Friday, November 23, 2012

Italian Butter Cream Wedding Cake Part II

I am relieved yet excited that my wedding cake was a huge success.  The wedding couple was very happy with the design and most of all it was a delicious cake that everyone enjoyed.

I just wanted to recap how I decorate the cake.  I used fresh flowers to decorate the cake.  The couple wanted me to use baby's breath and Pink Hydrangea to decorate the cake.  Since these are all small little flowers, it might not stay fresh for long periods of time.  So I make sure to soak them in water at least overnight and make sure they are fresh and wait till the last minute to assemble it onto the cake.  Soaking it also prevent excess dirt or pesticide from transferring to the cake. 

First step, I made the cake topper.  I twist several 20 gauge wire into the bride and groom initials M and C.  I surrounded the initials with wet cotton.  Then using very fine silver wires, I secure little pieces of Baby's breath onto a initials. 

Then I cut bits and pieces of Hydrangeas and place them loosely around the cake giving it an accent of light pink.  I also place a thin off white ribbon on the base of each layer.  But next time, I would prefer to use a thicker ribbon or fondant to surround the cake and use colors that will match with the flowers.  I did not want to have too much flowers around the cake.  Simple and intimate was what I have in mind. 

So the cake is done, it is not over!  The worse part is yet to come.  DELIVERING the cake is next.  In Hong Kong, we don't have office depot.  It was very hard for me to find a huge sturdy and clean box for my cake.  I need a 18x18x18 box to house my cake.  So finally I went to the post office and found myself a box that will hold 50lbs of goods.  The postman was shocked when he found out I was using it to transport a cake! 

I carefully place non skid mats in the box.  Then I place my cake on a sheet pan and another mat to make sure my cake is not going anywhere during the journey.  Then I place it in and closing the box and carefully place it in the trunk of my car!

I was driving so slow the whole time and next time, I will put a sign on my rear window delivering a wedding cake so people won't kill me on the road.  I was so worried that the cake will move or tip over.  Well everything went perfectly.  30minutes later the cake and I arrived to the venue safely. 

Well, a week later and I still have some nightmares about broken wedding cakes.  Else than that, I am already having other ideas to make different style of wedding cakes.  So let me know if we can help!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making a Pink Hydrangeas Italian Butter Cream Wedding Cake Part 1

It is November and all of a sudden I am knee deep with cakes and catering.  Today I am working on a wedding cake for a very nice couple.  Since I have been avoiding baking for the last 15 months because of school, it is refreshing again to do such a project.  People always say you have such steady hands beautiful design but I realize practice makes perfect.  For those of you who follow my fb and instagram, you will know I have been piping a lot of ruffles on my cake.  I have also started doing some sugar gum paste figurines.  All these techniques that I learn from my Wilton cake decorating class finally paid off.  Besides from practice, I also learn lots of good stuff on youtube and get ideas from google images.  How to stack a cake, how to transport a cake, how to fix icing....the list goes on.  I also took a year worth of classes from Greenfingers Florist and learn so much about putting a bouquet together, the architecture of floral arrangements and how to handle flowers. 

Today is a project that utilize both my floral arrangement skills and my baking and cake decorating experience.  I am making a 25lb Wedding cake with my favourite combo.  French Vanilla Italian Butter Cream, Rich Chocolate Cake and Lemon zest Vanilla Butter Cake.  The couple ask me if I can do a simple design with just flower and smooth finish, I was really worried I would mess things up.  It might look easy with no piping at all but I think it is the most difficult task to make a simple yet beautiful cake.  There are no room for error.  Everything has to be perfect, every level has to match and the icing has to be smooth as ice.  I said I would try and I want to share my experience with you all. 

My cake is about 25lb feed100ppl, I used 4 batches of Vanilla Cake for my 12 inch bottom layer.  Then 1.5 batches chocolate for my 9inch middle and 1 batch for my 6inch top.  I also use 5 batches of my Italian Butter Cream.  I used a 2 16" cake foam and cardboard and I covered it with off white fondant.  I did not use sugar flowers this time and tomorrow I will be assembling my cake topper and the pink Hydrangeas around it.  I want to make sure my flowers are nice and fresh!

I fell in love with Italian butter cream because it is delicious and so smooth to work with.  It makes everything look so smooth, soft and elegant with a glow.  With some practice, we can do beautiful natural designs without the extra cost of fondant.  It is such a waste to see people pay for fondant and nobody except my 4 years old will eat it, especially in Hong Kong.  So why pay for something you will throw away, why not choose a cake that is both delicious and beautiful.  It can happen!

Just smoothed cake before refrigeration overnight

Italian Butter Cream does not dry, so I have to refrigerate to get it solid enough for me to smooth.  I first layer my cakes into equal thickness, then I pipe my icing using a large flat tip in between each layers to maintain similar thickness of icing.  With everything remain the same, my three tiers of cake come out to be exactly 4 inch high each!

I crumb the exterior of the cake by spreading a really thin layer of icing evenly around the cake, catching all the crumbs and place inside the fridge for about 2 hours until it hardens.  Use latex gloves while decorating, cream is slippery and messy. I pipe using a large flat tip again for even layers and I try to smooth it as even as possible using a small angle spatula.  Then I use a wide scraper and smooth the cake by turning the cake stand and scraping excess uneven icing, this part took the longest.  After all layers are done, refrigerate again, I did it over night so my cake is nice and firm to move around.  After that is harden, I scrap again the sides with the scraper until it is as smooth as possible to my ability. 

Assemble time! This is the scariest part I think.  I cut 9 paper straws with lollipop sticks inside and place it into the cake as foundation.  I CAREFULLY place the cake layer on top of each other and center it .  I use a focus point so I put the best side of each tier facing that point.

 I am ready to secure my cake.  I cut a wooden stick slightly shorter than the height of the cake.  I sharpen one end and poke it through the entire height of the cake down to the base board.  Now the three tiers are forever united! After fixing the edge and some minor accidents,  my 25lb cake is born. 

Tomorrow is dress up time!!! Cannot wait!  Time Spent so far: 7 hrs