Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm back... with cake

First of all, let me apologize for another lapse of blog posts. I tend to get in a blogging groove, writing multiple posts each week, and then all of a sudden I fall off the face of the planet. Fear not people, I'm still here cooking and baking and cake decorating.

But life's been a bit insane since my visit to the Union Street Festival last month. And by insane I mean ridiculously awesome...

With all these goings on I just haven't been able to cook and blog as much as normal. But I have a bunch of posts in the pipeline I can't wait to share with everyone. It's likely that I won't be posting every day or every other day. But my goal is to get back on track and post at least once a week. Hope you'll still stick with me and that today's post is well worth the wait.

Did you guys know that it's been over 6 months since I've made a cake! I mean I've made cupcakes since then, but I haven't decorated a bona fide cake since this baby shower cake from November. I almost couldn't believe how long it'd been. But I'm more than making up for it these days, because I've not only made two cakes in the past two weeks, I'm making my friend's wedding cake next month. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee. So excited.

Today's cake is a birthday cake I made for Aimee, a woman in my cake club, for our birthday cake exchange. You might recall that Aimee made me a kick-ass cake for my 30th birthday. I don't think I lived up to the awesomeness that was her cake, but I tried out a new technique for 3D flowers that I think turned out pretty well. (Click on the photos for larger versions.)

This tissue paper (part of my bridesmaid gift from my best friend's wedding) served as my primary inspiration. It's interesting how a napkin or a pair of shoes or tissue paper or other random stuff will strike me as inspiration for cake decorating.

Then I saw this wedding cake from the Confetti Cakes blog that I absolutely fell in love with. I loved the 3D effect of putting little teeny flowers together to make a larger flower. It really makes the cake pop with personality!

So with my two inspirational pieces (the tissue paper and cake above), I came up with this:

I've got a bunch of step-by-step photos and comments after the jump if you're interested to learn more about this cake.

So I made each of the 3D flowers by putting small gumpaste flowers or petals onto half-domes (made of fondant).

Naked flowers and my first finished product (using a petal cutter)

With the rest of the photos I'll demonstrate how I made the yellow flower.

First, you've got to roll out your gumpaste (or fondant/gumpaste mixture) fairly thinly.

Then, use your teeny, tiniest flower (or petal) cutter to cut out a ton of flowers. These were enough to cover maybe 1/4 or 1/3 of the final product.

Next is the key to the finished product: texture. In the pink flower above you can see how I pinched the petals to give them an organic feel. Before I did that the petals looked flat; both literally and figuratively. But doing something as simple as pinching or curving really brings your flowers to life. With these little yellow flowers I used some flower making tools (a sponge and a wooden dowel) to press the flat flowers into a more rounded, natural looking shape.

And as a last step, I "glued" the individual flowers onto the fondant dome (using a dab of water) and gave them a little press to really stick them on there.

The more you pack your little flowers the more awesome the final flower bloom will look.

If this is a technique you'd be interested in doing I'd recommend sticking with smaller half domes.  I think my little yellow, pink and orange flowers came out awesome, but the larger ones (orange, blue, purple) looked weird. I guess if your cake was HUGE they'd look OK, but for the 8" cake I made I think they were entirely too large.

Also, I think the technique works particularly well with tiered cakes vs. single layer ones. Not that I've done it with tiered cakes, but I think my flowers would have looked better on the side of a cake (like in the inspiration photo) than plopped on top. So even though my final cake didn't look exactly like I'd imagined in my head, I think it came out pretty nice.

Happy decorating,


Mara said...


Tamara Marnell said...

Lovely! I've always wished that I could decorate cakes, and it's on my personal wish-list to take a course one day, but for now I will simply "ooh" and "ahh" over yours :D

Barbara said...

Fantastic, much better than the run of the mill roses. Very pretty. I always enjoy reading your blog. I have tried many of your recipes and they were very tasty. One of my favorites was the potatoes with caramelized onions!

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