Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rose Column Wedding Cake

We made a cake recently that the bride wanted the top tier to float on top of flowers. That's a nice way of saying that she wanted a 2" space in between the tiers. In the olden days, seeing white plastic columns was expected, but today it's considered tacky or old fashioned. I have found that the "hidden pillar" system from Wilton is great for this application (only one or two tier separated at the most.). You will need to buy a plastic plate that has stubs on the underside. I hot glue my cake board to the plastic board and flip the cake upside to cover the plastic edge with buttercream. In almost all instances, you want to use a ribbon border to hide the Union of the two boards.

You can still see the columns here
The next teams you need is a set of "hidden pillars". After you put one in you can measure the height of the space you will need. Mark it, remove it and cut the rest all the same height. Learn from me, if your cake is less than 8" in size, install all the pillars BEFORE you decorate the cake. They are so big and can displace so much cake that you might have a blowout. We had that happen at the venue one time. The cake was completely covered in piping and it was hard to fix. Lesson learned.

Extra petals will make the columns disappear
A few more helpful hints for these types of cakes. To transfer the cake that is hot glued to the plate, before you add the cake find a piece of styrofoam (a 1" tall disc that is a couple inches bigger than the cake) works well. Make sure you have plenty of flowers and preferably different sizes. This cake had over two dozen roses. Install all or most of the flowers before you put the next tier on. Also before you install that tier, glue (with buttercream) a few rose petals to the plastic pillars. You have to sacrifice a rose but I means that none of the plastic will be seen. After you install your next tier, you will need use some of those sacrificial petals to fill in black holes. Just fold them and insert them or put on top of flowers to make them bigger. You can really see the difference in the pictures where I've added extra petals.

As an added bonus here is a topper tip. If you need a toppers stub to be longer (always when they are 1" long) then floral tape some skewers to them. It will make it more secure. If you have long stubs but need the topper to NOT sink down (like this one that needs to float above the flowers) we hid a straw under the topper and then his it with flower petals glued with buttercream to a straw. Ha! I'm a wizard!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

McCallie Graduation Cake

Well, it's that time again... summer is just around the corner and millions of high school students across the US are closing one huge chapter in their lives and starting a new one.  Yes, it's graduation time!

This graduation celebration cake was made for a young man who went to The McCallie School in Chattanooga.  He was very into football and baseball and will begin his new chapter in life at Auburn University in the fall.

The bottom tier was all about his high school experience, his school's logo along with their team logo.  The sports memorabilia sits around and atop the first tier, as the great memories he'll carry into college.  The top tier contains the Auburn paw prints along with their battle cry "War Eagle!"  On top of the cake we made an Auburn University topper from modeling chocolate.  The graduate's favorite treat, peanut butter cups, adorn the entire cake.

The footballs, were made using chocolate molds, and I made the baseballs using a cakepop (cake and icing) mixture.  It was pretty firm and I thought it held its shape reasonably well, although after sitting for a while I got a little droopage.  The Tornado logo was printed on edible image, and that was really just because it didn't lend itself well to any other method.  All the other logos and text were cut from modeling chocolate using the cutting machine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Cole!

Bakers, do you know how to make a cake that has copyrighted material? According to Icing Smiles, give it away! That means don't post it on your website for sale or advertise how much it would cost on Facebook. That's about the only way to get past the strict laws that many companies WILL ENFORCE (and some will still debate that). I'm not going to lie, it's a little scary when you get an overnight letter from FedX, that you have to sign for, that says "cease and desist" from a big company. All you can do at that point is to take the pictures down from your website and social media locations and hope that's the end of it.

Unfortunately once it's out there you can't get it all back. Take that Copenhagen. We received one of those C&D letters once, and when we searched the web for other cakes with the same content, ours was really the best.  I mean if you're going to tell someone to cease and desist, shouldn't they start with the UGLY cakes?  Copyright is one of the most talked about topics in cake chat rooms and many bakers are absolute about their stance and won't take a chance on any questionable material. Others are more practical and do what they have to in order to make a sale.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bakers Gotta Bake!

When do you not call your baker?  The day before the wedding!  Or the day of the wedding!  We had both happen recently and just wanted to tell you why it's not a good idea.  Toward the end of the month I pull all my orders for the next month and read through them.  I make a list of supplies I need, make sure no payments are needed, make sure everything is very clear (since it may have been months since I booked the cake) and make a task list for each week.  This is a best practice, even if I don't always do it, but I try!  If I'm really on top of my paperwork and cakes, I will email a bride a short note confirming the delivery date, place and time as well as any questions I may have.  Now this is the time for questions!
Here is an example of an email to send a brides a couple of weeks in advance of the wedding.

Your wedding day is almost here!  Please read over your contract, which is attached, and ask any questions or advise me of any changes that you need to make.  Here are the delivery details:
Date:  (include day of the week, like Saturday June 14, 2015)
Venue location:
Time we will be there with the cakes:

Please provide the name and phone number for the person that is going to return the cake stands the week after the wedding.

If you have a topper, please make sure it is at the venue and on the cake table.

Have you made arrangement for the florist to have the necessary flowers at the venue?

Brides that don't have a planner are typically more stressed shortly before the big day.  GOOD wedding planners will confirm the above details well before the wedding and often email all the vendors a list of all the other vendors and a time line.  If a bride has family help them out, they need to make a list of vendors, their contact info  and the expected delivery times.

We had a sister call us a 10pm the night before the wedding.  She was leaving a message with very inaccurate information when I picked up the phone.  She knew nothing other than I was making a cake.  She was panicking that they had been calling and calling and sent me several emails and I had not answered.  I was in the kitchen all day next to the phone.  I checked my email at Noon that day, but not since then because it's FRIDAY AND BAKERS GOTTA BAKE!  If I had sent the bride an email the week before , this would not have happened.

Then Saturday, the day of the wedding, a planner called to ask me when I was delivering the cakes.  Really? The day of the wedding?  What kind of planning is that?  We got to the venue and the bride had forgotten items for both the bridal and groom's cake!.  It's going to happen because they have so much on their minds, that's why GREAT wedding planners are awesome!

So if you are a baker, send that letter two weeks ahead of time!  If you are a bride, get a planner or at least make a really good "day of" list!


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