Party Time!

The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I began to learn the art of cake decorating and began putting together the very first pieces of my cake business in Kansas City. 

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted April 7-11, 2008

There was a lot of fun happening during my final week at Planet Cake, and although most of this post is not necessarily about cake, it was part of my intern experience and therefore must be included in the blog…

Doltone House

The first was the Doltone House bridal show, where Paris and Handi went on stage to speak about…what else? Cake! I asked to tag along so I could see what happens at one of these events and acted as official Planet Cake picture-taker for the evening.

Anna-Maria prepared a beautiful topsy-turvy cake that was featured in the show…

Topsy Turvy cake - Talk Sweet to Me

…while Handi and Paris practiced for their parts in the stage presentation:

paris practicing

handi practicing

At Doltone House, in my obviously unbiased opinion, Planet Cake stole the show. While Paris did a marvelous job with her presentation, Handi skillfully demonstrated how to cover and stack a cake.

paris and handi presenting

Fresh flowers were quickly added by a Sydney florist, and here is Handi with the finished stage cake:

handi with stage cake

Handi, Antony, and Paris also spoke with the brides-to-be at the Planet Cake table

handi and antony

Planet Cake Bowling Night

Planet Cake had bowling night this week too, partially a team-building thing, partially a good-bye thing. It was a blast…and I’m not just saying that because I won (I know a score of 116 is nothing to brag about, but believe me, that is a really good day in my world). I think that everyone secretly let me win because I was leaving. The whole group…

bowling lane

And some individual style…the pictures are a little dark, but you get the idea.

Paris returns to her seat after a successful round:

Paris bowling - Talk Sweet to Me

Ritzy concentrating in preparation for her turn:

ritzy preparing

Check out that form, Handi!

handi bowling

Jonny’s victory dance:

Jonny victory dance - Talk Sweet to Me

Team Planet Cake:

Planet Cake Bowling - Talk Sweet to Me

Dinner Party

I must include the fabulous good-bye dinner party that Handi threw. The food was out-of-this-world good, fun people were there, and we even used the Versace plates and wine glasses! Stunning! Look at those prawns:

Group at dinner party - Talk Sweet to Me

Lisa and Handi dessert - Talk Sweet to Me

Have you ever seen so much Versace?!

Versace cabinet - Talk Sweet to Me

Planet cake dinner party

What fun! And…although I don’t have pictures, Anna-Maria also had me over for lunch at her house the following week, which was delicious. Her two boys even contributed some great food to the meal, and it was reassuring to learn from their new electronic game that my brain age is somewhere around 83. Fun times!

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Making a Wedding Cake With Tiger Lily Sugar Flowers

The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I began to learn the art of cake decorating and began putting together the very first pieces of my cake business in Kansas City.

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted April 12-13, 2008

Over the weekend of April 12-13, I attended Handi’s Basics 103 course. It was a blast, as it always is when learning from Handi. It was also great to see Amanda again, who was the facilitator for the weekend.

I sat next to Vivienne, who was fabulous, and recently learned that she has become Planet Cake’s new Intern…she’s already getting rave reviews!

Here is a photo of Handi leading the class:

Handi teaching - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi taught us how to make these cakes step-by-step…

After finishing the ganacheing, we gathered ‘round to learn about covering a square cake:

Handi covering cake demonstration - Talk Sweet to Me

And after stacking our tiers and putting the icing ribbon around the base, Handi also demonstrated how to paint a monogram on the cake:

Handi demonstrating cake painting - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is the finished demonstration cake (I liked the colors, chosen by Amanda):

Planet Cake class example cake - Talk Sweet to Me

My cake was a bit different, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it when it was completed or not. White base, brown ribbon, and orange tiger lilies. I’d made plenty of magnolias before, so thought it was time to try a new kind of flower.

