Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wedding cake with flowers on top

I recently completed my third wedding cake. It was a smaller affair than the other two (3 layers, 8 inch, 10 inch and 12 inch); however, like the other two, I was more-or-less given a cart blanche to do whatever I felt like. This might seem like a great situation for a cake decorator, but I feel it's more nerve racking (maybe because I'm still new at this?). What if what I choose to do doesn't appeal to the couple, or what if my design idea doesn't work out in the end, etc, etc. I was given colours: red and white, but that was all. I opted for flowers, as it seemed the easiest/most appropriate, and chose to make them from fondant rather than icing (also due to ease). Below are pictures of the process.
The middle layer fondant-ed up. The red was so soft I was worried it might melt if the day was too warm.
I got free fondant at the end of my cake decorating course (so I suppose it wasn't really free since I paid for the course...). I figured a) if it was taken away from me at the airport it didn't matter; and b) if it turned out to not be very good I could just buy more. It nearly was taken away at the airport (they didn't know what it was, and seemed really concerned by it) and I ended up having to buy more white as the free stuff was too dry to roll out without cracking. The red as noted above was really, really soft, which made it easy to work with (getting it on the cake was a cinch) but it also meant it was really droopy. Some of the first roses I made with it turned to mush. Later on I added more icing sugar to it, which seemed to help strengthen it up.
My small army of fondant roses...I'd already used some by the time I took this picture. I think there were over 40 all told.
I was rather proud of my roses, the mottled ones in particular I thought looked really pretty. Andrew helped by rolling and cutting out of the petals while I did all the shaping. Making the flowers took...a couple of hours (I did make 40)? But setting them out on the cake took minutes.
The cake top after the first round of flowers.
At first I wasn't too sure how many flowers I would use throughout the rest of the cake, so I limited them on the top. Once I stacked it I realized there wasn't space for adding flowers on the other layers so I just kept arranging more on top.
The cake about 92.5% done, just a few finishing touches to add on the actual day of the wedding.
Once the cake was transported from my parents place to Andrew's parents place, I stacked the cake (transporting cakes is just a blast...really...) so it could sit in the fridge for the next day and a half. When I'm in Ontario I prefer to bake and apply the base layer of fondant at my parent's place as they have a lot of space (including multiple fridges), then I stack and decorate at Andrew's parents (or actually at his grandmother's). Being a small cake the staking took about five minutes and I used straws as supports--they're way easier than dowelling. You just slide the straws in, then snip them off at the desired height.
Completed cake. More flowers on the top with a few on the bottom section (partially to hide an unsightly mark), and ribbon for trim.
I added a little bit of shinny Christmas wrapping ribbon to trim the white layers and hide the bumpy edges at the bottom of the cake. Also, as you can see I did some quick, easy scroll work around the red cake layer. I think it gives the cake a bit of 'funk' and keeps it from being too traditional or boring. Also, at this point I can cover a whole cake in free-hand scroll work in about ten minutes, so it was a bit of a comfort zone-thing as well.
The full view from the side of the cake. I think the middle layer with the scrolling was really effective.
One more close-up on the flowers. This was actually the first time I made fondant flowers. They were fairly easy to do, even without the special flower tools (the ones that kind of look like dental equipment).

That's about all I've got. Unfortunately I didn't stay at the wedding for the cake cutting (did I mention that above? It was a family wedding), the term used to describe me after dinner was 'peeky.' Both Andrew and I have been fighting off head colds, and I didn't get much in the way of sleep the night before and simply couldn't stay. The drive from the wedding, which took place in Acton (why yes, it is worth the drive--Ontarians, you know what I mean, everyone else, you can scratch your heads) to our lodgings was around an hour and I fell asleep on the way.



Cheryl Tardif said...

This brings back such great memories. I took a cake decorating course when I was in my teens and sold my cakes. I was the instructor's youngest student.

I kept at it for many years.

I even decorated my own 3-tiered wedding cake. :-) And that's something not many brides can say! lol

Awesome job on the wedding cake. Your roses are beautiful. Keep it up!

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,

S. Andrea Milne said...

Cheers. I can't decide if I really want to promote my cake decorating or not. It takes a lot of time (as I'm sure you know) and so does writing (which I'm sure you also know). Add that to working full time and my remaining free time is pretty limited.