Cakengineering

July 22, 2012 Ka'ela Ja'el
Tags: ,

Here’s a riddle:

What requires an electric drill, pliers, a grinder, a trowel, hammer and nails and a heat gun, 75 eggs, 2.5 kilos of chocolate, and a bottle of Drambuie get you?

Answer:

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13 kilos of yummy wedding cake goodness.

Behind the scenes stuff under the cut…lots of photos.

Yesterday, Crankynick and Vodkandlime publicly pledged to spend their lives together.

In a fit of what can only be described as great daring on their part, they asked me to make their wedding cake. I was honoured and excited and by yesterday afternoon, totally petrified.

Apart from telling me which recipe they wanted, I was given a colour scheme and a theme. The rest was up to me.

So I searched the internet, and played with some ideas.  And then searched a bit more. Eventually I harvested numerous ideas, played around with them, twisted them up a little and came up with this concept:

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Of course, this did mean trying things I’d never done before, such as:

  • Stacking a cake
  • Covering a square cake in fondant

But I’m not one to run from trying something new. And there’s no way I’m going to start with something basic, because that’s for other people. No, I always have to start with the more advanced stuff.

Things I learnt – stacking a cake is a feat of structural engineering. Trips to Bunnings were involved. As were maths and power tools. I am not comfortable with either of these. My motto in life is “Maths is evil!” I am the person who forgot to carry the one in the thousands column of the monthly family budget. Three days into the month we ran out of money. Maths and I, we don’t see eye to eye. And power tools, well, they’re scary. But, I battled these fears, and dove in.

I did do a test run of the cake. Three tiers gave me the opportunity to try three different techniques for covering, and to see what was involved in the stacking. The test run was a good idea, because I learnt what to expect, and what to avoid, so I could promptly repeat all the same mistakes when I made the Real Thing.

The recipe is a decadent, gluten free chocolate cake. And to give it the ability to rise, it uses eggs. SO MANY EGGS. And every single one of those eggs had to be separated.

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What this means is that as the cooked cake cools, the cake shrinks considerably. I discovered just how badly when I did the trial.

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That is a 14 inch cake, the board is 12 inches. TerriMaths* tells me there should be an inch all the way around, but it’s shrunk so that there’s only around a centimetre.

So to get around it, I cooked every cake a size larger and cut them down. Which has left me with lots of cake trimming. This week’s project looks like being trifle, which means I need to make custard, so there’s a good chance I’ll be Vanilla Slicing, too.

And, because it was GF and didn’t rise very much, I needed to cook 2 cakes for each tier. And each cake took over an hour to bake.

There were a number of disasters along the way. I had planned on putting ivory nonpareils (mono coloured 100’s & 1000s) on the top of the bottom tier. It looked great – IN MY HEAD. The real thing, not so much. It was tacky and ergh!

It’s a bit hard to see just how bad it looks in that photo, but that’s partly because I scraped off the first side that looked REALLY bad.

The next disaster was a little worse. I was trying to stack the cake and had enlisted some help from my cousin H, when suddenly the cake slipped and…well:

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Not just a little oops, is it? So I packed the area with cake trimmings, folded the fondant back into place, and then placed a deco shaped patch over the area and hid it with some of the gelatine ribbon shapes and pearls I made.

And then, right at the last, just as I was finishing up, I knocked one of the arched corners off, and being hardened fondant it shattered. Thankfully I had some semi hardened fondant that was able to be used in lieu.

So, the finished product didn’t quite match the picture in my head, but I was reasonably happy. And so long as everyone heeded the two metre exclusion zone, it looked pretty good. And everything you can see is edible. Which is a personal challenge of mine. The pink and ivory ribbons and pearls in the topper (and in the camouflage) are gelatine.I did try to do it through sugar pulling and sugar blowing, but that didn’t quite work. I did have fun though, and I learnt so many new techniques.

I was really happy with the stencilling, which I’ve never tried before.

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Oh, and there was a (well received) sekrit!

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*TerriMaths has random ways of working things out. Sometimes it’s accurate, and sometimes it’s…not. It also has a very cavalier attitude to metric and imperial measurements.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. stephbg  |  July 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Amazing job and fascinating story. Many thanks for sharing!

  • 2. Bec  |  July 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Fantastic.

  • 3. mydearbakes  |  July 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, this looked amazing! I love it! =D

  • 4. Transcendancing (@transcendancing)  |  July 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    So awesome Terri! You rock 😀

  • 5. Alex  |  July 23, 2012 at 5:50 am

    You are indeed incredible. I love the rick-rolling… and your ingenious solutions to turning bugs into features 😀


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