When Handi demonstrated how to make the flowers, my lilies from the previous week were unfortunately used as an example of what NOT to do! It was okay though, because I admit they were a bit funny-looking and I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong…I learned that I bent the petals of the lily too severely at the halfway point. They should have been bent at almost a 90 degree angle 2/3 of the length away from the wire, 1/3 from the tip of the petal. The petals should also go on in two layers, one layer of three a bit lower than the other…just like the real thing!

Tiered tiger lily cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The flower petals were each individually dipped in a food coloring and alcohol solution, and then I brushed on a deeper reddish color on the insides and tips of the petals. After assembling in the two layers, I also added the brown dots with a toothpick.

Sugar tiger lily - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is the final group photo. It is a little blurry, but look at all these gorgeous women with their beautiful cakes!

Planet Cake class group photo - Talk Sweet to Me

 

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Bride and Groom and Stilettos!

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted April 7-11, 2008

Since I promised a posting about stilettos this week, I will break my last week of work at Planet Cake into a couple different postings. Here I’ll concentrate on the stiletto and my first set of bride and groom figurines.

The Bride and Groom

Planet Cake always obtains information about dress, hairstyle, colors, and more from clients so the figurines can be customized to follow the hairstyles, hair colors and dress/tuxedo of the bride and groom…so I picked out a couple images to learn from!

Inspiration images - Talk Sweet to Me

It actually took me three tries to get the body of the groom carved correctly out of styro (too skinny once, to high a waist the next time), and took me two tries to get the bride’s body right (her waist was right underneath her boobs the first time). After a while, Handi didn’t even give me a hard time about my multiple failed attempts, just silently shook his head and handed me the next piece of styro to start in on. After finally getting it right, I gave the bride some cleavage and skin on her back:

Figurine heads - Talk Sweet to Me

Then put the groom’s shirt and pants on, gave him some hair, and added a jacket, tie and flower. The groom was nearly done!

The bride took a bit more work. After letting the chest and back dry overnight, I put on a piece of white icing for the dress and carved the flow of the fabric into it.

After the dress was done, it was on to arms and hair. Since she was holding a cascading bouquet, I didn’t need to add details to the hands since they would be covered anyway. The arms were just a single piece of icing attached to each of the shoulders. Working on her hair…

Working on figurine hair - Talk Sweet to Me

…which took me two tries to get right too. The first attempt was kind of a disaster, partly due to the difficult style (having it shown both up and half down in the picture added to the confusion!), partly due to it being the end of the day and Handi and I each lacking concentration. We even had to make diagrams on the white board!

The Board - Talk Sweet to Me

I stayed for a while after work was over to give it my best shot, but it still came out looking a little bit like Medusa was starting to emerge from the barette on the back of her head.

Medusa hair

Scary, I know. Needless to say, I scraped this off and gave it another try. When Handi and I were both fresh the next morning, we tried again and it came out so much better:

Back of figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

Then just some color on the faces…

Need faces painted on - Talk Sweet to Me

and a face or two!

Bride and groom sugar figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

So, there is room for improvement…it would be nice to make one attempt at everything and have it turn out right the first time!

Stiletto

I wish I had some more pictures of the stiletto in progress, but my description will have to suffice for now. I chose a picture out of Anna-Maria’s fabulous shoe book…a Manolo Blahnik, of course. I figured if I can’t afford a real one (let alone a pair!), I might as well make myself one out of icing.

Inspiration shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Anna-Maria is more obsessed with shoes than anyone I know, except perhaps Carrie Bradshaw. She had a lot of great models for me to look at, including a few different heel types carved out of styro, and two different shoe types (pointy-toed and a regular rounded toe).

The first thing I did was cut the sole of the shoe out of very thin corrugated cardboard, with the “grain” of the cardboard running from the toe to the heel of the shoe. This was so I could insert #26 wires into the cardboard in about 3 different places, which made the cardboard hold its shape when I bent it.

