Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Cakes and heat do not play well together, especially real butter-buttercream! Last year we delivered to a very "rustic" oven... er, I mean barn, and I was sick all day worrying about the cake. The family didn't want to spend money on portable A/C units and the giant fans were only making the oven/barn feel more like an outdoor convection oven. They also didn't want fondant so the cake was all buttercream. The bride did have to move up the cutting so that the cake didn't melt. We came home and our best friend Chris, who is a bankruptcy lawyer, came over for a visit. I explained how worried I was about the cake holding up and how I told the bride, at the consultation, about all the bad things that can happen to cakes in the heat. For example, bugs fly up and get stuck in the buttercream or lightweight decorations like pearls/dragees slide down as the cake heats up (I've seen this happen five minutes after putting a cake outside). Chris's answer to me was "did they sign something that says they understood what could happen and that you aren't responsible?" "No, but I explained it!" His answer is what we all need to remember, "If they didn't sign or initial something, then it didn't happen". I made two major changes that hot day. One, I have an amendment (lawyer term) to my contract that lists everything that could happen and that I'm not responsible if the client chooses to go against my recommendations. Two, on the form my potential clients fill out they have to list if the cake is going to be outdoors. That way, at least one of the samples have fondant. Speaking of fondant, it is now our policy that ALL outdoor cakes have to be covered in fondant. That way I help them avoid tragedies that will tarnish their day. I will back down on this if I am pushed hard, but I tell them to trust my experience and I'm not doing it to make "extra money". It's INSURANCE, but not a guarantee! Please protect your business and the couple's cake "experience".
Oh! The cake...not much to tell you about this one, hence the hot weather advice. Don't get me wrong, I really do like it, but the simple design doesn't lend itself to an entire blog post. I used the very large rose tip to do the buttercream ruffle. It's very "rustic" and not "too" perfect, which is a good thing when you are busy :) The only non-buttercream element on the cake is the large flower thing. I made two, one for a back up in case the first broke. I used gumpaste and the thinner you roll it the better. Just make a big circle a little smaller than what you want the "flower". Now insert two wooden skewers into the circle so you can install it safely on the cake later. Think of the skewers like the two supports that come on monogram toppers. Then make strips of fondant, wet one edge and gather them like putting curtains on a rod. Use some sugar glue and attach it on top of the circle, letting the edge of the ruffle hand over the circle. Add another row or two and a center piece. It's just a ball of fondant, but you could use pearls, rhinestones or dragees. Let it dry for a few days because it is going to be "thick" with all of those layers. Have fun with it!