Wedding Cake I: Resources

My mom is getting married this month! Was it sheer strategery that she scheduled her wedding during the Year of Cake, so I would obviously volunteer to bake the dessert? Maybe. Regardless, it gives me a great opportunity to push my boundaries and try some fancy-pants ideas that the Internet has told me are totally doable. Clearly this means gum paste, royal icing, and tiers (and hopefully not tears).

What could go wrong if Pinterest says it will work?!

Obviously this process is going to be elaborate, so I’ll break it up into a few posts. Here I’ll lay out the plan and the resources and tools that make it seem feasible. Yes, that includes links to the videos of seasoned professionals making really complex things look easy. And then as I put together the individual pieces those posts will include my trials and tribulations, complete with photos of how I nailed it (hopefully without sarcasm).

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Design

My mom and her new fiance visited in close enough proximity to their engagement and her birthday (and my purchase of these mini pans).
My mom and her new fiance visited in close enough proximity to their engagement and her birthday (and my purchase of these 4″ filled pans) that I celebrated with these cute little cakes. Both are chocolate cake; one has chocolate ganache flavored with instant coffee and the other is a white powdered sugar frosting with Oreos.

I have basically been given carte blanche on the whole thing. The groom would be happy with white sheet cake, and my mom requests that one layer be chocolate, maybe even a repeat of the mocha mini filled cakes I made them for their engagement. Other than that, I have free reign.

The wedding will be outdoors, with my mom in a pale pink dress (and me in a bright pink one!). My hometown has an impressive array of dogwood trees, prominent enough to inspire their own annual festival, and in turn their beautiful pink and white flowers are my inspiration for the cake.

I want a pretty simple and clean design: white fondant, dogwood flowers (perhaps on chocolate branches), with maybe a ribbon around each layer to make it look clean and finished. Minimal piped frosting or extra elaborations.

They are keeping the ceremony small, so the cake only needs to feed 25-35 people. However, they will also be hosting an open house for a wider circle of family and friends later in the day, and that calls for treats. Any sweets would do, of course, but I’ve been meaning to try royal icing for a while, and this seems like a perfect opportunity to use it on some matching dogwood cookies. Obviously.

Details

The cake will be a pretty basic tiered cake (if there is such a thing), covered with white fondant. I may put a ribbon around the bottom of each layer. The decorations will be gum paste dogwoods, inspired by this video from Wedding Cakes for You:


Since I’ve never worked with gum paste before, obviously I needed some new tools:

Here are my new toys for this project: A) The Wilton Gum Paste Flower Cutter Set B) Wilton Flower Impression Set C) Wilton Shaping Foam (set of 3) D) Cake Boss Decorating Tools 10 Piece Fondant & Gum Paste Decorating Tool Set E) Wilton Pearl Dust in Orchid Pink and Gold
Here are my new toys for this project:
A) The Wilton Gum Paste Flower Cutter Set
B) Wilton Flower Impression Set
C) Wilton Shaping Foam (set of 3)
D) Cake Boss Decorating Tools 10-Piece Fondant & Gum Paste Decorating Tool Set
E) Wilton Pearl Dust in Orchid Pink and Gold

I got the shaping foam and Cake Boss tools from Amazon and the rest from Jo-Ann’s. Some online research tells me that Satin Ice is the best brand of gum paste. Unless I find it in a store somewhere, I’ll order that from Amazon too.

I was hoping to just buy a dogwood cutter separately, but that’s more complicated than it seems it should be. I would like to think that somewhere in Chicagoland there would be a  specialty baking shop wonderland that has all kinds of cutters just hanging there waiting for me, but I made a couple calls and couldn’t find any dogwoods. My options were to order online or spring for the full Wilton set. The 60% off Jo-Ann’s coupon I caught made it a pretty easy call in the end.

Summary

This whole project is pretty complicated, but most of it can be done in advance. Here’s the plan:

  • Three weeks to wedding: Gather materials. (Done!)
  • Two weeks to wedding: Cookies. (Bake, decorate, freeze. Then at least I know I won’t show up empty-handed!)
  • One week to wedding: Gum paste dogwoods. (These need time to dry anyway, and doing them a week or so before the wedding gives me time to practice, screw up, re-do, and make extras in case of breakage.)
  • Week of wedding: Cake. (Bake, frost, fondant.)
  • Day of wedding: Assemble.

Wish me luck!

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