Next, the heel was carved out of Styrofoam, and a small bamboo skewer was inserted and glued into place. This gave me something to hold onto, and would be used to insert into the cake to hold the shoe in place.

The top of the sole of the shoe was covered first, with both black and a beige color to match the picture. Next, I used strips of acetate (cut in the pasta machine to make sure they were all even) to construct the straps. The straps were attached to the bottom of the shoe with masking tape and held together where they met on the top of the foot with double sided tape. Once they were all in place, it was time to cover the bottom of the shoe, leaving a place for the heel to be glued on.

Both colors were then used to cover the heel, and icing strips were used to cover the acetate straps, secured with a bit of gel.

Here, Anna-Maria shows me what to do next:

Learning how to make sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I glued the heel to the cardboard (covering the styro with masking tape first so that it wouldn’t melt) and covered the sides of the shoe with a very thin strip of black icing.

Working on sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

A label printed on rice paper and a bit of bling were the finishing touches.

Sugar shoe - Talk Sweet to Me

Over and out for now…

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Cubes, Cupcakes, and…Celine! Week #5

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 24-28, 2008

This is the first week where I’ve been exactly where I want to be at the end of each day. I got a little nervous on Monday afternoon about finishing up my ganacheing, but Ritzy stepped in and helped me finish a couple layers of my cascade, for which I was very grateful. I was comfortable with all the cakes this week too – not too much that I hadn’t done before – so things really seemed to be flowing. The only thing that (still!) gives me fits is the ganache. During week 1, I thought that by week 5 I would be much more adept at it than I am. Maybe during week 6 a light will shine down from the heavens and there will be a major breakthrough. Here’s hoping for an epiphany.

I had 5 cakes this week, and worked with Handi on one extra:

Rough Royal Cube // Exploding Stars 1st birthday // 2-Tier Roses // 3-Tier cascade // Fleur-de-lis cupcakes // Handbag for Handi’s Basics 102 Course (worked with Handi)

Rough Royal Cube
This cake was one of the strangest optical-illusions I’ve ever experienced. Although the cake looks like it is too tall, it really isn’t. And believe me, I measured it enough times to know.

Cube cake in progress - Talk Sweet to Me

There were two flavors in this cake – almond on the bottom, and white chocolate on the top. Since it was so tall, a second board had to be used halfway up the cake for support…in this case, conveniently separating the two flavors. Although I did not use a center pole this time, I would if I did this cake again. The more sturdy, the better.

Antony’s design drawing:

Cube cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

And the finished cake, to have fresh flowers added by the florist:

Royal icing cube cake - Talk Sweet to Me

This cake was, of course, to be “rough, but not rough.” My favorite Handi-ism.

Exploding Stars 1st Birthday

Ahhh…exploding stars. Handi thought that my technique for securing the base rope was a bit on the ridiculous side…the poor cake looks like a pincushion. However, it is hard to make that rope stay in place with only discreet amounts of royal icing! I attached it at the corners and on the backside where the two ends meet, and let it dry overnight before removing the pins.

Placing rope around cake base - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is the finished cake:

Exploding stars first birthday cake - Talk Sweet to Me

2-Tier Roses Cake
This may have been my favorite cake of the week – simple but beautiful. To use Handi’s words, I thought the sage green color was “GOR-geous.”

Antony’s design drawing…

2T Rose cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake!

Two tier ivory rose wedding cake - Talk Sweet to Me

3-Tier Cascade

Hmmm…I don’t have all that much to say about this cake except that I wish there were a bit more connection between the flowers on the top tier and those on the middle tier. Other than that, I think the cascades are improving somewhat.

