Friday, July 16, 2010

A sparkle of life for a momentous cake

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman

Kudos to my parents for sending me to a Wilton cake class when I was younger! When I received it as a gift I thought it would be pretty neat to be able to learn those beautiful techniques that I'd seen in my mother's old Wilton decorating books she had.

I do remember my first attempt at an elaborate cake, one for my cousin's wedding shower. It was the perfect shower cake, umbrella and all! You never forget the first time, no matter if it was a failed attempt or a true success, but I must say I did extremely well and was oh-so proud! But over the years I haven't been able to utilize too many of those techniques I learned, mainly b/c I haven't made too many cakes that require elaborate decorations.

But years later here I am with birthdays and holidays abound I'm sort of able to test out one or two new things at a time. And of course time is not on my side for the planning stage, the hours needed for tinting colors, decorating and then the massive clean-up afterwards. Needless to say I'm mastered the star tip for the kids molded cakes pans because of it's ease and simplicity. But it wasn't until here lately that I've been experimenting with different cakes themselves that I've wanted to spruce up the decorations.

Again, I'm working with little or no time, it's always the days I have a cake to decorate that the boys don't nap or go down late for bed! So an hour during naps for making the cakes one afternoon, the next day's hour for making the icings, and then alllll that night for the decorating! But alas, I'm not complaining, it's truly fun and such an outlet to get the creative juices flowing again!

The one I just completed this evening was for a family members 90th birthday. My Aunt asked me to make a cake and left no specifics, how great! I knew it had to feed alot of people and taste good so I first decided the flavors of the cake. I don't have a large sheet cake but I do have a large round, I knew I could do something like the cake I made for Carter's party and it would feed plenty of people.

I can't wait to try the bottom layer tomorrow! Homemade white cake with strawberries and butter cream, yum! It didn't help that the strawberries were leaking thru the icing this evening before the cake went into the fridge, such a tease of sweetness! Then there was the top. I had a spice cake I was eager to make so there it was, spice with a cream cheese icing. Then it was time to plan out the decorations.

(I was so excited to use the new strawberry cutting technique I learned too, it worked really well!)

As soon as I got to sit down and think about it I immediately thought of incorporating those long pencil-like wafer cookies on the cake, don't ask me why, it just popped into my head and I knew I had to use them somehow! I then had high hopes of sugar flowers and trying out a Cornelli lace piping on the sides of the bottom layer... then reality kicked in and I knew I wouldn't have the time!

But what was better than sugar flowers than the real thing!!! I love adding flowers to everything, it was my favorite thing to do in a creative teaching course I took at Towson Univ., I always tried to weasel in a dried flower or use symbolism for the meaning of flowers into each piece of artwork :) My favorites, hydrangeas, are in bloom this time of year- PERFECT! The blue ones were my first choice but they bloomed first this season so they've about had it by now and some are starting to wilt, but my pink bush is in full bloom and has new sprouts still growing.

Besides, the color pink has a universal meaning of love and a hydrangea symbolizes friendship, devotion, and understanding. But I most like the saying that the flower stands for a person possessing enduring grace and beauty- perfect for this occasion!

Fresh flowers enhance everything they touch and make it that more appealing! Tomorrow I'll add them for real and maybe a few springs to the side of the lettering. Which I had to improvise b/c I thought I still had some fondant left, but of course I didn't. So back to scratch I went to make a cookie instead. I couldn't see just writing on the cake itself, it needed a title not graffiti.

Still wish I had time to do the decorative piping on the sides of the bottom cake. It's nearly midnight, but I do still have some pink icing left... we'll have to see if there's energy leftover after this post...

(12:45am)... sleep's over rated :) I had to add it, there was too much icing left over to just toss it and thankfully this technique doesn't demand precision!

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