Sunday, November 4, 2012

City-Inspired Wedding Cake

 This cake has been a pet project of mine for a while now.  My friend Mandi had requested I do her wedding cake back in the spring, and I had so much fun designing this cake for her occasion.  I worked on the gum paste components on the side over the last month, and needless to say, I didn't sleep much the couple days before her event.  It was totally worth it to see this design come together.

Let's go way back to the design.

Mandi was great to work with-- she gave me photos of her dress, the bridesmaids' dresses, a color swatch, save the date, centerpieces, etc.  She told me she was doing a city theme and was thinking of maybe using the king and queen buildings that are iconic on GA 400 as inspiration.

To give the cake an architectural look, I mixed square and round cake tiers and got the idea of adding a topper to look a little like the queen building.  My goal was to fuse architecture with feminine flair, so I thought of building a gum paste peony and bud into the the topper.

As you can imagine, getting those gum paste 'straps' to stand up like that required all of my cunning.  And I had to put the peony in before adding the second strap...

Another idea I had in my head was inspired by an old cake decorating magazine where I saw someone build a filigree tier out of pastillage for a cake show.  I thought, why not do it for a real cake, in gum paste instead of pastillage, and add some building profiles to add to the city theme.  The artist in me thought to put more gum paste flowers inside the mesh and the engineer in me thought... how about a light source so that when the sun sets the whole filigree is illuminated...

It is hard to see the light in broad daylight, but you can see it catching one of the rose petals (it is mounted to the top of a clear cake plate).   If I can get pictures of the cake from the reception after night fall, I will share them with you.  The bride told me the light worked! :)

Here are the gum paste roses and leaves that went inside the filigree tier.  I just clustered 3 roses and some leaves while I was setting up so no styrofoam was required.

The piping on the two round tiers was inspired by the details on the bride's wedding dress.  It is was hand piped with royal icing and then hand painted in silver luster.  The silver detail on the top tier around the topper was done the same way.

Sorry for the backlight (though the scenery is amazing!).  This venue is on a 14th floor downtown near the aquarium here in Atlanta.   You can imagine the view is gorgeous day and night.

The silver beads were done with gray 50/50 paste (half fondant, half gum paste) using a pearl mold and then painted silver to match the piping.

The squares on the bottom tier are actually an underlay-- I made fondant squares a day or so in advance and let them dry.  I adhered them to the bottom tier before putting on the fondant and then carefully smoothed to reveal the design using both my hands and some tools to enhance the details.

Here is a view from the back (with less back light):

And one more from the front!

Delivery to the 14th floor presented its own set of challenges.  It took a long walk and 2 different (slow) elevators to get all the bits and pieces up to the venue.  The bottom half consisted of a custom wooden board, plus the square and round cakes which together probably weighed 60 lbs.  I could not have done it without the help of the boyfriend, Craig, who assisted with heavy lifting, sandwich delivery, and general moral support.  If you decorate cakes then you know-- it's not over till you actually deliver it and get it set up.

I really enjoyed seeing this cake come together and pushing myself to try new techniques.  Thanks for looking and happy caking!