Pure white rose cascade cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Fleur-de-lis Cupcakes

After making these 40+ cupcakes, I don’t think it will be necessary to look at a fleur-de-lis again in my life. Who would think that 40+ cupcakes would take an entire day to complete? Even *after* the cupcake stand was already made by Handi and Anna-Maria?!? Ganacheing and icing the cupcakes was not really a problem…it was that darned fleur-de-lis on each of them that took me all afternoon. I was using a mold that was made a long time ago out of icing, so it was obviously very hard. The silicone molds are fabulous since you can just bend them and the shape pops out. With icing molds though, you kind of have to dig your shape out, which is a pretty delicate process. Maybe not quite as delicate as, say, brain surgery, but it comes close. The first technique I tried was vegetable oil spray, but that got pretty messy, pretty quickly. After a few choice words were uttered trying to do that, Anna-Maria suggested using Copha. Genius. A little bit of Copha rubbed all around the mold before pushing the icing in, and bam! The fleurs-de-lis were flying out onto the cupcakes. (For those of you who don’t know – I’d never heard of the stuff before – Copha is a form of vegetable shortening made from hydrogenated coconut oil. It is similar to Crisco but has a much firmer texture, and is readily available in Australia…but not so much in the US.)

The finished cupcake stand from the side:

Fleur de lis cupcakes - Talk Sweet to Me

And from the top:

Fleur de Lis cupcakes from top - Talk Sweet to Me

Chanel Handbag (with Handi)

I was lucky to have a chance to work on this handbag cake with Handi since I’d always wanted to make one and he needed an example prepared for the Basics 102 course over the weekend. I cut the cake from directions Handi gave me, and he helped me ganache it:

Handi ganaching Chanel cake - Talk Sweet to Me

It was relatively easy to cover since I could gather the icing at the corners, cut it, and smooth it since the rope decoration would eventually cover those areas. I added the quilting pattern, the front flap, and the top zipper and zipper pull, and then covered the board.

Chanel cake covered - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi threaded the ribbon through the chain and stuck them into the sides of the cake. The side flaps were put on while the icing was pliable so they would look natural covering the place where the chain was inserted into the cake.

Chanel cake side flaps - Talk Sweet to Me

Next, the small rope was added around the front and back edges for detailing.

Chanel cake detail - Talk Sweet to Me

Gold Chanel logos and rivets were added to the side flaps, front flap, and zipper pull, and then the large black Chanel logo was added to the left side of the cake. It was tricky to put on! The chain was secured to the board with a bit of royal icing underneath it. Ta da!

Chanel purse cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Other fun

I love the showroom at Planet Cake. It would be a pretty fantastic place to walk into if you were a bride-to-be. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Here’s what you see when you walk in:

Planet Cake showroom - Talk Sweet to Me

And the display window:

Planet Cake Showroom window - Talk Sweet to Me

In addition, this week there was a big international celebrity cake. Celine Dion’s 40th birthday happened to take place while she was on tour in Sydney, so Planet Cake produced her cake. Margie did an amazing job decorating the cake, and the rest of the Planet Cake team pitched in with some behind-the-scenes work. Paris and Jonny took the zillion phone calls about it, Jonny designed the cake, Anna-Maria did some ganacheing and covering (and Ritzy probably did too, sorry Ritzy if I am forgetting!), and Handi put the “40” diamontes on the globe. Here is Margie doing her fabulous work decorating:

Margie working - Talk Sweet to Me

Having a little fun along the way…

Margie with figurines - Talk Sweet to Me

I even got to have a (small) hand in it…Margie let me put the scattered diamontes on the skyline layer. I think this is because she dislikes putting on diamontes, but hey, I had a great time. How often do you get to work on a celebrity cake? I have never moved more slowly or carefully in my life…

Placing diamontes - Talk Sweet to Me

A picture of Celine Dion and her son with the cake:

Celine Dion with cake by Planet Cake

And Paris, Margie, and Jonny with Celine at her party…check out these gorgeous people:

Planet Cake and Celine Dion

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Flowers and Figurines – Week #4

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 17-21, 2008

This was a short 4-day week since in Australia, Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public holidays. It was frustrating to only have four days this week, especially when Monday and Tuesday felt like I had my feet stuck in the mud and was moving in slow motion. That’s the thing about public holidays and working in this business…you still have to get the same amount of work done, you just have four days to do it instead of five. Seriously, who needs public holidays anyway, when your job is making cakes!?

