Sunday, July 28, 2013

Happy Sunday and Congrats to the Happy Wedding Couple who got married Friday night! This cake has a few surprises so I'm really happy to share this one with all of you.

First of all, the colors are "blush" and "dove grey". When I heard the combination I thought "Grey? On a cake!?" and was suddenly reminded of the movie Steel Magnolias where one of the characters says "Grey icing? I wouldn't even know how to make grey icing!". So immediately my mind went to try to find a way to make grey look appetizing. Silver!! It gets the grey idea across with adding a bit of "bling" and glamour to the cake at the same time. So I pitched an idea to the Bride where we use silver instead of flat grey and the blush would go on the top tier as well as in blush pearl candies. Thus steering away from the grey icing and steering towards the simple glamour she was looking to achieve in her cake.

Here is the other secret. The bottom two tiers are not cake. Only the top tier is triple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling. You see her venue, while completely affordable and gorgeous, has an outside vendor rule. If you bring in a cake from another vendor then you need to pay a $3 per slice cutting fee. Yup...$3 PER SLICE! Now do the math really quickly. If you have 100 guests you will end up paying an extra $300 just to cut the cake. Now they know no one will do this. They know that the couple would have to, basically, pay double to have a cake brought in and will choose the venue's dessert over bringing in a cake. So after a whole lot of searching for a solution that allowed the venue not to have to charge the fee and yet allowed the couple their custom cake they figured out this was the best way to go. So the guests get a dessert like a "kitchen cake" which is a sheet cake baked in a pan that only has the top frosted and then is cut into 2x2 inch squares and served, or another confection from the venue, and the couple gets to cut the top tier for their ceremony and has the left overs for a "Honeymoon Cake" to take with them. They still wanted the look of their custom cake but not all the cake of a 3 tier wedding cake. So we went with the bottom two tiers made from food grade Styrofoam that are decorated just like they would be if they were real cake. 

Quickly a word about price. Yes, this version helps save a lot of wasted cake but it doesn't save a LOT of money. Other than the cost for the making of the actual cake there is still the cost of the form as well as all the work that goes into decorating it just like it was real cake. So while the cost of supplies is cut down, the labor is the same. If your goal is to have a bigger cake in order to make a more stunning centerpiece to your wedding but don't actually need that much cake then this is the way to go. If your goal is to get a bigger cake look while not spending the money for a bigger cake then this isn't going to save you much. 

The Bride had seen a similar cake which had similar patterns but wasn't in her colors so I grabbed my sketch pad and set out to create her own unique cake. In order for the silver to stand out on the bottom tier I knew that the "quilting" would have to be raised. So those are tiny "snakes" of rolled fondant that are applied individually, then hand painted with the silver edible "paint" and then topped with a candy pearl at each junction. Another, larger, rope of fondant surrounds the cake and then another row of candy pearls trim that as well. This way we were able to have the grey and pink really be featured in the cake. In answer to the inevitable question...yes, each pearl was placed by hand onto the cake using cake tweezers. By the time I finished all three tiers I knew I'd been crazy to suggest the pink pearls but they look SO pretty!

A wedding cake is constructed over a few days. I start from the bottom up and just stack the tiers as I go. So this bottom tier was finished on Tuesday, the middle tier on Wednesday and the final tier on Thursday for a Friday delivery. A lot of people wonder how the cake stays fresh. They know when they get one from the store that it's barely fresh when they bring it home and once it has a few slices cut from it you might have one day before it hits the trash. But here's a few tips for you. A grocery store cake has been stored in refrigeration for at least one day. That sucks part of the moisture out right there. After baking you can freeze the unfrosted tiers or just chill them before covering with icing but once it's been covered it is only recommended that you keep it in a refrigerator if the filling is perishable. Since most fillings are what we call "shelf stable" or can sit out on the counter without going bad, this is rarely actually needed. Then, once you cut into a cake, you are breaking the seal the icing has created on the cake and are letting in lots of air which will steal what moisture is left inside. With one of my wedding cakes I do freeze it for 12 hours after baking and cooling and then fill it and "crumb coat" it with icing to seal in the moisture as it thaws. I let that settle for 3-12 hours and then I cover it with the final coat of either frosting or fondant. Once the crumb coat goes on, the cake will be fresh for 5 days without cutting into the cake. In my own personal experience it is actually 6 or 7 days but I say 5 to be safe. So a wedding cake that is made 3-4 days ahead will still be completely fresh and yummy on the wedding day.

