Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My First Wedding Cake

So there I was about a year ago, the gung-ho excited home baker and amateur cake decorator happily volunteering to make my brother's wedding cake.  Perhaps I underestimated how much baking I would have to do in a very short span of time.  I could have also forgotten how hot it is to bake in 32C weather.  I blame it on being caught up on the excitement of my older brother getting hitched and the possibility of making my first wedding cake.

That aside, it was really enjoyable planning the cake.  My SIL (sister in-law) had some fabulous ideas for the theme (some of which I used for my daughter's 2nd birthday) of the wedding so that made my job very easy.  She also had some ideas for the type of cake she wanted and supplied me with lots of pictures to sketch some sample cake decorations for her.  The main colour for the wedding was Pink and she liked a cake scattered with daisy that she saw.

These are some sample of string garlands that I piped for her to choose from. It was done on an old ice cream container! : )
We settled on a 3 tier cake and I felt a 12" cake for the 1st tier would be a good size to feed about 150 people.  She wanted the daisies pink and the cake a white on white design so we tinted the cake pink so when you cut through the white fondant we'd see pink inside.  I suggested a butter cake to ensure it wouldn't sink under the fondant and I made it a strawberry cake to go with the pink colour.  We decided against any fruit between the layers because of the weather and went with a vanilla buttercream between the layers.  I didn't go crazy with the pink as I would worried it would be too much colouring but maybe I should have?  The colour was a light pink almost peachy colour due to the yellowness of the butter and egg yolk element.

The sketch for the cake with ideas for each tier.
While I was holidaying in Australia, I started the sketches and practiced a bit with royal icing as it had been months and months since I have used a piping bag and if anyone's piped with royal icing will know that you need to have strong hands to get the royal icing out smoothly.  My SIL chose a delicate and classic looking string garland for the 1st tier, a fondant ribbon with royal icing polka dots and picots on the top tier.  We kept it white on white to give the cake texture and the focal point were the gumpaste daisies.

I was going for fushia with the daisies using Wilton's gel paste Rose colour with a little bit of Burgundy but for some reason the daisies looked a little more red than fushia.  Sigh.  It became a case of if the flowers were seen under a white light, it was fushia but under yellow light it looked more red.  After they were put onto the cake they looked right at home though.

The ribbon in the 2nd tier had to be redone because it was too thin the first time around. It looked better the second time but I have to learn how to put it perfectly straight.  There were some parts of the ribbon that were wavy even though we had 2 pairs of eyes and hands placing it around the cake!   My sister was a big help with the decoration and became a pro at making the pearl borders as she was quicker and better at making them herself than with me helping.  After a few tries, she managed to get those borders nice, fat and round whereas mine had some slightly misshaped ones and they tended to break from the 'string'.  The borders do a lot to complete the cake and they are great for hiding untidy bottoms.  Hee hee.

Here's my sister the pro at making pearl borders.
To complete the home made cake was a cute figurine of the couple painstaking and lovingly created by my SIL's sister made from clay.  The level of detail was amazing!  She got the bride and groom's features spot on right down to the bride's cute cartoon eyes.

See those cute cartoony eyes?  Spot on!
Before I started on the cake though I spent 5 hours baking heart-shaped sugar cookies for the wedding favours.  This was the same day after I had gotten off a plane but my enthusiasm helped me forget my fatigue.  That was Day T-4.  On Day T-3 my SIL and I spent 8 hours covering the cookies with fondant, dusting it petal dust and stamping their names on it then packaging the cookies.  The fatigue started to set in...

Day T-2 saw me spend 9 hours baking 5 cakes.  It was sooooo hot.  It was over 30C outside and the oven was almost constantly going in the kitchen.  It was at this point that I said that I would be quite happy not baking for a few months after that!

Then on Day T-1 it was all about decorating.  I started late, sometime in mid-afternoon as I wanted to join my sis and mother for a mani pedi. : )  I am glad I did that, it seemed to re-energise me.  Even then I spent another 9 hours decorating into the wee hours.  My sister and brother were kind enough to stay up with me.

Adding the finishing touches to the border.
The royal icing piped garlands - I love how they turned out.
The completed cake.
It was a really good experience but I think it will be the last time I put my hand up to make a wedding cake for someone.  So much pressure!  I was so worried the cake would fall over on the way to the venue too!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Disney Princess Cupcakes

So I have finally gotten around to uploading some photos of my last cake order in Korea.  I have since had requests for more orders but *sob* *sob* I have been unable to take any of them on.  Please see my previous post for some ideas for other places to buy some cupcakes off the counter.
It had to happen some time.  I have always loved Disney cartoons and had always wondered at the creative genius behind the marketing person who dreamed up marketing the Disney Princesses as a product by itself.  So when I got the request for Disney Princess inspired cupcakes... YAY!

I wasn't sure I'd do a good job making the Disney Princesses with gumpaste and figured they will look prettier if it was the actual figurines themselves and R who ordered these cupcakes for her daughter's 3rd birthday liked the Princess cupcakes I made a few months ago so requested for something like that.  We spun a lot of ideas and finally decided on a customised cake/dessert stand so we can put the smash cake on top, R had a good idea of standard sized cupcakes and mini ones to break up the symetry a bit and have the frosting in Disney Princess colours.

I got the idea for the cake stand from Cake Journal who has a good tutorial on how to make your own.  I had to get some of the material from Malaysia (the cake boards) as I could not find good thick round ones here.  I got cake dummies as base for the tiers.  These were made from styrofoam and you can buy them from Wilton Deco.  I managed to get wrapping paper that went well with the frosting colours too.

R chose Strawberry for half the mini cupcakes, Rose flavour for the standard cupcakes and Mud Chocolate for the cake and the other half of the mini cupcakes.  The designs for the cupcakes may have been simple but the colours made them so appealing!  I created a special design with 3 hearts on top of the cake so R could put 3 Disney Princess figurines on top whch would have completed the look but she didn't in the end as she was afraid she would ruin the cake.  ^_^   I heard the party was fabulous and the birthday girl had a great time.

The cake stand was customised to compliment the colours of the icing.  I got the idea to make a cake stand from Cake Journal.  I  decided against using a single coloured paper to make it a little more fun.  Look under Cake Journal's tutorials to learn how to make it, I can't add the link here as the site is temporarily down.

These are the mini strawberry cupcakes freshly frosted and topped with a sugarpaste flower.

Standard sized cupcakes with super pink frosting topped with a sugarpaste butterfly lovingly brushed with petal dust and sprinkled with sugar pearls.

These butterflies were quite easy to make with a plunger cutter.  Dusting it reminded me of art class when I was in school.

The finished cupcakes all packed and ready to go.

The cake stand with the top base missing as that would be assembled on site.
The finished product.  The Disney Princesses are to stand on top of the hearts on the smash cake.