I only had two cakes this week:
-2-Tier Madhatter Figurine cake
-2-Tier piping and flowers cake

Both of these cakes had unusual timing. The Madhatter was due out on Tuesday, and the other was due out the following Tuesday after Easter. Planet Cake was closed for the holidays, which meant it had to be done before I left on Thursday. So the middle of the week had a bit of a lull, but there was plenty of flower-making and figurine-making to keep me busy.

Madhatter Figurine Cake

Because of the funny timing on this cake, it ended up being a group effort. Handi made the dancing figurines and their dancing cat (while I ganached most of his cakes for the week), and Anna-Maria helped me with ganacheing, covering the top tier, and covering the board. The rest was me. Placing the stripes:

Placing stripes on madhatter cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Antony’s design drawing:

Dancing figurines design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

And the finished cake:

Dancing couple madhatter wedding cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Flowers

During the middle of the week, I worked on extending the flowers that Handi started and working on a few hibiscus flowers for next week.

Sugar Flowers - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi made us some pancakes! They were flying through the air on Wednesday.

Handi flipping pancake - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi makes pancakes - Talk Sweet to Me

I also started working on a sugar figurine wedding couple (my first venture into working on a bride and groom), which I’ll reveal next week when they are complete and fully clothed!

Piping and Flowers

The piping on this cake took me quite a long time. It was the first time I’ve done detailed piping on a cake at Planet Cake, and I was fairly happy with the result (though there is always room for improvement). Here is Antony’s design drawing…

Flower cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake.

Pastel flowers wedding cake - Talk Sweet to Me

One thing I can say in critique of myself as I look at the photo is that I wish the flowers on top had a bit more of a half-round, dome shape. They are, unfortunately, slightly on the flattened side. Something to keep in mind for next time.

There has been quite a bit of excitement in the media recently about Planet Cake. An article was printed in the Sun-Herald a few weeks ago about children’s birthday cakes. Here is the article:

Newspaper article on expensive cakes - Talk Sweet to Me

And below is a close-up of the Baby Pool cake picture that has my figurine from Week #1 on it! I covered the cake too, but Handi did the rest of the work – carving and ganacheing the cake, the decoration, piping the board, etc.

Pool cake figurine in newspaper - Talk Sweet to Me

This article set off a flurry of media activity. Paris has been busy with several radio, tv, and newspaper interviews in the past few weeks, one of which was with Steve Price on 2UE radio station. Steve gave Paris a pretty hard time about the cost of the cakes, so she sent him a life-size, realistic cake of his face (produced by Margie). All he could say was, “You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s extraordinary.” You betcha.

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Soccer Balls, Seashells, and Bling – Week #3

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 10-14, 2008

Whew…what a week! There were a lot of cakes due this week, and most of them were due on Friday, which meant a bit of a rush. I was in charge of five cakes and I will go through four of them here:

-Soccer ball cake

-Alien cake

-Purple “bling” cake

-Funky seashells cake – with help from Margie and Handi on the Funkies

Here is a picture of me with the nearly-completed cakes from this week:

This weeks cakes - Talk Sweet to Me
Next I’ll go through each of them individually.

Soccer ball cake

The soccer ball was one of my most challenging cakes this week, but also one of my favorites since I used to play. Go Ames Flames!

