Saturday, August 15, 2009

once upon a time...

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a princess...
...hmmm, try again...

That's better.

When I came in this morning, the set-up in the first picture was sitting on my table waiting to be decorated like Sleeping Beauty for a little girl's birthday. Iced the base white and the gown pink, then smoothed and creased it with the spatula [resembles the ice cream sundae dish, upside-down], and added borders [they finally look the same all the way around!]
Then used a star tip with individual squirts to fill in her corset top.
Because they come out like little flowers, you could totally do a Lil' Kim version, but I somehow felt that wasn't appropriate for a 6-year-old girl... oh well, next time. Which made me realize how versatile this cake is - for anyone into fashion design, you could come up with such elaborate dresses and outfits to decorate with icing or make them look like various characters [Joan has done these Disney princesses] or make it look like the birthday girl herself. Or you could just skip the whole Wonder pan thing and do a lifesize version, just sayin'...

Added some calligraphic writing on the base:
And the final fully-clothed version:
By now it's after 10 o'clock and people are starting to come in for their cakes. First is the Bakugan set - loved it. Next, had to add some quick supports in the stegosaurus neck because the icing in the head gave it a big crack overnight, but soon enough he was out the door too. Added the flags to the map wedding cake and the groom's mother picked it up, and loved it and we chatted for a few minutes. She filled me in on the couple's interesting wedding and reception plans, and found out her husband actually teaches at RPI [chemistry though]. So that left another empty spot on the shelf.
Then onto the pharmacy order which has been ongoing for a week now. Finished up the fondant pill bottle [edible marker]:
And the finished cake and cupcake samples:
It's all edible, though the pill bottle and cap may taste a bit like pepper and onion powder if anyone does go to eat them. She picked it all up and was absolutely thrilled with the outcome [she liked it better than the original picture she had brought in for the concept - excellent].

Then Joan says she has a wedding cake for me to do and I'm thinking "Ok, Swiss dots" but it turns out to be another one of these, but in the original black this time. She has already covered the 3 tiers with ivory fondant, but it's my task to do all the circles, stripes, dots, and ribbons with the black fondant.
This cake should have taken me just over an hour, but it probably took me 2 or 3 times as long because black fondant is such a pain in the butt to work with, especially when it's almost 90 degrees outside [and inside] the shop. Black fondant is already stickier than white and other colors of fondant [probably because there's so much dye in there to make it so dark]. I would say regular fondant feels like clay or Play-Doh whereas black fondant has the consistency of Gak. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it always sticks to the table, rips when it's too thin, is almost impossible to roll out smoothly, stains the white fondant... you get the idea. So when 3 o'clock rolls around and I've finally finished this cake...
... Joan asks, "Well, want to call it a day? Or do another?" I don't realllllly want to end off with this wedding cake so maybe I'll stay, but I am getting a bit tired ... "You can finish this castle I'm doing for a bridal shower for tomorrow if you want." A castle, as in a chateau? Excellent.

So I inherited the stacked and iced cake from Joan and set about making it into a fairytale castle. Frosted ice cream cones, piped on vines and flowers, etc. And it's good to know even princesses can be cheap and choose a stucco finish when they just can't afford the stonework:
A quick spin on the turntable:
And money shot:
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a tale of a cake apprentice that ends

... or does it?

Today was my last day for the summer, but I may or may not go back a few hours per week throughout the school year to help Joan out and maintain my cake skills. If this does end up happening, I will still be taking pictures and writing about the experience. But just in case this is the end, I have had a great summer and thank Joan for her absolute patience and mentoring. I have learned so much, made lots of fun cakes, and will probably do a wrap-up post or two in the next few days to bring it all to closure.


  1. Okay, notes:
    I love that the Sleeping Beauty cake was just sitting there like that on your work space, and your edited stars are toooo funny.
    Also, it's weird to think that the barbie's torso is just covered in icing; I feel like that's gotta be somebody's fantasy or something...
    Looove the way the pharmacy cake came out, adorable.
    I can't believe this is the end! So sad, but thank you for being so good about photographing and writing, it's been a joy to keep up with. See you soon, lady! :D

  2. I love, love, loooove the Pharmacy cake. I hope when I graduate from nursing school, my cake looks something like that!

    Incidentally, I've been meaning to comment all along. I've been reading your blog all summer thanks to Rachel (I'm the best friend Meris). I just wanted to say thanks for all the great posts!

  3. awww thanks you guys! I have loved writing it, so I'm glad the feeling is mutual, haha

  4. Michelle - I have loved your blog all summer. Fantastic castle, something architecture school helped with?
    You don't remember me, we meet when you lived in KC. Went to school with Carma & Val & Mark. Tell your parents "Craz" said hi.