Ding, dong the bells are gonna chime . . .
For your sake, we were a more diligent taking pictures of the process of building this cake so I could share the process with you in pictures, but we skipped some of the obvious steps to save time and space.
Again, we're starting with a white cake with raspberry filling. The plan was four layers: 12" base, 10", 8", and a 6" topper. Each layer was composed of two cakes, each of which was split horizontal for another layer of filling. So, each cake tier had three layers of filling and was covered with buttercream icing. The bottom two large tiers were filled with raspberry filling and I simply used icing as filling for the top two tiers.
After the layers are filled and assembled, the cake is covered with buttercream icing on the sides and top as a base for the fondant icing that will be it's final covering.
It is of utmost importance that this icing be as straight and smooth as possible, with right angles and level tops.
To acheive this, an abundance of icing is applied, and the extra scraped off. The remaining icing is smoothed out to finish this step.
Now, it is ready for the fondant.
Fondant is a beautiful smooth finish for a cake. The lack of texture is a classically simple matte background for whatever you are going to do to dress it up with. Think of fondant as a "little black dress" for cakes.
The fondant is rolled out and then placed over the iced cake. It is then coached down the sides to a smooth finish before the extra is trimmed.
I trim twice. On the first trim, I trim the heavy majority and leave 1/4 inch in case the fondant was stretched and wants to spring back up the side a little once the weight is removed. After I see that all is well, the final 1/4 inch is removed and overall smoothing begins.
Every dress has a hem, and I like to put something around the bottom for a finished look. In this case, I am using ivory colored grosgrain ribbon to match the cake. I wanted it to blend as much as possible with the cake and not call attention to itself because of all the other decor that will go on it eventually.
Then, we inserted dowels into each cake and stacked them up to take a look.
As the layers are stacked (with the exception of the largest bottom layer as it is more difficult to move) the ribbons are adjusted down to fill any space between the layers. The ribbons are just wrapped around the cakes and attached to themselves with scotch tape.
The bride wanted pearls that looked like they were cascading down the cake like a waterfall. She is an artist, but I am not. I was particularly nervous about how to create something she would be happy with, but was really pleased with the results. Each individual pearl was applied by hand.
Here is a close-up picture of the detal work on the two bottom layers.
Using this design as inspiration, I would like to make a Pearl Cake in the future.
Because of the nature of the finish on this cake, it had to be assembled and finished at the reception site.
Therefore, the four layers were plated and anchored in my trunk on rubber gloves so they wouldn't slide around.
There are no pictures of the trip because I had my eyes shut the entire time, praying that the cakes would make it without incident, and without loosing too many pearls.
Accessorize, Accessorize, Accesssorize
At the reception site, the cakes were unpacked and restacked with pearls and ribbons intact. Yeah! We made it!
Next, I found myself a workspace and rolled out fondant for the drape. David and toothpicks held the drape on the cake while the piping gel dried to make it permanent.
After fondant drapes were made for each side, I realized that this cake was not pushed up against a wall like at most weddings, but was displayed in the center of the room so there was a 360 view of it. Even worse, the bride and groom had a view of the back! I was going to have to put some sort of last minute decoration on the back, no matter how last minute or lame.
With the fondant drapes finally applied, the fresh flower topper was placed and individual flowers were scattered around the fondant drapes for final decoration.
This is a picture of the finished left side of the cake.
And this is a picture of the finished right side of the cake.
The small fondant drape and flowers on the back of the cake were enough to give it a finished look, without pretending there were two fronts to the cake.
And they ate cake happily ever after.