out the one sketch that fits her dream cake. Sometimes I don't get it on the first try when I sketch out four cakes and have to add or subtract or combine features from one cake to the next to create the final sketch of what their cake will look like in the end. In this case the Bride wanted Plumerias cascading down the cake on one corner...lots and lots of Plumerias. But I did get the cake with my first set of sketches and was able to make the final sketch which turned out exactly what they wanted. Then comes the making of the flowers. As I mentioned above I spent about 15 hours just making flowers, then another 8 just baking the cakes. Add in there the time needed to make the fresh fondant as well as fresh buttercream, lemon curd and raspberry filling and then add the actual construction of the cake (another six hours of work) and you have about 35 hours of work that went into the making of this cake. Lastly you need to add in the cost of ingredients to make the cake taste as wonderful as it looks and you may be getting an idea of why custom designed wedding cakes are so expensive. A lot of work goes into make your one of a kind creation that no other Bride and Groom will have on their cake table at their wedding. Your own personal work of edible art.

As an artist the payment reaches much father than what was printed on the check. To be able to take a design out of my heart and head and put it down onto paper and then create it in cake and sugarpaste is a thrill. Then I get to present it to my clients and the look on their faces, their reactions are the highest payment I could ever hope to recieve. It is the most wonderful feeling in the world to have your art delight another person..but especially on what is such an important day for your client. You get one chance at making it perfect for them and when you do it's an incredible feeling.

So once again I get to say Congrats to the Mr. & Mrs. and be proud to have presented them with their dream wedding cake. Quite the honor for me.

See you next week!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tiers of Chocolate Cake filled with Apricot Preserves
as well as tiers of Yellow Cake filled with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

This weeks cake was a special one for a friends 50th Birthday Bash. For this dear friend I wanted to make her something that would really WOW her on her special day. So this five tier cake idea was born. The Guest of Honor is definitely a "Bling" girl so I wanted to give her a lot of it on her cake. So each tier not only had edible gems but also "cake jewelry" which really adds sparkle to the whole cake. I made her a "chandelier" topper that also had cake jewelry hanging from it to top it all off. She was very very thrilled when I arrived with it today as they were setting up for her party.

As with every cake there is a secret to share and for this one it's the use of cake dummies for the black tiers of the cake. It was a way to add a lot of drama without making too much cake for the number of guests that were invited. They add structure to the cake as well making it a more sturdy construction than if I had used real cake to separate the larger tiers. So while the cake looks like it could topple easily it was, in fact, very sturdy from the top to the bottom.

This upcoming week brings two cakes for me. One is a 3D for a Mary Kay Consultant and the other is a wedding cake that I've been spending many of an hour working on over the past month. It requires 50 sugar paste flowers that cascade down the side. Now I get to make the cake that these flowers will adorn!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling
covered with handpainted Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant. All
embellishments are sugar paste and edible.

The project for this week was one where I had to prepare well in advance for the embellishments on the cake and some of those didn't work out so I had to also think fast on my feet. The cake itself went as smooth as butter. It was for a friends 40th birthday and, as such, was fun to make. My own design, my own choices and my own art project. Those are always lots of fun.

In making a tool box there are plenty of, old, what color, what size, what shape, what tools to embellish with and lastly what cake to make to under all of that. Well, I knew our friend loves chocolate so that was an easy choice and decided to use my death by chocolate cake recipe so it would be really moist and have a deep chocolate flavor. And just because you can never have enough chocolate I decided to top it off with dark chocolate buttercream for the filling!

The measuring tape took shape over about 3 weeks. From making and painting the box shape to making and painting the tape section and letting each step dry a few days after each adjustment. The hammer was a last minute creation because the tile snips I attempted to make just fell apart when I tried to glue them together in the end. Sometimes no amount of work on pieces for a cake can make those pieces into something that fits together and looks like it's real life counterpart. So I grabbed up some sugar paste and started moulding and shaping the hammer, trying to give the handle the look of real wood before painting it. Since I had not considered a wood look embellishment that meant I had to rethink the color of my old fashioned wooden toolbox. So instead of an Oak look, I decided to make it look like varnished Cedar instead. This way the hammer I hadn't planned on would stand out on the tool box. All of the silver embellishments had to be sculpted and then painted after they were dry. This is done with gell color and clear alcohol. The alcohol allows the gell color to go on very smoothly like paint and then the alcohol evaporates very quickly allowing the color to dry rapidly. On fondant this makes a wood effect very easy to achieve.

The Birthday Guy was really surprised and really happy with this cake. I usually get to taste the cake in pieces...cake top from trimming, a taste of the filling to make sure it's right, but this time I got to taste it in it's full form and it was a dark moist chocolate dream. The compliments from the guests were nice but how it made the Birthday Guy glow was priceless.

This upcoming week brings a 5 tier cake for a special 50th Birthday. Can't wait to share!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

White Chiffon Cake filled with Raspberry Buttercream
and covered with handpainted Vanilla Marshmallow
Fondant. All pieces are edible.

Happy 4th of July! I was lucky enough to deliver the cake posted above to a very pleased daughter. Her mom means the world to her and collects Muscial Jewelry Boxes so it was a given that her cake be the same thing.

Making this cake was trickier than you would think. It is 4 inches deep by 8 inches long by 6 inches high. This means the base is smaller than the height and whenever that comes into play you have to make your inside structure very stable to hold up the cake above or it will come toppling down or squish the cake below or both! For this type of design you have to make panels of fondant and then handpaint all of it once it is constructed. For this cake the top of the box is it's own little unfilled cake..enough for four. The bottom is a two layer filled cake topped with the buttercream "fabric" that you see poking out with the pearls. Inside the bottom cake is a set of dowels that sit up just a bit over the cake to hold up the top cake which has a cake board on the bottom of that so it can sit on the dowels and not the cake. Serving this cake is easy. Just remove the top cake, cut into four pieces and serve. Then with the bottom cake you would remove the dowels and simply slice it lengthwise down the center and then crosswise in 1 inch slices, giving you 1x2x4 inch pieces of cake. Perfect!

The fondant accent pieces have to be made a day or so in advance so they have time to dry a bit before placing on the cake. Most of them had to be painted with edible gold paint which also takes time to dry. So on "cake day" it's really a matter of covering the actual cake and then placing the dried/painted pieces onto the cake using a teeny bit of water as glue. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

This week brings a special birthday cake for a friend of ours who is turning 40. Our gift to him is a very special 3D toolbox cake...can't wait for him to see it at his party!

Have a great 4th!