Posts Tagged ‘gum paste’

A Winter Wedding Cake…

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
winter-wedding-cake-3

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography

December is a month full of activities.  Holidays, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and if you have children, well they are home from school for half the month.  This past December I took on a new task, one that was not only stressful but also worthwhile as it would test both my organization and baking abilities…I signed on to do my first wedding.

Weddings are a whole other department in the baking world.  This isn’t just someone’s graduation cake or birthday cake…this was someone’s WEDDING!  Most brides want it to be the most perfect day of their entire life…that’s a lot to live up to. 

The bride and I met back in April for a cake tasting. She sampled the four flavors of cake I had so skillfully prepared…Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Butterceam, Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream, Funfetti with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and Strawberry Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

Along with eating cake we discussed her vision for the wedding.  One thing that remained an unchanged constant was the wedding cake.  She brought me a photograph from Real Simple, the cake was elegant and understated…quilted white fondant with silver floral and pearl accents – perfect for a winter wedding. 

Fondant that has a quilted effect and pearl accents.

Fondant that has a quilted effect and pearl accents.

The wedding cake was going to be used simply for display and the cutting ceremony; whereas, the cupcakes were to be served as the actual dessert. The bride wanted each guest to receive three mini cupcakes, in three different flavors: chocolate, spice and funfetti.  Each cupcake would be decorated with a gum paste flower that would mimic the flowers on the wedding cake. 

The wedding cake consisted of three layers, each a different flavor.  The bottom layer was Funfetti Cake; Funfetti being the bride’s favorite cake flavor from her childhood.  The middle layer was Chocolate Cake…who doesn’t like chocolate?  The top of the wedding cake was Spice Cake; her fiancé’s personal favorite.

Once the month of December hit, my stomach went into knots.  I found myself thinking about it day and night.  Was I up to this challenge?  I found my mind racing at night while lying in bed.  “How much butter?”, “How many eggs?”, “How much gum paste is needed for 650 daisies?”. 

Gum Paste Daisies, 650 of them...

Gum Paste Daisies, 650 of them...

One thing I knew for certain is that I needed to organize myself by creating a timeline.  The timeline was crucial for staying on task. Baking is the easy part in my eyes.  The real time comes in the decorations and details. 

The gum paste flowers for 650 mini cupcakes were definitely the first order of business. The next step was figuring out how much butter, sugar, flour, etc. I would need.  I did this by breaking down recipes and with a couple of calculations…viola, the list was together. 

The week of the wedding came and I had briefed my family on the rules.  There was to be no whining, no hanging out in my work space, no friends over, and we would be doing a lot of carryout meals. 

The kitchen became more of an assembly line on certain nights with my good friend Bridget and my husband Tom working the line. They were incredibly helpful…love you guys!  Somehow it all came together just in time.  I officially have a wedding under my belt, and boy am I proud of myself and my work.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography - www.JoshuaJWood.com

Photo courtesy of Joshua Wood Photography - www.JoshuaJWood.com

Special thanks to photographer, Joshua Wood, for the use of his gorgeous photos of the cake and wedding. www.JoshuaJWood.com

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

I love receiving recipes – so of course, I was pleasantly surprised when my sister in law, Geri, sent me the recipe for her grandmother’s chocolate cake. 

My sister came over to help me prepare the cake – we decided to make an evening out of it.  We called this evening a  ”study in gum paste” since we were going to decorate the cupcakes with gum paste flowers. 

The evening started with a quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby for gum paste making tools.  Cupcake wrappers, gum paste mix, gel food coloring, and a set of gum paste tools and we were out the door.  I already had the gum paste flower cutters from a previous occasion.

Then, off to the local grocery store for snacks and wine – yes, I did mention we made an evening out of it ;-)

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Once we were home, Jody began preparing the cake batter, which we must note, turned out very thick – almost similar to a brownie batter.  We decided to do cupcakes instead of cake, since cupcakes are so much cuter.   

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

We smoothed the batter out with a spatula – then into the oven.  At that point, I was already working on mixing up the gum paste.  I have worked with gum paste in the past, but had forgotten how labor intensive it really was.  We dyed it four colors with the gel food coloring – green, two shades of blue and an orangey-yellow. 

Colored Gum Paste

Colored Gum Paste

Jody then prepared the icing for the chocolate cupcakes that were now cooling on the stove.  This icing comes out very shiny – similar to a ganache.  The end result is a very delicate looking cupcake.    The chocolate cupcake was very chocolatey and very tasty, and suprisingly moist for how thick the batter was.  If you are a chocolate lover, these are for you.

Overall, we found that working with the gum paste was harder than we expected…but as you can see from the photos – they were adorable.  I have a new appreciation for gum paste or sugar flowers – it truly is an artform.

Thanks again Geri for sending me this recipe – we are sure it will be enjoyed by many.

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. boiling water
  • 1 cup cocoa

Directions: 

1.) Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.

2.) Add flour, buttermilk, soda and salt. Mix well.

3.) Combine the boiling water and cocoa in a separate bowl. Add to large bowl and mix.

4.) Spoon cake batter into cake pans. Cake batter with be thick, so you will need to smooth it out with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean in center. For cupcakes, our cook time was about 15  – 18 minutes.

Chocolate Icing
Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

2.) Place on med heat until it comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute.

3.) Spread on top of warm cake.  Decorate how you like.  Enjoy!

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes


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