Happy Sunday! And Happy Memorial Day Weekend to our US fans! This weekend brought me an Ocean Themed Wedding Cake. With only 30 people on the guest list, including the wedding party, the Bride needed a small cake but didn't want to give up the big concept of Under the Sea. She requested the cake frosting be white, the shells look real and hot pink coral. This is what I came up with and I'll share with you how I made each part!
The cake is lemon chiffon with lemoncurd buttercream and it's vanilla buttercream as the final coat of frosting. That was smoothed on and then lines were added by taking the offset spatula and, beginning at the bottom of the cake, I used the tip to form a line up to the top edge. I continued all the way around the cake until it had vertical lines all the way around it. Then I used the same technique to continue the lines into the center of the top of the cake. I used an open star tip to make the "waves" around the bottom edge. I started with an upside down closed U shape and then followed that shape to make two more U shapes and the wavy scalloped design. Finally I used the same open star tip to make the shell border around the top of the cake. A shell border is such a common technique that I rarely use it and actually had to take a minute to practice it again before adding it to the cake! But this border was obviously needed for this cake...why not use a shell border on a shell themed cake???
The shells took several days to make. They are made from fondant that was hand moulded. I love making figures like this because it's like working in play dough! So on Monday I formed the shells and put them into the forms, for those that needed a rounded appearance like the scallop shaped shells to dry overnight. The next day I started handpainting them. Each shell, including the sand dollars, are layers of color. Some of the layers had to dry overnight before adding on another layer and some had to dry just a short time before blending on another color. The starfish was one of those that needed an overnight drying time before adding on the next color. So the final coats of color went on Wednesday and by Thursday they were all dry but still drying out so I left them on the forms to continue drying as I made the cake.
The coral is another subject. Working with melted sugar is not an easy thing to do. It's actually dangerous and I have never worked with it without ending up with a burn. This time was no different but it was only a very minor burn. To make the coral you use 2 cups of white cane sugar and 3/4 cups water. Bring that to a boil, stirring constantly, and then, using a candy thermometer, bring it up to 300 degrees. Once it reaches 250 it will go quickly so watch it carefully at that point. While the sugar is boiling you want to get another deep pan and fill it with cracked ice. When the sugar gets to 300 degrees add a teeny bit of whatever gell color you want to use, stir well, then remove the pot from the heat and submerge the bottom of the pot into cold water for about 15 seconds. This brings down the temp of the sugar before you pour it over the ice so it won't steam or splatter. Pour it in jagged lines over the ice and let it cool completely. Drain off the melted ice and then melt the left over ice with cool water. Drain off the water and break out which sugar pieces you want to use. Let that dry the rest of the day. It will be sticky for a few hours but as it dries it will go from clear to opaque and from sticky to smooth. I let mine dry for a bit and then added it to the cake. By morning it was completely opaque.
So I wish Laura and Eric a very Happy Wedding Day tomorrow! I'm so happy you loved your cake and that it was everything and more than you dreamed! That's a reward for all of my hard work like no other!
See ya'll next week!