Friday, September 3, 2010

Let them eat cake!

It's been almost 2 weeks since my daughter's big wedding day. I suppose it's time I start sharing. You've all been so patient with me but I suppose it's time I start sharing all the wedding prep joy.

I hope to have wedding pics next week and can share those with you too, but in the meantime, I want to share the thing that was truly out of my comfort zone, but had the most fun doing.

I had originally decided to do a 5-tier wedding cake, starting with a 16" square base. But the more I thought about it and talked to friends who had receptions recently, I got the feeling that was a bit of a waste.
Why spend $ or time making this grand cake which no one eats until the very end of the reception by which time they are full of other things.

So I choose to go with a hybrid cake & cupcakes set-up. I happened to have a gorgeous 3 tier silver piece that I knew would be perfect. I put the smaller 3-tier cake on top and use the lower tiers for cupcakes.

The cupcakes got eaten (more on that later), the pretty cake remained pretty for most of the reception, was enough to cut into for the traditional mushing cake into groom shot and the little top cake went into the freezer for the traditional 1st year anniversary.

I really loved how it turned out, but try as I might I can't help seeing all the little imperfections everytime I see a picture. This doesn't discourage me, I take up the gauntlet! I am challenged! More cake please! I'm dying to make another one!
It all started out with making the cakes and finding a recipe I loved. I'm a little surprised that the one I picked was a hybrid cake-mix and scratch ingredients, but honestly, it tasted the best and was super moist. I LOVE this recipe. I got it originally from Carrie Lowe and made a few little changes here and there.

Double Lemon Cake

1 package lemon cake mix
1 C sour cream
1 Lemon (rind and juice)
3/4 C water, less the juice from the lemon
3/4 C oil
4 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 small package lemon instant pudding

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. I juiced the lemon, poured it into a measuring cup and then added enough water to take it to the 3/4 cup level. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Use a strong mixer, this batter is thick.
For cupcakes, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (I was able to get 24 very full cupcakes from the recipe). For regular cake, pour into a greased 9×11 pan or two round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Don’t over bake or the cake will be too dry! The toothpick test works to check to see if they’re done.

I repeated the same basic recipe for the chocolate cake (yes, I did several), but used chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding and orange juice for the water with orange extract instead of vanilla. Orange rind would have really popped the orange taste, but I didn't have any fresh and didn't have time to get them. But next time I would try that.

What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. Vanilla cake? Coconut? Just switch out the cake mix, pudding and liquids.
I used a 10", 8" and 6" cake form, using several layers to get the height. I froze them and took them out when I was ready to decorate.

Next step was the decorations. This was absolutely the most challenging part of making this cake. I refused to be daunted. I've watched Linda McClures videos, I've seen her cakes, I knew it must be possible!! But let me tell you, it was hard. BIG learning curve.
I borrowed my friend, Alisa Bangerter's Cricut Cake, but feel very comfortable using my regular Cricut next time.

There are two things to remember about cutting gum paste on your cricut. Wilton dry mix gum paste will NOT work. It's a very soft product compared to a pre-made gum paste and just wouldn't firm up enough to get a perfect cut. The Wilton Mix was perfect for other things though, but I'll talk about that when I post about cupcakes.

I was running out of time, so I ordered Linda McClure's gumpaste (they really did me a big favor, so I love them!) but I also picked some up at Orson Gygis. I only ended up using Linda's gumpaste because it worked perfectly, but will try the other one another time.
I would also try making it, you know, when I have lots of extra time! LOL

The other thing for successful cricut gumpaste cuts is letting the gum paste cure. I suggest watching Linda McClure's videos she has on Youtube, they were really helpful.
Her gumpaste is so hard, that you really had to put it through a pasta machine to get the thinness I wanted. So, one night my hubby helped me roll all the gumpaste out. I placed it on clear mylar sheets and stored it all in a large ziplock bag.

The next day, a good 12 hours at least, it was ready to cut. You have to find this perfect stage of the gumpaste where it's cured enough to cut smoothly, but not dried out. I finally got it and was in cricut cake making heaven!

I sprayed my pieces with edible pearl mist and then sprinkled edible glitter on it. At the time I was planning on a tone-on-tone cake, so I wanted them to stand out a bit.
A few days later, ready to put the cake together (the day before the wedding), I pulled the frozen cakes out and put fondant on. I have a recipe for making fondant, but again, due to time, just purchased it. At the last moment I decided to color the fondant and due a gradual color movement from Yellow to white. I liked how that looked and it helped the gumpaste pieces stand out.

Once they were done (and yes, I know I need more practice here), I started 'glueing' my gumpaste pieces on with crisco. I also invested in a gumpaste pearl string mold and had made a bunch of those the day before. It came together pretty quickly and I was so, so pleased and more importantly my daughter was.
It was a lot of work, but I saved money and did something I've always wanted to try. I have new-found respect for ALL cake decorators. It is quite a skill, one which I hope to hone over the years.


shortandsweet said...

I have a new respect for you...and for my mom who did my wedding cake. I have started collecting the fun tools for cake decorating, but haven't practiced much yet. Congrats on such a wonderful job!

Teresa said...

A fabulous job and I don't see any flaws at all. My mother did cake decorating for about 30 I have seen LOTS of cakes....I can't wait to show your pictures to her...I know she will LOVE your work :-)

kwgirl said...

I've always had such respect for people who make and decorate their own cakes....especially when they taste as good as they look! I thought it was a job really well surprise there:)

Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust said...

Hi Sue, Great cake! Impressive! Geez, you are so cute on Studio 5 - a natural! Loved the BYU & U segment. The store where I work sells both cookbooks. We are locally owned & would love the business if any of your viewers want to know where to buy them! The link for the web site is: .

Warmly, Michelle

Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust said...

Hi Sue, Great cake! Impressive! Geez, you are so cute on Studio 5 - a natural! Loved the BYU & U segment. The store where I work sells both cookbooks. We are locally owned & would love the business if any of your viewers want to know where to buy them! The link for the web site is: .

Warmly, Michelle

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