It looks deceptively simple: round ball, black pentagons, some grass, etc., but it was actually extremely time-consuming. There was a lot of structure involved in setting up this cake. The bottom half of the ball is composed of Styrofoam, and carving a perfectly round half-ball out of Styrofoam is harder than you might think! The board sits on top of that. I used a 9” board to make a size 5 ball since it is pretty close in size. There is a pole through the styro and about halfway up through the cake on the top half of the ball to hold everything in place…having the ball roll right of the board would be a little bit disastrous. Jonny mentioned once it was finished that he would like to kick it. That would be disastrous too. I had to keep an eye on him for the rest of the afternoon…

To get the ganache perfectly round too, Ritzy taught me a trick. Hold up a 9” board behind the cake as you spin it on a cake stand to see where you need to add or take away ganache to get a perfectly round shape. She is a genius.

Ganaching soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Covering was a particular challenge. Handi said I should cover it in the same way I cover a figurine head, but the problem with the soccer ball was that I couldn’t pick it up and turn it sideways the same way I do with a figurine.

Fondant to soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next was putting on the panels. I brought in a real size 5 ball to measure the size of the panels so I could get them right on the cake. I cut a pattern piece out of cardboard and started working from the top of the cake down to the bottom making indentations with the back of a knife for all of the seams. It is next to impossible to get all of the panels to end up perfectly, simply because the cake is not precisely round and measuring the panels from the cardboard piece results in a small amount of human error. I am not a machine! But I thought it turned out fairly well anyway.

Measuring soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I spent quite a while painting on the black panels and the seams between them. I used a mixture of black food coloring and alcohol. So far, so good!

Painted soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next were a few finishing touches including grass, candles, a message, and some pro soccer team emblems printed onto rice paper, and it was done:

Soccer ball cake - Talk Sweet to Me

For another perspective, Anna-Maria said that she used to do the black panels differently. She cut them out of black icing, adhered them to the cake, and piped the seams black in between them. That would probably be much faster, but wouldn’t give you the indentations you see on a real soccer ball. AM, as she is called at Planet Cake, is one of the most organized, efficient, and energetic people I know. It must have something to do with that Austrian background of hers…

Speaking of Anna-Maria, she deserves a big congratulations for her winning entry in the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Congrats Anna-Maria! Here is a picture of her fantastic entry:

ANNA-MARIA’S ROYAL EASTER SHOW ENTRY

Anna Maria Easter Show Cake

Alien cake

The alien cake was really fun. I started by covering the head and carving the body of the Funky astronaut out of Styrofoam. The Styro room was a little crowded this week…

Styro carving room - Talk Sweet to Me

To cover the cake, I made small rings of icing and placed them on top of the ganached cake before covering the entire cake with the green icing. This created the craters. I had to push the centers in a little bit with a ball tool after the green icing was placed over the top, and then pressed small black circles into the middle of each of them.

Covering alien cake - Talk Sweet to Me

A close-up of the finished Funky…his eyes need to be a bit closer next time:

Astronaut figurine - Talk Sweet to Me

The alien was just made out of a piece of icing and the antennae were pieces of dried cellophane noodles with icing balls on top. Fully edible! (As an interesting side note, everyone at Planet Cake has a different name for the cellophane noodles. Anna-Maria calls them mung bean noodles, Handi calls them glass noodles, and Ritzy says they are called “haru same” in Japanese, which translates literally to “spring rain,” since they are clear and flowing…just like the spring rain.)

Here is Jonny’s design drawing…

Astronaut cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake.

Astronaut birthday cake- Talk Sweet to Me

Purple “Bling” cake

This cake deserves the Most-Frustrating-Cake-of-the-Week Award. Because it was a very clean, simple design with only a skinny ribbon around the base, it showed even the smallest of flaws.

Bling cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

It took quite a bit of purple food coloring to make the deep shade I needed to match the ribbon sample provided by the client. This, along with the icing being exposed while I mixed in the color for so long, produced a weird texture (and fairly dry) icing. Putting dry icing over a square cake is no easy feat, let me tell you. Handi had to come to the rescue a little bit on part of the 12” tier, but I managed the others myself.

