Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Haywoods Wedding Cake

Happy Sunday! This week brings a wedding cake. Summer is my busiest season for weddings, bridal showers and baby showers so the next three weeks I have this type of wonderful celebration cake to share with you.

This cake is covered in fresh vanilla buttercream and then decorated with handrolled black fondant and free form hot pink royal icing flowers. Buttercream is hard to use in the summer. Heat melts it, humidity makes it harder to spread on smooth. But I use what is called a "high temp" buttercream recipe that, fortunately, tastes wonderful and stands up to heat. So far I've tested it up to 104 degrees! If any of you would like this recipe just let me know and I'll be happy to share it! Fortunately it wasn't that hot this weekend. We are enjoying a cooler summer this year and it was only 85 yesterday. That is wonderful weather for a backyard wedding!

Close up of rolled fondant and flowers

The second "secret" this week is the black fondant. Any caker will tell you that black, red, navy blue and purple fondant is the hardest to make. Black can be made with chocolate fondant that you have to add a bunch of black gell food coloring to but it doesn't taste very good and tasting good is as important as looking good! To make any of these vibrant colors you have to add a lot of food coloring which changes the taste as well as the texture of the fondant. Fortunately there are some companies that produce these colors and they taste pretty good too. Duff's (from Ace of Cakes) produces a yummy black fondant. It sort of tastes like a tootsie roll! It rolls out easily, goes onto a cake easily as well but it's not great for doing things like cake toppers. Because it's such a soft fondant you will need to add in a whole bunch of tylose in order to get it to dry up enough for a cake topper or other decorations that stand out from the cake. The other downside to buying your fondant is that it's very expensive. Duff's is available at Michaels and I always use one of their coupons to get it. They had a special 50% off coupon this week so I was able to get this for less than normal. I have another cake coming up soon that is going to need a lot of black so this was great timing for that coupon for me! Fondant, stored properly, can stay fresh up to 2 months and can be used for decorations up to 6 months. So this black fondant, though it was expensive, will be used up before the holidays.

Free form hot pink royal icing flowers

The flowers were pretty fun to do. I don't use a lot of royal icing. One batch will last me a month easily so this was a first for me. I am mostly self taught so off to YouTube I went to see how to make these. Now I get to pass it onto you! First you cover a hard surface, such as really thick cardboard or wood base, with parchment paper. Just tape the edges over to the back of your hard surface. Then mix up your colored royal icing. Put that into your piping bag with the tip you want to use and then cover that tip. Royal icing dries out VERY quickly. If you want to follow a pattern just print it out and place it under the parchment before you tape it down. Then just carefully pipe out the royal icing over the pattern lines. These flowers were supposed to be whimsical so I just jumped in and started piping. Remember to pipe at least double what you think you are going to need...triple if your tip is very small and your pattern delicate. You will have breakage. I piped out 30 knowing I'd need 14 and broke 3 of those. After piping let them sit for overnight to dry hard. Then, using a palette knife, gently lift them up off the parchement. You can attach them to the cake using more royal icing. In fact, if you cover the tip of your piping bag from when you piped your design out onto the parchment, and then seal that up into a ziplock bag, it will still be fresh for you to use for placing your royal icing pieces onto your cake.

Close up of the cake topper

As I mentioned, it's hard to get the black purchased fondant to dry up hard enough for a cake topper. So what I did was mix in a whole bunch of tylose powder, kneaded it well, and then formed my pieces. I made a center post with a dowel and covered it with the black fondant. I stuck that into a styrofoam block and let it dry. Then I rolled out the curli-ques and let those dry up over night. Even then I probably could have let them dry for another day or two to get really hard. I used royal icing that I had tinted black to attach the pieces to the center post and then let those dry for about an hour. Finally I added the royal icing flowers, placed it into the top of the cake and decorated with hot pink buttercream and candy pearls to match the decorations on the side of the cake.

The cake fit the black, white and pink color scheme perfectly and looked beautiful on the cake table for the event! Everyone thought it was just gorgeous. And that's a huge paycheck for a caker!

Next week brings cupcakes again and the two weeks after that bring two very different wedding cakes! Lots to share with you! See you next Sunday!


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