This was a stressful 2 days... it was our Wedding cake class final but reminisced something more like a scene from a horrible 'Masterchef' challenge. We had to bake one tier from scratch (including torting and icing), stack with the 2 other dummy tiers and decorate the whole 3 tiers within 10 hrs.... AHHHH!!
There were 3 themes with a whole bunch of requirements:
1. Abstract Nature
2. Modern Geometric
The one that I got given was Abstract nature. I had to come up with a design and execute it within that 10 hr time frame, with the requirements of using complimentary colours in my design, displaying 5 different techniques used, use of fondant, neat borders etc etc.
Being the over enthusiastic crazy child that I am, I got a little carried away with my design. But to be fair, I wanted to push myself too which is why I didnt go with the A - Typical design of having flowers and in particular, blossoms and branches cascading down the cake, even though that would have been slap bang on the requirements and quite easy to do, as you can just punch out mass amounts of blossoms quite quickly.
I decided to mix modernism with the classic look as I'm a real fan of understated elegance, theres something about the simplicity yet delicacy of that look that really appeals to me. In the design I had elegant swirling patterns to symbolise the branches which also formed part of a lace pattern. Gumpaste flowers of different sizes were scattered off this detailed and smaller blossoms were also used to add a finishing touch to the overall look of the cake.
The topper for the cake was a bouquet of the larger gumpaste flowers as it helped to tie in the other flowers scattered over the cake. The second tier also had handmade pearls as a touch of opulence. I know that the flowers might look like I got a little carried away with the petal dust and decided on all colours of the rainbow but it actually was very meticulously thought out! My favourite colour is purple so originally I started with this and yellow (as they are complimentary colours). But I thought to myself that it was a little boring just having two colours so I threw in some pink, which is on the same side of the colour wheel as purple so that would work. Now this looked good but it was a little 'flat' there was no dimension in the fact that it all the colours were too similar almost, so I decided to throw in a touch of apple green and thats when the flowers came to life! Really pays to know your colour wheel and how the colours work together :)
So how did I go? ... Here were the turn of events over the 2 days...
Day 1: Baked the real cake and made all the icings (buttercream and royal). The cake cooled in time so I was able to torte and fill with buttercream then ice the entire tier with the crumb coat. I enrobed the 2 dummy cakes and started making the gumpaste flowers, as you need to let this harden for at least a few hours before painting with petal dust. I coloured the fondant and managed to punch out the little blossoms, of course I did not know how many I would need so I made 50 of each colour. I also made the fondant pearls. I stacked the two dummy cakes together and started on the decorations that needed to be attached onto the cake too. All this in 5 hrs isnt too bad... but heres where the rush begins....
Day 2: I continued to make and attach decorations onto the cake. This was very time consuming but not as much as painting the flowers. All the different colours made the painting process a long one. I had to apply one colour at a time and with the right pressure and intensity so it didn't look like a paintball job! lol
Then the time came to stack the cake. This caused me alot of grief and was when the first lot of problems or 'challenges' started. As the bottom tier was the real cake and the two above were the dummy cakes, it had shrunk during the baking process both in width and height. Chef (thats what we call our teacher) didnt take this into account and so as a result the top two dummy cakes were bigger than the bottom tier, especially with the middle tier being a square, it looked awkward. I thought, oh thats fine I'll just attach the square tier off centre and pipe stringwork in the corners. So I was along my happy merry little way until I actually stuck the dummies on. Now because the weight of these dummies were next to nothing. It left a massive gap between the bottom tier and the second tier. Gosh that annoyed me to no end. I tried to push it down, even went as far as placing weights on the top to push it down but it just wouldn't budge. In the end I had to improvise and make a pretty little border around the bottom of the second tier to cover the gap.
Attaching the flowers onto the cake were a bit of a drama too because they were on the side and the flowers were quite heavy, it wouldn't stay... it wasn't feasible for me to wait for the glue (royal icing) to dry because that would not only take ages but I also don't have that many hands... so what to do? Tooth picks! Yes, thats right! I stuck tooth picks into the cake underneath the flower and balanced it on there until it dried! Perfecto! In no time at all I had a bunch of toothpicks sticking out of my cake like a bommyknocker, but hey it worked!
Next was the string work, I had to pipe the 'lace' between the swirls. This was always going to be a tough challenge. It took me ages to get right and to pipe straight is really really really hard. But thankfully I got it done :) The suspended stringwork in the corners also gave me some grey hairs. I would pipe the first lot on then when I went to add to it they would break, let me tell you there were quite alot of "F's" and "S's"
Eventually, I finished it off with piping a bead border, details on the swirls and insides of the little blossoms. I also used white shimmer dust on the swirls and the pearls (HA that rhymes!)
I still cant believe I was able to finish this under the pressure and amount of time we were given. But I guess I worked with what I had and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the out come :)
The wedding cake monster! RAHHH!!
These were the rest of the other cakes in the class ♥
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