When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

W&A’s confetti wedding cake April 15, 2009


This is what I’ve learnt from making the cake for my cousin Ambrose’s wedding last month. No matter what you wear or how stylishly you’re turned out, a wedding cake maker will only emerge from the occasion looking like a drenched chicken.

This is what happened.

Ambrose and his adorable wife, Wendy, had wanted a really pretty, romantic cake similar to the one I did for C&A. I threw them a few ideas and was thrilled when they picked this one — a confetti of small flowers scattered down three tiers — because I’ve been dying to make this design for a long time.

But when the wedding day arrived, I found myself feeling really nervous, because:

1. It’s the first time that all of my family and relatives — including my dad and brothers — saw me making an actual wedding cake. They’ve heard about my bizarre hobby for some time now. But they finally clapped eyes on one such creation — the reason I’ve been neglecting my child and getting my husband to do takeaways this past year.

2. A lot of the finishing touches had to be done on-site. The tiers can’t be fully adorned with the flowers until they’re at the venue or they’ll be damaged when they’re stacked up.

3. Finally, this design requires the ultimate in creative artistry — how to make like the flowers were scattered naturally? Like the wind did it?


This cake would take a lot of work so I started early in the week. I took one day to bake the chocolate cake layers, and another day to make the pastillage flowers using seven different cutters. But the flowers took a shorter time than I’d expected. After hunching over my dining table for just three hours, I had at least 300 blossoms ready to go. I even had time to watch TV and fix dinner.flowers3-lo

The day before the wedding, I realised why the flowers took such a short time to do — I didn’t make enough, fool! The 300 blossoms weren’t even enough to fill up the top tier! And it was already evening time!

Gripped by panic, I yelled at my husband Z that disaster has struck. “N’eh mind, I help,” replied my hero. Promptly, he sat down and started rolling out the pastillage and pressing the cutters. But he’s not doing it right. The flowers came up looking like bug excrement. This is a mountain-biker who conquers slopes and dirty terrain at the speed of lightning — five flowers a minute is not his thing.

So he gave up and asked Tinah, my dad’s maid who was babysitting En En for the day, to take over. So she pressed the baby to him, sat down and started cutting. She was doing a great, great job, but after 10 minutes, she suddenly looked up and said: “Miss, I have to go home.” It was 7pm and Cinderella had to go home to cook dinner for my dad.

So I was back to being a one-woman factory. Oh, but I adapted fast. Fuelled by desperation, I was cutting out them flowers as if I had a robotic arm. After about an hour, my table was strewn with delicate little flowers, which all started to dry up nicely.


The next day, I arrived at the venue, Au Petit Salut in Dempsey, and got straight to work at the dining hall. The top two tiers were already covered with flowers, so I only needed to patch up the seams for that natural, wind-swept look.


Butofcos, trouble would strike again. My carefully laid pink fondant started to drag downwards and bulge at the bottom. Serves me right for filling the cakes with white chocolate mousse. It was probably too soft and got soaked into the cakes; the cakes lost their height so the fondant dragged. Next time, just be like everyone else and use buttercream, fool!

So not only did I have to stick on, like, 1 million flowers, I also had to keep snipping at the surplus fondant that kept creeping downwards. I could feel sweat flooding my armpits, my hairdo collapsing and my mascara melting. To add to the chaos, my relatives started arriving (on time! Who arrives at weddings on time?!) and plying me with questions like, “You made this? When? How? Can you eat it? What’s it made of? Where’s your baby? Where’s your husband? Where are you sitting?” Notice, that not one person said the cake looked nice. So my sweat glands reacted in accordance.

Then, like a flash flood, the entire wedding party arrived and filled up the dining hall. I wasn’t even near done so I wheeled the cake into some dark corner near the kitchen so I could work in peace. By the time I finally completed the cake, I had lost my fight against moisture. I found myself occasionally clapping my knees because, you know, I was also sweating where the sun don’t shine.

wedding-pix-3Thankfully, W&A decided to cut the cake before lunch was served.  I almost wanted to punch the air in jubilation when they sank in the knife — because even if it toppled, the fondant slid off and the flowers exploded — it can’t hurt me now.


But the best thing about this experience was Wendy’s reaction when she first saw the cake. My gorgeously bubbly cousin-in-law, who is from Hong Kong, exclaimed: “Ngor hou jung yee er!” (I really like it!). And instantly, it was as if the wet patches around my armpits got put under the instant-handdryer. That reaction alone, my friends, is worth being a drenched chicken for. Welcome to the family!


38 Responses to “W&A’s confetti wedding cake”

  1. zann Says:

    so how many flowers did you make in the end? i couldn’t stop laughing at the image of Z producing bug excrement.

    this is too beautiful for words!

  2. Stef Says:

    I know the feeling PL….cake decorating and also… food styling brings the wet pits like no other.
    In fact, just yesterday…was styling food for my friend’s upcoming japanese class and to put it simply, I was bordering on being unnaturally warm and sweaty.
    but after the styling…all them sodium drops suddenly disappeared….weird or whatttt?

  3. ms Says:

    ngor dou ho jung yee ah!