Covering purple cake layer - Talk Sweet to Me

After stacking the 3 tiers, filling in some gaps with icing, and lining the base of each tier with purple ribbon, I was ready to start putting on the bling. First I printed out each of the letters from the computer and traced them onto tracing paper. Then, in a trick I learned from my Grandma (and was reminded of by Anna-Maria), I traced the lines on the back side of the paper with an 2B pencil, placed the sheets of paper on the cake where I wanted them to go, and re-traced the original lines, transferring the pencil lines onto the hardened icing. This told me exactly where I needed to place the bling.

Tracing onto love bling cake - Talk Sweet to Me

I started out painting piping gel onto each individual diamonte, picking it up with tweezers, and putting it into the perfect place on the cake.

Placing bling - Talk Sweet to Me

I would literally have been there for hours if Handi had not shown me this trick. Painting the piping gel along the traced lines on the cake saved me from painting each individual piece of bling. Then, instead of picking up each one with the tweezers, I picked them up with my finger, dampened with water, placed them on the piping gel lines, and then rearranged with the tweezers so they were all in the correct locations. Handi is so clever.

Bling love cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The florist placed fresh flowers and the “A” and “S” bling cake toppers shown on the design drawing on top of the cake at the reception site.

Funky seashells cake

Here is Antony’s design drawing:

Beach cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

The first thing that had to be done for this cake was the shells. They were completed early in the week so that they would have time to dry before I needed to place them on the cake. They were made by pressing icing into shell molds, and painted with a mixture of ivory and brown food coloring and alcohol.

Sugar seashells for beach cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I stacked the two tiers and drew on the waves with a pencil. The coloring was mixed (blue on the top and teal on the bottom, each mixed with alcohol) and painted on. I found that to be a little bit tricky, as you basically get one swipe with a large brush before brush-strokes become prominent and distracting. Let’s just say it is always good to start on the back side. The wavy gold line was just piped on in white royal icing, following the pencil line, and then painted gold. The snail trail around the base went on last so that I wouldn’t drip any blue on it when painting on the waves.

The shells, flowers, and pearls were all placed on the sides of the cake, and then the Funkies were put on top.

Beach cake topper design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

They were worked on by myself, Handi, and Margie. Margie did the bodies and surfboard, Handi did the clothes, faces, and hair, and I took care of the arms and the other various paraphernalia on the top of the cake (sand and sand castles, martini glass, towels, shells, and sunscreen).

Beach cake topper - Talk Sweet to Me

The delivery-person came for the cake as I was boxing it, so I didn’t have an extra minute to check everything over as I usually do. Unfortunately, this meant that I forgot to send the 3 cupcakes that were added to the order out with the cake, which I felt pretty badly about…but everything got there in the end!

Tropical beach cake - Talk Sweet to Me

A couple of other fun things from this week

Ritzy worked on a masquerade mask…now that’s a lot of cake!

RITZY’S MASQUERADE MASK

Ritzy with mask

And a shout-out to Margie, who does amazing things every week. Here is a picture of Margie working on her jungle tree cake:

Margie working on cake - Talk Sweet to Me

I was a bit worried about her as this was her second late night in the workroom and she was starting to look a bit like Shrek as she placed the jungle leaves in her hair instead of on the cake…amazing, don’t you think?

MARGIE’S JUNGLE TREE CAKE

Jungle tree cake

Finally, it was my birthday lunch on Wednesday this week, so we went down the road to the Exchange Hotel and had a wonderful meal and a good time just relaxing together for a little while. Thanks, Paris!

me and anna maria

me and handi

lunch party

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

The Cakes: Week #2

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted March 3-7, 2008

This week I’ll just quickly go through each of the cakes.

