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Monday, March 1, 2010

That Takes the Cake 2010: "Something Blue"

That Takes the Cake 2010
Adult Beginner - Wedding Tiered
"Something Blue"
(+15 skill points => 285 / 400)

This was my wedding cake entry.  I never really had a solid design for this cake, but it was something I wanted to push myself into trying.

  • 6", 8", and 10" round styrofoam cake dummies
  • covered in home-made fondant (colored tiers in Michele Foster's recipe, middle tier in Toba Garrett's recipe)
  • cornelli lace with Royal Icing
  • fondant swags and ribbon roses
  • sitting on 13" ceramic cake stand from Sur La Table, covered in fondant and wrapped with a satin ribbon
This cake was not supposed to be blue.  It was purple.  Seriously!  Look.  This was the bottom tier a week ago.  I used Wilton's violet gel.  Never again, I say.

It took several tries to cover these dummies with fondant.  There's a bunch of things that can go wrong in between rolling it out and the final smoothing.  Each tier had to be retried.  The dummies kept sliding around as I tried to lay my fondant over it.  The bottom was the most difficult because it was so large and the fondant was so long.

The tier on the top left was never used ... it was too yellowish and the quilting impression mat isn't the best with fondant. 

On Thursday I ran out and bought a steamer from Walmart.  It was pretty neat!  It erased all the residual cornstarch on the surface of the fondant and gave it a more even and consistent look.


It was funny to wave this magic wand and make fondant all shiny.


My before and after shots aren't great, so just trust me.  It was only $30, and, well, now I can steam my clothes instead of ironing them.

After stacking the tiers, I piped the cornelli lace on the bottom tier.  Dear God, it hurt so much.  My icing was too stiff, so I had to stop and thin it out.  Then it was just a tad too thin, but I said screw it.  After finishing the tier, I seriously couldn't straighten my right arm.  It was stuck clenched for a few moments.

Using my Wilton ribbon cutter, I tried to make strips of wavy fondant to make a border for the tiers.  That cutter blows, don't buy it.  It didn't really so much as cut as smoosh the fondant.  It was getting late, so again I said screw it and pasted it on.

This was my first time to make swags.  I researched on the internet before hand.  I placed a rectangular piece of fondant on top of 3 wooden dowels.  The dowels help you bunch up the fondant to make ruffles? pleats? swags?  The swags were glued to the cake with some watered-down and melted fondant.

Ribbon roses were rolled and placed to hide the ends of the swags.  They were glued down with royal icing.  I noticed the royal icing blended well with the white fondant, so I brushed some in to any cracks or imperfections I had.  That hid a lot of mistakes.

The top was supposed to have a bunch of ribbon roses.  Screw that!  That'd take a long time.  More cornelli lace, I say!  It was so much easier to pipe downward than on the sides of the cake!!!

In the end, I had a 3-tiered wedding cake that actually turned out pretty.  It didn't win anything, but I'm still proud.  The beginners' division had crazy beautiful cakes!


Here are the judges' comments:
Perfect fondant covering!  Love the colors.  Cornelli lace is great.  You paid attention to every detail, even the board!  You're getting good!
UPDATE (03/03/2010)
I've had a few days to relax and reflect on my cakes.  Here's what I concluded.

  • The color purple.  That's what I wanted, but lost.  I'm not even sure what happened, but I really need to get me a full set of Americolor gels.  All my Wilton ones dry out and now I can even trust what color they are.
  • No design.  Well, I had many designs, but none I liked.  I settled for trying something new: swags.  In the end I think my cake was pretty simple and definitely nothing special at a competition.  Otherwise it's a very lovely wedding cake.  I'm going to keep it like this for as long as I can.  It's just styrofoam and sugar ... 
  • Swags need to dry.  My swags were a bit limp.  I didn't realize they needed to dry for a bit before placing them.  They didn't quite "drape" ... they "hung".
  • Wilton ribbon cutter sucks.  Don't get it.  Get another brand, I'm sure it'll be better.  I was too tired to redo it, so I settled for a rough wavy band around the bottom of my tiers.
  • swag badge earned!
  • cornelli lace badge earned!
    • This was simple yet so hard.  My icing needed to be a better consistency.  I was rushing it.  It really could have looked better, but you know, I don't think anyone can really tell.  The judges certainly thought it was acceptable.
  • The colors still turned out pretty.  I wasn't able to use the original purple trim I bought for the cake stand, but luckily I had some plain white satin ribbon.
  • Cake stand is perfect.  It was a great size, it was raised just enough, and it was very sturdy.  I want to shop more at Sur La Table.  Pronounce it like "Sir - la - tahb" and not like "Sir - la - table" ... if you don't, you'll feel stupid when the 411 information guy corrects you when you call for directions.
I'm going to keep this cake for as long as I can!

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