Of course, in this case, the cake was only 2 days old when it was cut at the wedding. A very very fresh cake! The second tier was the hardest when it came to the pearls because of the band. Now the band is just fondant that was adhered to the cake with a bit of water and then hand painted silver. The pearls attached to the top of the band where just attached to the still wet silver paint creating a sugar to sugar bond that held them in place. Also, the band was thick enough to act like a shelf for the pearls while that bond took place. But there was no shelf for the pearls that are fighting gravity on the bottom of the band. Those went on with some royal icing acting like glue. Royal icing dries hard really, really fast so I was able to pipe a thin line, attach a few pearls and they would stick perfectly. It just takes more time since you have to pipe and then place and pipe and place all the way around the band. Then all I had to do was the trim. I know, I know, but they are so Pretty!

The top tier was the smallest and easiest. I covered the cake with the fondant and then rolled out the fondant for the trim and measured it around the cake. I didn't attach it to the cake at this point. I then colored the pink fondant to match the pearls and cut out 3.25 inch by .5 inch strips of that to put onto the cake. Now, when you are adding stripes to a cake you want them to be very even. So what you do is place one strip on and then figure out what looks like to be the exact opposite side of the cake from the strip. This is where you place the next strip. Then turn the cake so that each strip is now on each side of the cake with blank fondant in the center. Pick the spot that looks like it is center of that blank area and that is where your next strip goes. Now turn the cake around and find center of the other blank side. You should now have four strips that are almost perfectly spaced from each other on your cake. Now your empty spaces should be small enough to eyeball center of each one. You just keep doing this until you have the number and spacing of strips that you want on the cake. I used the rolled fondant trim as a guide so that the strips would be placed right at the roll and not under it where they would make the roll wavy when it was adhered. But it had to be loose while placing the strips so if I needed to move it out of the way I still could before stacking this tier onto the rest of the cake. 

After stacking I did adhere the roll and painted it. Then it was time for the pearls. The four on the top and bottom of each strip were added with royal icing as were the ones I used for the trim. I spent more time doing this step in the process than the covering, the strips and the painting combined. I know, I know, but it's so Pretty!

The final step had to wait until we delivered the cake...the placing of the real roses on top! Now here is a very important tip. Real flowers can not go directly into a cake. I don't care if they are grown organically with no pesticides, they can not be placed right into the cake. When you cut the stem of a flower there is a liquid that will leak out...into your cake. Not only does this make your cake taste weird but not all flowers are safe for humans so you could actually be poisoning your cake! The best way to add fresh flowers to your cake is to either use a cake form, which holds the flowers and thus they don't ever touch your cake, or flower "spikes" which hold your flowers individually. The problem with the spikes is that they are quite large and make a big hole in the cake. There is a third option which is the one I pick over the spikes. Cling wrap. Actually I use Press and Seal which sticks to itself better and is a bit thicker so I know the stem won't break the wrap when I stick it into the cake. Before arrival I contact the florist and set up a meeting time so I can get flowers from her to place in the cake. So all I had to do when we arrived was get the roses, snip them, wrap them and place them into the top of the cake. Beautiful!

The Groom was in the building when we delivered the cake and he loved it! We don't get to see the Bride or Groom usually unless we are also attending the wedding so it was great to get the response to the cake as well as be able to tell him Congratulations in person. So mission accomplished! 

Tomorrow I will feature the actual event site so you can see how a Pink and Grey color palette can make a very beautiful wedding day on our Cherry Party Blog! And, as always, you can get daily tips and tricks on our Facebook Fan Site. Hope to see you there!

Next week brings another wedding I get to share with you all! See you then!


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