3 years later seems like a good time to finally write part 3 of this adventure, right?
As I try to write this, I hear my 17 month old upstairs is staging a resistance of nap-time on a snowy afternoon in Georgia. This gives you some indication of why my blog posts have been non-existent. The hours I was once able to spend watching bad reality TV while making gum paste flowers seem to have eviscerated.
But, coming back to the days when I decided to make my own wedding cake developed a list of requirements to make it manageable, I sat down to design. It turns out it's a lot easier to design for a client than for yourself. I mean, my job as a cake designer is to get to know a clients' tastes, look at their wedding or event details that they've already selected, venue, feel, budget, etc. and come up with a cake design for them. Even after I had found a venue and settled on a dress and colors, I found the design freedom to be a little overwhelming.
True to my constraints, I made sure the design could be mostly done and stacked prior to transportation. The gum paste flowers are all in styrofoam tiers so that they could be made and assembled in advance of the cake.
Here is a mock-up using cake pans after I ordered the styrofoam for the flowers and the gear-shaped base board, which I had custom cut from a design I made in InkScape:
The crazy thing about the styrofoam tiers is that you need to add 1-2" for flowers on each side. That means their final diameter is 2-4" wider than the tiers you order. So what looks like a modest amount of surface area to cover requires a LOT more flowers than you think, especially when you want a 360 degree flower explosion, like I did.
I spent a lot of nights making flowers. On a couple of heartbreaking nights I broke flowers.
I started with the large roses, knowing they'd be focal points:
The hypericum berries, before dusting (the little leaves were SO FRAGILE. I broke many.)
The dendrobium orchids, hand painted:
The ranunculus, in various stages of completion, before dusting:
So. Many. Petals. I put each one on by hand. Little circles. Many times I asked myself 'why ranunculus??'
Lining them up... this doesn't include all the leaves/ assembling the orchid clusters, etc. There was a lot of floral tape.
Starting to assemble the middle tier:
I had to cover the styrofoam with black tights so that white spots wouldn't pop out through the greenery. It was very tricky.
After all the floral tiers were completed, I carefully stored them out of sunlight. I baked the cake tiers a couple weeks in advance and stored them in the freezer. And somehow, it was all coming together...