Category Archives: Wedding Cake

Red and Aqua Wedding Cake – My First Cake Delivery!

The following was originally posted on my first blog, The Planet Cake Intern, as I learned 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 August 9, 2008

I met with a very fun couple back in July and was hired to make the cake for their early August wedding at Kansas City’s Uptown Theater.

They wanted a cake in these colors to match their invitations and the venue…

Invitation pattern

…and similar in style to the cake in this picture that they gave to me to match their fun and laid-back personalities:

Inspiration cake

Here is the design they chose:

Design drawing

They wanted a 3-tier white chocolate mud cake and two kitchen cakes in vanilla white and yellow butter flavors. It was a lot of baking, but of course, any amount of cake seems trivial now compared to the cake trials.

Baked cake

So the boards were prepared, the cakes were ganached, and the center pole was constructed.

Ganached tiers2

I hadn’t covered a square cake for a while, but got a whole bunch of practice at once this week.

Ganached tiers

Covered square tiers

After stacking the cake it was time to move on to the mixing of the colors. I spent at least a half hour (probably closer to 45 minutes), and made a colossal mess trying to come up with the correct shade of red to match the invitations.

coloring fondant

My hands ended up being nearly the same color…

red hands

Oh yeah…that’s what those gloves were for! Next it was time to carve the “K” for the cake topper. I cut it out of styro, secured it to the skewer, and covered it in the red icing.

Styro cake topper

Red K initial cake topper

The “K” cake topper was finished off with silver cachous around the outside to match the “i do” lettering on the middle tier.

I decorated the tiers from the top down so as not to mess up anything I’d already created by leaning my elbows on it or something similarly klutzy. The stripes:

Cake in progress4 - Talk Sweet to Me

The front rectangle piece for the ‘i do’ had to go on next, and was surrounded by red and aqua bubbles:

Cake in progress2 - Talk Sweet to Me

Starting the checkerboard pattern:

Cake in progress - Talk Sweet to Me

For efficiency’s sake, a piece of cardboard was cut to the correct width and used to cut all of the red and aqua squares. It made life a lot easier than measuring every time I needed to make a cut.

Cutting squares equipmentJust a few silver cachous added on for the ‘i do’ and here is the finished cake!

Decorated cake - Talk Sweet to Me

It was a bit late (or early, if you prefer) when I finished this one.

Finish time

The last thing I had to stress about was the delivery, but that went as smooth as silk because I had such great help (you know who you are)!!!

Red and Aqua Wedding Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Am I proud of my first successful wedding cake delivery? Ummm…yes, I suppose I am.

Lisa at delivery

The best part of the delivery was running into the bride and her bridesmaids as they were coming in to set up for the reception. They were literally jumping up and down and shrieking with delight as the cake came out of the box. I think they were happy with it…

Bride and bridesmaids exclaim - Talk Sweet to Me…which makes me very happy too.

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

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Covering a Square Cake with Fondant – And Other Fun

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

This week was busy, but not necessarily because of the cake. Since it was my last week in Sydney, it was filled with good-byes, parties, lunches, and last-minute meetings with friends…in addition to producing 4 cakes:

-2-Tier Round Royal – smooth finish cake

-Magnolia Square cake

-Gold Cross Christening cake

-Wedding cake with horse topper

2-Tier Round Royal

Ummm…not much to say. Same old, same old. It always feels good to have one of these cakes in your week because it can be finished very quickly…which of course leads to a (perhaps superfluous) sense of accomplishment.

smooth royal

Magnolia Square

This cake gave me the most trouble this week. The bride brought in ribbons that she wanted to have replicated on the cake with icing. I had to do a little bit of experimentation to get the look right because the base ribbon was dark purple with a gold sheen to it, and the other, to be placed on top, was a pearlescent lavender color.

Smoothing out the sides of the cake…

smoothing sides

…before sharpening the edges and corners:

sharpening edges

Sharpening square cake corners - Talk Sweet to Me

Stacking the tiers:

Placing top tier of magnolia cake - Talk Sweet to Me

The difficult part was the ribbons for some reason, but Handi came to the rescue, as usual! First we rolled out a piece of icing in a long strip, and made sure it was long enough to get all the way around the layer with a measuring tape (there is nothing more frustrating than preparing the icing ribbon, only to have it turn out to be slightly too short). Then Handi showed me how to roll it up from one end to the other (sort of like bubble tape, if any of you ate that as a kid!), paint water around the base of the cake so it would stick, and then unroll the ribbon around the cake, sticking it as you go. After that, all that is left is trimming the top to the correct height and painting on the gold and pearlescent finishes. Add some magnolias and here it is:

Magnolia wedding cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Gold Cross Christening cake

The cross was made first out of icing and painted gold. I let it dry overnight before transferring it onto the cake.

