Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Monday! The blogs are delayed by one day this week due to the fact I was working out of town this past weekend and didn't get in until almost 11pm last night...I figured no one would be reading a Cake Blog at midnight so I sent myself to bed instead! LOL!

First let me say again...Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Albert! We are so happy for you and so pleased you included us in your wedding day! The photo above is their wedding cake...the studio version. I always photograph my cakes before they are delivered just in case I get hit by a semi and the cake is destroyed...just covering my this was the first photo I took of it. It definitely wasn't the last. 

This cake feeds 96. The bottom tier is a 10x10x4. It feeds 50 all by itself! Then the next tier is a hex 8x4 and it feeds 30. Then the top tier is a 6x4 which feeds 16. The standard "party" cake is only 2 inches tall so you would cut 2x2 inch slices of a party cake. Not so with a wedding cake. They are 4 inches tall so the slices have to be half that width or 1 inch. A 2 inch cut of a 4 inch tall cake is a massive piece of cake so as you increase in height you need to decrease in width in order to get a normal dessert size piece of cake. 

The bottom tier is Mexican Hot Chocolate cake with Chocolate Brownie Buttercream filling. Along with the "standard" wedding type words like Love Honor Cherish, were personal words the couple wanted like their cute "Celebrity Name" of Dashn. Running inside joke with their friends and a way to make the cake so much more personal for just them. I do have a "Cricut" machine which cuts out the letters for me but anyone who owns one of these knows that this is not where the work stops. Once you get the cut outs you have to clean them up. Just like cutting out a wood piece with a saw, you have to sort of "sand" the edges so you get a clean look in the end. It takes a bit more work to get a clean look but, believe me, it's still easier than cutting it all out by hand like I have done in the past.

The middle tier is French Vanilla cake with Strawberry Cream buttercream filling. The Bride loved the look of quilting so I "quilted" the fondant and added candy pearls to it with royal icing. In your local cake store, and maybe even at Michaels, you will find molds and forms for your cake decorating. The template I used basically looks like a plastic rectangle with raised cross hatched lines on it. Once your cake is covered with the buttercream or fondant you let it set up a bit to get a little bit more firm. Then you gently press the template form to the cake to make the impressions. After that I went over the lines with a detail tool so the lines would be uniform in depth. Then I dotted white royal icing at the junctions on each side and, with my special pearl/bead tweezers, I added the pearls. This whole process doesn't take too long but it does take paying attention to detail. You want all of your lines to line up, all to look uniform and all to have the pearl at the junctions. It takes a little time but the effect is so worth it!

The top tier was the hardest tier. It is Red Velvet cake with Vanilla buttercream filling. All of the details on this tier are royal icing. There is no easy way to tell you how to do this type of draping on a cake. Go to Youtube and look up the videos and then just practice over and over again. Keep a moist cake paintbrush at the ready since, as you drape the royal icing, you will have your lines break, over and over again. Just clean it up and do it again until you get the right drape. The trick is to mark the join marks before you start the draping and then meet each mark. The videos will show you how to do this accurately. Once this was done I added all the many little dots from the center of the cake down the sides. These little details are what make the cake so take the time and effort to do them. It's worth it in the end. 

The tiers are all covered in Tiffany Blue Vanilla Marshmallow Fondant. They don't make a "Tiffany Blue" gel food dye yet...although I'm sure someone out there is working on you have to mix your colors yourself. I found that "sky blue" along with a drop or two of "leaf green" works to create the right color of blue. If possible, get a sample from your Bride of her ribbon or, in my case, her wedding invitation. I matched the color exactly to make sure I had it right. Always add less dye than you think you will need since, as the fondant sets up overnight, it will darken a bit and you don't want the color to change too much. 

The white "ribbon" trim is the next part I need to explain. When you cover a cake with fondant you are not covering it on the display board or plate. You cover it on another surface like a turntable and then, after it's decorated, you transfer it to either the board or plate or you stack it on top of another tier. To do this you use a spatula under the cake and when you pull it out from under the cake it WILL pull a bit of the fondant away from the cake. If you have added the ribbon trim before you move your cake then the spatula will put the part of the ribbon off of your cake and you will need to fix it. Instead of having to fix it just wait till you have moved it before adding the trim. This is the same advice if you are trimming with buttercream instead of fondant. So I moved the bottom tier over to the cake board first and then trimmed it with the "ribbon". The other tiers were decorated on a turntable and then stacked before the "ribbon" was added. 

And just a word about stacking. I have to confess that, other than delivering the cake, I hate stacking cakes. Cakes, by the simple reason that they are cake and can't be "perfectly level" and stay that way, are not level. Here are some tricks I use to make it easier. First, when baking, I make sure to trim the cake while it is still in the pan so that right away it is level. I have a mini level that I bought, sterilized, and ONLY use for caking. I use that several times in the process of making the cakes and then again when I stack them. I check them before they go into the wrap and into the freezer, again after I fill them and again after I cover them. (Remember to test your surfaces to make sure they are level as well or your cake will not be level). However, this is cake. It continues to settle as IT wishes even if you check it every step of the way. Not much but enough that when you look at them stacked you will know there is something off even if you can't pinpoint it. You want people to look at your cakes and think "How gorgeous" not "what is wrong with that cake?" So the last trick I use is when I put the dowels into the cakes. Each tier has 4 dowels in it and the dowels and the cake rounds that each tier sits upon are what create the structure that holds up the stacked cake. So the cakes don't sit on top of each other but rather their bases sit upon the dowels of the lower tier. So I place the dowels into the cake and, using a clean new cake round (little pieces of food grade cardboard) set on top of the dowels, I check to see if it is level from several angles. If it is not then I cut new dowels that are taller to adjust the level of the cake. Once it is totally level I remove the new cake round and stack the next tier on top. I continue this process till I reach the top tier. 

Now I have a Cake Safe which you can find at which has a steel dowel that goes down into the center of the cake and holds it steady for transport. If the cake has a topper such as a monogram or flowers then you can stack the entire cake and put the center dowel into it for transport. When you arrive just remove it and attach your toppers. If you don't have a cake safe you can use a slightly sharpened dowel as your center dowel and it only needs to be removed for cake service. However, if the cake doesn't have a topper then you will need to insert your center dowel into the lower tiers and stack the top tier on site. Fortunately this one had flowers and a monogram so I was able to transport it the 150 miles to the venue safely with no problems.

The flowers are sugar flowers. Yes, as always, they have to be done a few days ahead so that they are completely dry and solid when needed for the cake. I carried them in a special travel container to the venue and, with royal icing, added them at the event site. The monogram was purchased by the client and then sent to me so I would have it for placement at the venue before event began. There are two ways I have found to make sugar roses. One is with a rose "cutter" that looks like a five petaled flower. You ruffle the edges and sort of "fold" the petals around the center bud. You do this for a few layers to make a full flower with graduating cutters. I'm not fond of this method. Roses have individual petals that each have their own characteristics. I prefer to cut out my own rounds and make each petal individually, ruffle them individually and attach them one at a time. Not everyone's way but it works for me. More work, yes, but worth it to me.
And here is the final presentation at the venue. A wonderful engagement photo sat to one side of the cake and the cutting set and a "Tossing" bouquet (the Bride gave her original bouquet to her Grandmother who was celebrating 56 years of married bliss with the Bride's Grandfather on the same day!) was on the other. It looked right at home and the Bride was thrilled....what more can a caker ask?

So Congrats Ashley and Dan! Hope you are enjoying your Honeymoon!

Next week I'll be sharing a new treat with the recipe!


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