I disappeared from the blog for the last week, and so apologies for the silence! Our Masters cohort had our seminars last Friday, wherein we had to deliver a presentation on our research to not only our peers, but to all the other students and academics in the department as well. Not only did we have to deal with the usual fear of public speaking, but also the knowledge that our research could be torn apart by the academics during question time. Add to this the knowledge that we would be graded on our presentation as well as our ability to handle question time and we were all wrecks! My week was spent preparing and rehearsing and trying to get all my data analysed in time. It was the most busy and stressed and pressured I, and we as a collective group, have been for our whole degree.
It was exactly the time when I should have been saying no to commissions. Especially to commissions for occasions as important as a wedding.
I'm incredibly bad at saying, "no".
It was a good practise of the time management skills I've been perfecting throughout the last 7 years of University degrees.
The couple were having a small and intimate ceremony, and so required something of a managable size at least.
They wanted a strawberry cake. I baked two and cut each into two layers.
I layered these with a chocolate buttercream that's made with real chocolate, so it sets and holds shape well.
I then gave them a 'dirty' coat of buttercream to sit under the fondant.
For the external design, my brief was for a cake covered in white, embossed fondant with a heart of red roses.
I was admittedly nervous the moment they said embossed fondant. I've only covered cupcakes and a small cake with embossed fondant. It's difficult to roll the fondant as thin as I like to without the embosser cutting right through the fondant. But the hardest part is covering the cake with embossed fondant without tearing or warping the pattern. It's impossible to do without minimal distortion unless you use the wrap around method, but that leaves a seam. So you have to work quickly but carefully to shape the fondant but not pull at it too hard, or smooth it so much that you erase the pattern. I've not had to do that on such a large scale before. It was definitely a challenge.
So when it worked first try there was much joyous dancing around my kitchen. Gangnam Style.
In fact, the whole process went fairly smoothly. I had to give myself a bit of a crash course in making fondant roses again. My first two were a little bodgy. But once I got into the swing of it, it got a lot better.
The example photos I was given as a rough indication of what they wanted was more of a floral spray. I thought the leaves looked messy and so I wanted to refine it a little.
One lesson I've been slow at learning is that less is often more. I have a tendency to crowd, to want to do as much as I can on a cake. Instead, this time I stuck to the two tones of red against white. I made the roses somwhere in betwenn cartoony and realism. I made a dozen of these roses and attached them to the cake in a heart shape. I much preferred this look.
To bulk up the heart shape a little, instead of rose leaves, I made little rose buds to sit in between the roses.
I gave the cake to my sister to take care of and she took it to her friends and gorgeous couple, Lakshmi and Jessica:
Here's them cutting the cake at the reception.
My sister has been around me and the blog long enough to have seen comments lamenting that lack of a look at the inside, so she snapped a shot for you guys!