I was in charge of 5 cakes:

-2-Tier round chocolate ganache cake – smooth finish

-3-Tier round royal icing cake – smooth finish

-Funky child with stars

-Teddy with baby block

-Orange and yellow flower spray birthday cake

And worked with others on 2 more:
-4-Tier cascade
-Circles/Bubbles cake

The chocolate ganache and royal icing cakes were fairly simple. The royal icing cake was ganached, covered with a thin layer of regular icing to prevent the chocolate and royal icing from coming into contact with one another, stacked, and then iced. I added some glycerine when mixing the royal icing so that it wouldn’t dry quite so hard…it’s not very graceful when a bride has to take a chainsaw to her hard-as-rocks wedding cake just to cut it. Putting on the royal icing reminded me a lot of my earlier days working with buttercream…although I’m not sure I miss it that much!

Royal icing finish cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The chocolate ganache cake was just stacked and covered with melted ganache. As Handi said, “finish it so that it is smooth, but not smooth.” This reminds me of his helpful (but not helpful) instructions to place the silver balls on the snowflake cake in a “random, but not random” fashion. In the end though, it actually gets the point across rather well!

Ganache finish cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The Funky child with stars cake starts with the Funky. I worked along with Handi carving the body out of Styrofoam. It is very messy, and by the time we were finished it looked like it snowed in the styro room.

Carving figurine body2 - Talk Sweet to Me

Carving figurine body - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is a close-up of the finished Funky…

Boy figurine - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake!

Baby boy cake - Talk Sweet to Me

This week there was another Teddy with baby block cake, which is the same as the one I completed last week.

Its a girl teddy bear cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The only thing different about this cake is that it was being shipped to Hong Kong. Here it is all packaged for shipping. The only thing that wasn’t added and needed to be was a message to NOT refrigerate it, which someone loading the plane decided would be best, and which actually caused a crack in the cake during transportation. At least, thankfully, it was on the back side.

Cake to ship to Hong Kong - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi taught me how to make cymbidium orchids this week. We made centers first, which must be completely dry before they are followed by the first layer (which includes the tongue).

Making sugar orchids - Talk Sweet to Me

The 5 other petals were made on wires, texture was added, and they were left to dry overnight.

Sugar Orchids step1 - Talk Sweet to Me

The next day the five additional petals were wired onto the center, and a light yellow dusting of color was added to the tongue and base of each of the five petals.

Complete sugar orchid - Talk Sweet to Me

The next cake was for the same person who ordered the orange cake from last week. She must have a lot of friends to be able to have two parties! Here is Antony’s design drawing:

Gold cake design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

Working and covering the board…

Covering square board - Talk Sweet to Me

…and the finished cake.

Golden citrus birthday cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Handi and I worked together on the 4-Tier cascade cake. The cake was for a woman named Maude. I was oblivious until at least halfway through the week that Handi was making fun of the way I say that name. From an American accent perspective, I pronounce Maude as “mod,” the same way I would start to say the word modern. Handi and the rest of the Australians pronounce it “mowde,” a cross between the words mood and mode. Kind of obvious when you’re thinking about accents, yes, but it took me three days to understand that Handi was mocking me! That’s okay…I can take it.

Handi ganached the bottom two tiers and covered the top two, while I ganached the top two and covered the bottom two.

Covering bottom tier - Talk Sweet to Me

Stacking the tiers:

Stacking cake tiers - Talk Sweet to Me

Here is Antony’s design drawing…

Cascade design drawing - Talk Sweet to Me

…compared to the finished cascade:

White rose cascade cake - Talk Sweet to Me

And the final cake. I think it was Anna-Maria who said that this cake looks a little bit like it is from outer space.

Bubbles design inspiration - Talk Sweet to Me

Geometric cake - Talk Sweet to Me

It took quite a long time to cover the different-sized Styrofoam balls with icing and paint them silver. Anna-Maria, Handi, and I all had a hand in producing this cake. Next time we would raise up the bottom tier on a Styrofoam base so that you could see the piping dots pattern instead of having them hidden behind the larger balls. Plus it would make the tiers both look like they are the same size instead of the balls dwarfing the size of the bottom tier.

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