So. I did promise more of what went down the past few months, one of which was my very first 3 tiered wedding cake!! Oh yes. Without any practice or much guidance, we were thrown into projects and asked to make these towering creations to be graded and judged by teachers and in this case, students alike. Oh man was this stressful. We were given 2 and a half days to make the cake but what we didn't account for was the fact the first day was going to be purely spend making and assembling the layers of the cake. That only leaves us about a day to stack and decorate the thing! I know what you're thinking. One full day, that's plenty of time~~~ But that's the kicker right there! A day in school is only from 8.30am-2.30pm with an hour of lunch in the middle. Not to mention our equipment doesn't usually arrive until about 9am if we're lucky, and we have to stop and clean up the kitchen by 2pm so that essentially only gives us 5 hours each day.
I have to also stress that whilst we are in the middle of doing this, there are also other projects lined up behind this one which needs to be planned and plotted once we have the time. This equated to very very late nights and very very long days. Thus the absence till now~~~
What I also found out, was that trying to be creative when you're running on reserve power is next to impossible~ So coming up with unique and beautiful designs for all the projects soon became the most challenging part of the last month of the program. Don't get me wrong, the tight timeline for production and what we already had to do was in itself challenging. Just saying that- for me, coming up with the designs damn nearly killed me with frustration. It was like trying to fry an egg on a semi-warm sidewalk.
Pleasantries aside, here's what I came up with in the end~~~
The theme for this project was given by the junior class below us and it was- Winter Forest with colours of blue and silver primarily. I didn't want to go the route most of my class was taking and using branches on the cake so I did a design based on the color theme and kept it as simple and clean looking as possible. I remember not wanting to do any flowers in the beginning, but like I said, I was conflicted from here on out and in the end had an abundance of flowers! Of which my chef asked me to keep aside for her to use for another project, which I took to be a compliment
It was my very first time really stacking a cake! We used straws as support, cutting each one to just the height of the cake so that it would sit nicely without showing through the layers. You may also see a rubber stamp there on my table. That's cos if you look closely, I used the rubber stamp to imprint some texture to the cardboard base that I wrapped in fondant. I decided to give this a try since embossing tools for fondant as so expensive and hard to get a hold of. What did I think of it? Well, I felt it did a really good job for projects where you want a subtle print, perhaps something that you can highlight with lustre dust, or something that you intend to look at close up
I wish that I had more time to take pictures of the entire process but alas, it was a huge time crunch~ But in the corner, you can see the flowers before they went on the cake. They were made by mixing fondant with a little CMC till it gets more pliable and elastic. I then used flower cutters in 4 different sizes to cut out the flower shapes, being careful to keep them air tight to prevent them from drying out. Each of the flowers were then shaped using a ball tool to make them come alive, by thinning out the edges of each petal and giving it a curve. They were each allowed to dry on undulating foam till they set and put aside for assembly on the last day
Why was the base textured you ask~ Well, the junior class included this tit bit of information about the bride in our bridal package before we made the cake. The bride designs textiles~ So I thought it would be a good addition to add in some textile design and texture at the same time.
As for the wedding couple topper, this was not exactly my original design but I only started them 30 mins before judging! Without a plan, I had to wing it and this was the final cake topper I came up with. Once again, the bride's dress is textured with the same rubber stamp used so as to match the base and add continuity to the piece, along with the tiny flower in her hair. The color of their eyes and hair were based on the information the junior class provided us about the couple
Based on the kitschy nature of the pair, I gave her a little side pony tail~~~ Also, every girl dreams of a train on her wedding day~ So I gave her one!
Here's the back of the cake. I kept it very simple and just went with a large textured bow. It was my first time making a bow, let alone this big~~~ People often think that making something small is harder than making something large, but I find the opposite to be true.
Here, I made the loops in advance and let them dry with paper towel inside to keep their shape, then on the day of assembly, I tied them together with a puffy center piece and placed them on the ribbon tails that I draped over the cake.
You may not be able to see it clearly because the camera really doesn't pick up shine very well, but the pearls, the base
As well as the bow and the bride's dress are all dusted with a light coating of silver lustre dust to add some sparkle
Here's the side view, and my classmates Fabrina on the left and Mickie on the right in the background~
The flowers were all glued on individually with royal icing in a cornet. I intended this cascade effect down the cake in a wave with gradation of flower sizes from the middle out. I had tons of extra flowers and added double layers to the larger flowers to give them more detail. Due to the lack of time, I couldn't pipe in the little dots within each flower, which I really did want to do. But it came out well none the less!
So, what are all these people doing standing around our cakes you wonder? Remember the class that gave us our lovely theme? Well, they were the judges that day too, along with our chefs! That's Chef Jeanne in the background with the tall hat~ She was our level 1 chef instructor for tarts and cookies!
Chef Chris~~~ You may recognize him from other posts from level 2. He came up too cos its his class that is now going around judging our cakes
Here are all our cakes all lined up ready for judgement *shivers* We all had to stand aside so none of the students knew which cake belonged to which student. Each student then casts their vote for the best cake via the number written on the table next to the cake
Tallying the numbers!
Love these girls from class~~ Miss them sooo much, left to right Sarah, Gretchen, Nopy, Adeli, Ayelet, Laura, Jesse then I have no clue who that is... Hard to imagine that we will probably never be in a room together all of us, ever again. That just breaks my heart.
Vote is out! I am number 3! Yay!!!
So what have I learned from the whole wedding cake experience? I walked away knowing that I am able to come up with something that I may not necessarily like, but that the bride might like and enjoy. Also learned how to integrate ideas and information about the couple into the design. I was sincerely uncertain if the cake would come out at all, but in the end, its all about trusting your abilities in the kitchen, trusting that your gut and your hands won't fail you if you keep a calm head on your shoulders.
Tip of The Day!!!
Wedding cake building... Always take in consideration how many people you are going to feed and work backwards to determine how big and high the cake should be. Another thing to take into consideration, is how much time you have and how much you are willing to put into a project before you design the piece.
I say this because, if you have a day like I did and want to do flowers, like me, then take the shortcut and use cutters and make simple flowers, then create other elements of design based on a simple but elegant look. If on the other hand, you have a client who is paying much more or wants a much more elaborate cake with full sugar paste roses for example, then you will need to set aside weeks if not months to make those flowers in advance and have the rest of the cake match.
For those of you reading that love baking, why not come up with an imaginary theme or party and design a cake for the occasion! Better still, throw a party and make it.
All this talk about sugar paste reminds me that I have yet to tell you all about my experience in class learning from legendary cake designer extraordinaire Ron Ben Israel. That will be coming up soon so stay tuned if you want to find out how those realistic roses, lilies and leaves are made out of sugar paste!