Making cross for cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Then it was just a matter of adding the base ribbon, securing the cross to the top, and adding a few roses and a message:

Christening Baptism Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Wedding cake with horse topper

Here is Antony’s design drawing:

Antony horse cake design drawing

My job on this cake was basically to do everything but the horse. I cut, ganached, covered, stacked, added ribbon, and placed roses. The horse was best left to the expert, Margie, and it was magnificent. As Antony would say, it was “Be-YOND belief!” It looked exactly like these beautiful Breyer horse models I used to have as a kid…when I wanted to be a jockey and ride horses for a living. I quickly eliminated that from the list of possible career paths when a friend told me I couldn’t eat brownies, cookies, or cake anymore because I had to stay little to be a jockey. Even in third grade, I knew enough to say, “Forget that!”

Here is Margie placing her horse on the cake:

Margie placing horse on cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Margie with horse cake - Talk Sweet to Me

And the finished cake…

Wedding Cake with Horse - Talk Sweet to Me

Flower making

I also had a chance to make some additional flowers this week, so worked on a magnolia and some bamboo for Handi’s cake the following week, and also tulips and lilies, just because I wanted to learn how to do them.

The lily petals dry on their sides and the tulip petals dry in plastic spoons.

Sugar flowers drying - Talk Sweet to Me

The next day I put them together – a magnolia, 2 tulips, and 2 lilies.

All sugar flowers completed - Talk Sweet to Me

Other fun

I was inspired by Margie’s mountain cake this week.

Margie Mountain Cake - Talk Sweet to Me

MARGIE’S MOUNTAIN CAKE

Until next time…

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

 

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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

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.

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Magnolias and Rosebuds

Flashback - talksweettome.com

Originally posted February 20, 2008

Today I started out with a Magnolia Cake. Unfortunately we were all out of white icing until the delivery arrived later that morning, so while I was waiting I prepared the bamboo sticks and the magnolia flower. I made the bamboo sticks with a dowel and white icing, cut the grooves in, and painted on the color with an alcohol/food coloring solution. The magnolia petals and center were already wired and dried, so it was just a matter of assembling the flower with floral tape.

Sugar magnolia and bamboo -Talk Sweet to Me

Sugar bamboo - Talk Sweet to Me

Next I started working on some small sugar rose buds for Handi’s massive castle cake. I started off just adding two layers of petals, then let them dry until later in the afternoon when I would add the third layer.

Hooray, the icing is delivered! I proceeded to cover both tiers of the magnolia cake. However, after they were finished we all discovered that the layers were supposed to be extended height (5”) instead of regular height (3.5”). So, unfortunately, the icing had to be taken off, more cake added to each layer, and both tiers had to be re-ganached. This meant that the cake would be finished by one of the other artists later in the week.

Pink present box cake - Talk Sweet to Me

Because of that, I worked on an Exploding Stars present box cake. I got a lot of practice covering square cakes today! The practice happened to be quite good as I learned that I was actually trying to roll the icing too thin. I started to become frustrated with the number of air bubbles I was getting, and Handi pointed out to me that the white icing was almost beginning to get transparent over the chocolate ganache. A good thing to learn! I finished and boxed this cake, and then it was back to the flowers to add the third layer.

Sugar Rosebuds- Talk Sweet to Me

Here they are on Handi’s cake (just barely visible on the bottom round cakes):

Castle cake by Planet Cake

HANDI’S CASTLE CAKE

In other exciting news, I will be full-time at Planet Cake for the next 5 (busy!) weeks through March and am looking forward to it. Certainly the weeks will fly right on by and I’ll be so immersed in cake that I’ll be dreaming of ganache and icing through most of the weekends. Okay by me!

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com

Story of a Cake: Orange Ombre Petals

Keep on truckin - talksweettome.comI’d love to share with you today that I came up with an amazing vanilla cake recipe to follow up last week’s post on the quest for vanilla cake perfection. Truth is, I’ve had two complete and utter failures since that time. Anyone want a brown vanilla “white” cake that tastes like…nothing? Me neither. I threw a lot of cake in the trash this week. (Maybe seventeenth time’s the charm here?) I’ll keep trying!

On to better topics - talksweettome.comMoving on to more fun things: An orange ombre petals cake. This one was inspired by both the bride’s invitations and a wedding cake photo she found online:

Inspiration Cake - talksweettome.comThe assembly - talksweettome.comA lot of orange petals were made that week, all in different shades of creamsicle. A delicious color!

Orange Ombre Petals - talksweettome.comThose were assembled onto the simple white fondant-covered cake tiers using royal icing, and delivered to the reception venue in Kansas City’s River Market.

Intro - Orange Ombre Petals Cake - talksweettome.comI’ve always loved thinking of cakes as edible sculpture. Like any artwork, sometimes it makes me happy, sometimes it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me crazy, and sometimes I am just relieved to be done with the darn thing. This one felt mostly happy…and a little relieved too, of course.

How do you usually feel when you’re finished with a cake delivery? I hope you said LIKE A ROCKSTAR!

Signature - TalkSweetToMe.com