As my blog name suggests, this blog will be like a learning journal. I won't go step by step on each dessert on what to do, but instead focus on the technique(s) I was learning and what I discovered while in the process of making it. I hope you will learn a thing or two, or if anything, use this as a reference and get ideas for your dessert-making. Happy decorating!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My First Wedding Cake!

6" round white cake, rolled buttercream, buttercream frosting, raspberry preserves, strawberries
white cupcakes, buttercream frosting, sprinkles, "C" signs

Techniques Used-quilting, balls, dots, rope border, rosettes, rose (sort of Wilton), spatula striping, spiral cupcake

Focus-decorating 300+ cupcakes!

I have now done a wedding cake, and what a great experience!  It was good to work with someone and see what they wanted and then create it.  There was still a lot of stress and things go differently than I imagined, but I enjoyed seeing this cupcake tower come to life. 

Techniques Used-quilting, balls, dots
I finally figured out how to make the quilting look professional.  Firstly, I made marks at the top and bottom of the sides of the cake, dividing it like I would if I were doing a basketweave (if looking from eagle view, mark North, South, then East, West, then halfway between each, and then halfway between each once more) to make 16 marks for the top and then the bottom.  Secondly, I used a wooden shish kabob to first line up the top and bottom marks, and then make the diagonal impression.  I found that making the impression before the quilting tool was much better, because then I'm just following the line instead of trying to make my own.  The key to making the quilting look nice is to not "eye" things, but to measure everything, like you would with making a quilt.

Technique Used-spiral cupcake using tip 1M

This is a quick and easy design, and looks pretty nice too.

Technique Used-rope border

Once the cupcake has been frosted, the border is very fast.  I learned that if the cupcakes weren't frosted all the way to the edge, then the rope border will make the edge look clean.  This picture is not one of those examples (you can see frosting underneath the rope border).

Technique Used-rosettes

The nice thing about rosettes is you don't have to frost them beforehand as long as the rosettes are slightly overlapped.  I found that frosting each cupcake doubled or tripled the amount of time spent on each cupcake.  With 300 cupcakes, time is a big deal (3 min./cupcake x 300 cupcakes=15 hours).  Using rosettes made a nice texture change from the other cupcakes.

And last, but definitely not least.....
Techniques Used-Wilton rose (sort of), spatula striping
I really liked how these turned out.  They brought just enough color to the cupcake tower without being to overbearing.  I wanted to mention why I call this spatula striping and not brush striping.  It has to do with what you use for the striping.  In this case, I made red frosting for the striping, so you would most likely use a spatula to stripe the frosting onto your decorating bag.  For brush striping, you would use straight food color gel and use a brush to stripe it onto your decorating bag.  Compare these pictures with a cake I did using brush striping, and you will see the difference. 
I liked these cupcakes so much that I took more pictures of them.  The lighting is different, so they look like they are more red-orange than red.  I like how each rose is different, just like if you were to find actual roses, no two would be alike. 

I wanted to mention a few more things about the cupcakes.  For one, I bought undecorated cupcakes and buttercream at Sam's Club.  Each case has 150 cupcakes in them, and the buttercream is a 5 gallon bucket (one bucket is enough for at least 300 cupcakes).  It ends up being about $2.50/dozen cupcakes, but I think it's well worth it.  Could you imagine trying to bake 300 cupcakes in a standard oven, or making all the frosting?  Also, if I were to do cupcakes again, I would know that I need 2-3 days to work on them, because it takes a lot of time and energy to decorate all of these cupcakes.  Transporting them is also a big problem, because I don't have a good way to package them.  I made the rose cupcakes at my home, and a handful of them got damaged along the way.  Right now, it is more realistic to transport a finished tiered cake than finished cupcakes.

This cupcake tower was decorated September 2011.

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