Friday, June 13, 2008

The Little Cake That Could

My first time to work with rolled fondant and the Force was not with me

A major storm blew through our area on Tuesday. It snapped trees, blew over tractor trailers on major bridges, picked up my barbecue from the back deck and ruthlessly pitched it onto it's head. It also knocked out our power for about 6 hours and caused my stress level to go through the roof as I had the three layers to this cake in my fridge.

If you remember, I recently threw a bridal shower for my friend who is getting married soon and this week was the rehearsal dinner where I was slotted to bring the cake. Hey, I'm the matron of honor, I'll do whatever I'm told!
With all the high heat and humidity we've been having around here, I didn't want to risk a droopy buttercream icing, but rather wanted to go with something like rolled fondant that could hold up to the elements, as the dinner was an elegant backyard garden party.

But despite careful planning and my best efforts, everything went horribly wrong for this cake.

I had never worked with rolled fondant before, but I managed to cover three tiers of cake and make it look pretty decent. After that, things were out of my control, as due to the storm,we lost power shortly afterward.
This poor cake survived 5 hours in a dead fridge that was slowly warming, causing it to sweat and the fondant to get sticky. Then, in the pouring rain, it was transfered to a functioning fridge at the party's location. Unfortunately, the car ride was a little rough on it and it suffered a few gouges, not to mention a large dent from, ahem, a protruding upper body part. To protect it from the rain, I had hastily slapped some saran wrap on, which was a big mistake as it left wrinkles all over the cake like some kind of bad art deco wall texturing.

So, not much else could go wrong, right? I was certain that with the right patch kit and a few decorations, I could make it look okay, all I needed was to show up an hour or so before the party started and a quiet place to work. Well, due to circumstances out of his control ( so he says!), Danny arrived home very late indeed from work and we were late for the party. I had about 25 minutes to assemble the layers and decorate and when you look at the cake you sure can tell!

Anyway, it was a learning experience and I did have fun with the fondant. A huge thanks to Melody of My Sweet and Saucy for answering my emails and questions and letting me pick her brain a bit.
Oh, and ROCKS!

This cake also had a little surprise inside when you cut into it.

Inspired by Joy the Baker and her recipe for Red Velvet Engagement Cake, I set out to try red velvet cake for the first time (lots of firsts here!). I was sure that one bottle of red food coloring would be enough, but I was wrong, it wasn't. Not even close.

What to do? Babies are sleeping, there is no one to send to the store for more food coloring. The oven is preheated and the cakes are half made, it looks like I am going to have to improvise.

So I add some blue food coloring to the red and make (gulp) a purple cake.

Mind you, the brides' colors for the wedding are purple, purple and more purple, so I knew she wouldn't care.
The wedding invitations were beautiful in purple and green so I went a step further and dyed the buttercream green to match the purple.
The bride loved it and it certainly was memorable-if for all the wrong reasons.

The recipe for Red Velvet Cake can be found here. I used Martha's Swiss Meringue Buttercream found here, minus the coconut. Between the cake layers are fresh raspberries and blackberries.
It was quite tasty after all was said and done.

Will I ever work with fondant again? Sure, as long as the power stays on! I deserve a second chance! I have a few cakes coming up in July, so wish me luck.


missweb said...

The story is hilarious .I can totally picture the stress levels and not once did you mention the children. Am I to believe they were completely angelic while all took place? LOL

The pictures of the cake tell a very different story. It looks simply beautiful and you are a good, good friend and bride-slave! My hat is off to you!

LyB said...

The cake looks wonderful Aimée! I've never seen a purple cake though, it was very creative and brave of you to even try it! That storm was something, wasn't it? We didn't get hit as hard here but there was a lot of wind and rain. Good luck with all the cakes this summer. :)

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Thanks so much for the shout out! I can't believe all the problems you had! Seriously though, if you wouldn't have said anything I wouldn't of known from the photos! It turned out lovely looking!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm laughing, but at the same time I'm in total awe, because to me the fondant looks great -- and the inside colors are hilarious, and as you say, memorable. I'm sure your friend was delighted. You are a first-rate matron of honor!

Anonymous said...

Even better than red velvet- purple velvet!!!! I LOVE it! And beautiful job with the fondant! You sure did do some BEAUTIFUL work!

Anonymous said...

I think the purple was a stroke of genius! The sugared pansies are beautiful, are we to guess that they are from your very own garden?

P.S. We made pie on the BBQ tonight and it came out perfect, dare I say even better than in my oven?

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

Aimee that looks fantastic!!! Well done you and despite everything you did a wonderful job. Such a group of mishaps aswell!!! Roll on July I hear you say!!!

Marie Rayner said...

What a beautiful and wonderfully unique cake! You are a real treasure!! You got handed lemons and made lemonade, a girl after my own heart!

Nora B. said...

Aimée, your cake looks awesome! Beautiful and elegant. I love the colours, I'm glad that you didn't have enough red food colouring. I am making a friend's wedding cake in a few months time and I have no idea about rolled fondant either, so it will be a trial and error adventure for me. I might make a practise one first though. Did you like the overall taste of the cake? Would you use this cake recipe again?


x Nora

Anonymous said...

Wow...the cake is amazing A! Though I can imagine your stress level! cant wait to see the wedding one:)

Emily said...

Oh Aimée! It's so pretty! I don't care what you say. It's a pretty and clean cake. Not gaudy.
I couldn't tell that there were damages. And it's purple! Yay!

Aimée said...

Hi missweb- Thanks a lot. I have to credit my husband for the lions share of child minding these last few days!

Hi Lyb- Well, creative is a stretch...but thanks! I didn't have much of a choice.:)

Hi Melody- Gee, thanks. Nothing compared to your cakes, though.

Hi Lydia- Thanks, it was a laughable situation, for sure!

Hi Joy- Wow, thanks, that means a lot coming from you.

Hi Michelle- Genius-or just plain nuts! :) Sounds like you guys have gotten creative with your BBQ!

Hi Rachel- Thanks! It's bound to be interesting.

Hi Jenn- Thank you, me either!

Hi Marie- Improvisation is key!

Hi Nora- Good luck with that! I DID like the taste, it help up well, and was always moist. People gobbled up the rolled fondant, but it's pretty sweet and not everyone's cup of tea.

Hi Miranda- Thanks...hope it turns out OK.

Hi Em- Fan of purple are you? :)Thanks for your kind words.

Eva said...

Seeing this lovely cake, one would not think the agony you had to go through! Looks truly awesome to me!


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