Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blue & White Wedding Cake

I'm here to show you my newest cake project:

I spent this past weekend making a miniature wedding cake as a practice project for my portfolio (that's right, I am making a PORTFOLIO. First ever!). I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, except for a few minor things that probably aren't noticeable to anyone besides the decorator. If you're interested in my critique, scroll on toward the bottom - I'll add my notes there.)

This would have been done and eaten sooner, except that the weather was absolutely horrid yesterday which prevented me from taking any decent photographs with my little point-and-shoot camera. So, today was the big photo day. I even put up some wrapping paper behind the cake to hide messy background (talk about going pro).

My goals for this project were to practice several decorating techniques for my portfolio: hand-molded roses, scroll piping, stripes and dots, applique and detailed cut-outs, borders, doweling and working with multiple tiers. The roses were made with fondant, which I find easier to work with than gumpaste. The fondant doesn't dry as quickly and has this kind of pretty soft glow to them (that is, when they're still semi-damp. I don't know how they'll look in two days...)

I made the doily cut-outs using a scallop-edged cookie cutter, a small round tip and a petal tip; the whole thing is glued on with a bit of water.

Why, yes! That is real cake inside! That's a lemon blueberry cake (I think this my latest favourite combo) on top, and chocolate on the bottom.

The middle tier's real, too...

The cakes have been divided up and sent to good homes around Columbus.

Here are a few pictures of the process...I traced the stencil design onto parchment using food colouring, and then pressed the parchment onto the fondant, kind of like one of those temporary tattoos.

Making a lovely mess in the kitchen, much to D's dismay.

Minor problems with the cake:

1) Top square layer is too big for the circular base. I was thinking the sizing would work out just right at 8", 6" and 4", but I forgot that a circle is a lot smaller than a square...always measure is the lesson.

2) Top tier is slightly uneven at the top and some sides, which I tried to hide in the photos. This is a result of becoming tired and impatient during the most important part of the process...the layering and crumb coating. I guess I could have fixed it by applying another layer of buttercream to even it out, but I got lazy. Oh well.

3) The blue food colouring I used for stenciling isn't fully covered by the royal icing. I've never piped over-top of a design before, so it took a bit of getting used to.

4) The lines on the second tier aren't all straight or lined up along the centre of the cake. I free-handed it, when I should have marked it off first with a ruler.

5) I forgot to cover the bottom edge of the cake with a ribbon or piping to cover the board. Doh.

6) The fondant started cracking at the corners and edges, probably from being overworked during tinting. There you have it, my critique. Next time, I think I'm just going to cover a styrofoam form so that I don't have to worry about the cake going stale if I'm delayed by the weather.

My last day at the bakery is this coming Saturday, which seems crazy since it feels like I just started working there. But, it will be good to have a few days off before our move. I've been busy with some other things too...working on a new resume and putting together my portfolio. I've just sent off my internship application to a popular bakery in NYC, so I've got my fingers crossed about that.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ellen said...

Looks like a great cake, I love the lemon-blueberry idea...mmmm!

Devonshire said...

I think it looks bloody fantastic!! I love the pipping, the color, decoration, and design!!! You should be very proud.

Lorah said...

jenny, you rock! why couldn't you have gotten into this baking/decorating craze while living in TO? we would have been more than happy to help test recipes and take in surplus baking!

A.J.A. said...

This is a beautiful cake! You are extremely talented. Thanks for posting the critique...otherwise I never would have noticed any of the "flaws."