Since I’ve started Van Goh Cakes, the vision of my cake business would range widely from birthday cakes, up to wedding cakes. I like the idea of wedding cakes, not only because you get this sense of bewilderment and excitement from the designs you see on magazines and photos look beautiful – flowers, piping, stenciling yadda yadda yadda, but it is also the centre piece of most wedding receptions. Recently, I find that most weddings do not hold wedding cakes as the highlight of the wedding, but merely a sweet treat after a nice meal at the reception. What are your thoughts? Do contemporary cakes make a statement as much as it used to back in the day?
I was very excited when I was approached to have a cake for a wedding in April. I could not contain my excitement when I secured the order with Sue. She was recommended to me by an ex-colleague which goes to show the power of word of mouth advertising. The best part of this order was she gave me free reign on the design of the cake. Her brief to me was to provide the colours purple, cream, ivory and gold. Going by the photos of cakes she gave me, I had a better idea of incorporating those colours and gave her my pitch – gold little blossoms on a ivory cake, with a purple ribbon. She said good to go, and so I went to execute my idea.
Most of the time I have a reference and I would have an idea of a cake in my head. I should draw them out, but I’m no good at drawing. I used to love drawing when I was younger, but I never really honed on it. Now, here I am struggling in my late 20s trying to draw a proper shape of a cake haha.
Anyway, just to illustrate how I went about with the cake, I started off making little blossoms for the cake as I would know that would be the most time-consuming process of getting this cake done. I rolled out gumpaste in the pasta machine, up to number three so it’s thin enough. I then use my little blossoms ejectors to pump out those little blossoms in different sizes. Once they’re done, I left them to dry out for a day so that it hardens up before I added gold luster dust to them.
As the next two days went, the Melbourne weather decided that we needed humidity, and my oh my, was it the most painful thing ever! My little blossoms were soft to touch, some even “wilting” from the moisture in the air. Painting them individually was a difficult chore as it is because they were not only small and hard to manipulate with my fingers, but also they were going soft in my hands. I persevered, and I got there in the end.
There has been many misconceptions of using gold luster dust on cake creations – whilst many would deem it is inedible, the matter of fact is they are usually labelled non-toxic. There are a few brands out there that are not suitable for eating, and in this case I picked the two brands that would not be a problem if ingested – Caroline’s and Rolkem. Sue wanted a few shades of gold and I was more than happy to offer the gold dusts that I had!
While the flowers were drying, I had my yummy white chocolate mud cake baked. White chocolate ganache was made, cake was layered and filled with ganache the next day, and then covered with ivory-coloured fondant . For those who are reading and would like to know what cake decorators do, humidity and cake decorating do not go hand in hand! The weather that week was making the fondant become sticky, so covering the cake and smoothing was taking longer than it should. But I got there in the end, most excitingly I was happy to have achieved the sharp edges on the cake in this humidity that I did a little dance (LOL).
Next step was to add the gold blossoms and the purple ribbons. The gold blossoms were arranged and stuck on with edible glue, and I made little centres on them with some royal icing. Some of the bigger blossoms had pearl dragees instead. I was trying out different shades of purple ribbon on the cake, when Miss Lynn mentioned that the ribbon was too narrow (it was 10mm wide). Oops. My next instinct was to put two ribbons together and wrapped around the cake, and what happened next was a stroke of genius. What amazed me was the two ribbons of different tones worked so well together! So I asked Sue on her opinion and she left it to me, and so I proceeded with sticking them on. Finally, it’s all done!
I’m pleased that Sue enjoyed it, but most of all she and her guests loved the flavour of the cake. Thank you again Sue for letting me have a professional shot of the cake at the venue with thanks to Blastoff Photography (which was my first, yiiippppeeeee!). I look forward to my second wedding cake, which I’ll share my story later on 🙂