  4. crummb Says:

    zann: oh gosh, i donno, like 700? 800? in the end, i even had leftovers which i gave to wendy as a souvenir. and she was so cute she went, “Ngor sek sai koi!” (I’ll eat them up). Love her!

    stef: yup yup. so the moral of the story is: wear sleeveless! haha

    ms: dor jeh, dor jeh!

  5. happygrub Says:

    Its gorgeous and the photography brilliant! (I’m sure I’ll be making someone happy here..)

    About the passion fruit, they’re deliciously sweet and brillliantly orange and the seeds not weird and seedy, they’re crunchy and taste like the pulp! I’ll try to keep my eyes peeled for them and make a pavlova soon..

  6. ovenhaven Says:

    I’ve got a bookmarked folder called Dream Wedding Cake, and this just made the list! Oh, definitely to dream about! Definitely worth the effort 🙂

  7. sc Says:

    ooohh… the cake is sooo pretty! wa jing su kar!

  8. Cookie Says:

    “Ngor hou jung yee” too!

    I only hope it will be less eventful for you next time!

  9. crummb Says:

    happygrub: i’m very tickled to say that these gorgeous photos aren’t taken by my regular photog Z!! it was shot by a professional photog hired for the even, ahahahha!! Z took some shots at the beginning, but the moment the guests arrived, he had to quickly take our baby home. En En had just recovered from bronchitis so was very vulnerable physically. so better take her away before she gets the bug again!

    ovenhaven: oooh thank you!! i am very happy! i have a dream wedding cake folder too! glad to make your list 🙂

    sc: hehehe… kumsia! paiseh leh.

    cookie: i hope so too! if every cake is this stressful, i should just turn up wearing a swimsuit!

  10. I sucked in my breath when I saw the photo. So gorgeous! Literally breathtaking!

  11. wordsmith Says:

    it’s so pretty. Like Gwyneth Paltrow 🙂

  12. daphnechan00 Says:

    this is gorgeous !! If i ever get married, I want your cake !!!

  13. crummb Says:

    peanut butter wolf: oooh, thank you! i wish i started this hobby earlier so i could make YOUR wedding cake! 🙂

    wordsmith: i can’t wait to make yours!

    daphne: of COURSE you’re gonna get married. and i will INSIST on making the cake! 🙂

  14. lyricspoetic Says:

    awww that’s sooo gorgeous… I have a funny wedding cake on my page, check it out.

    I just love wedding cakes. I used to be a pastry cook.

  15. Ah Pei Says:

    woo gorgeous cake, simply sweet gorgeous !

  16. Chazza Says:

    Oh man!! I want another wedding cake! 😀

  17. crummb Says:

    lyricspoetic & ah pei: thank you! so glad you like it 🙂

    chazz: oh yeeeah, now i remember – you wanted this design at first right? before we chanced upon Michelle Doll. i can always make this for your wedding anniversary you know… :p

  18. nick malgieri Says:

    bella bella torta di fiore!

  19. Peh Says:

    Si bei swee leh. Wa mah jin suka. Dan si, tia li ji dao lao gua, he dao lao gua, tia liao wah woo dam po ai tor lah.

    PS: Get Hubby to translate hor!

  20. crummb Says:

    mr malgieri: thank you thank you! but i still won’t buy your books! ;p

    mr peh: let me decipher on my own… you want to puke because i sweat here sweat there? your cold cold heart!

  21. happygrub Says:

    Hey there,

    Read your wedding cake book article thing, nothing seems really worth buying is there? I totally agree about the whole MS and recycled ideas. I wonder if there should be laws against recycling material. Its not just her books, but the magazine too!


  22. faridah Says:

    simply awesome!!!

  23. crummb Says:

    hi farhan (now i know your real name! :)) … sadly, yes. i didn’t find any of the books really worth the money. the MS one is $110-plus! for previously published content!! but i found the last book on decorating techniques quite good. at least i learnt something! but his cake recipes look horrible. are you thinking of investing in a book?

    faridah: thank you thank you! glad you like it 🙂

  24. happygrub Says:

    No.. not anytime soon.. Must save for baby on the way.. Living in our own place now and there’s still room for some home improvement. Slowly buying stuff. Getting the air con in living room fixed up, going to set up a planter box in balcony etc etc. Just bought a bookshelf and a study desk in an attempt to get back to “studying”

    Since getting pregnant I have a 33% paycut cos stopped doing overnight calls in the hospital and stopped running clinics in the little GP clinic next door.

    after all that blablabla, I bet u regretted asking me that qn, we are a little strapped for cash! Maybe should moonlight as a journalist.. Hmm.. I’m writing an article for a mag tho but not getting paid. Hmmph.

    Take care, ya now you know my name! Its confusing cos its a “boy name” and I’m definitely not an XY or a Z the talented photographer.

  25. This one is really nice.. i love your color pink cake..

  26. livetoleave Says:

    where’s the next post? way overdue, miss teo! 😛

  27. crummb Says:

    happygrub: oh CONGRATS!!! 🙂 first baby right? rest lots and eat well! (hey, i needn’t tell you that, you’re a doc!) when is baby arriving? boy or girl? i loooooove babies!

    livetoleave: i’m afraid i won’t be posting for a few weeks cos i’m renovating! i’ve given my oven away (to make space for a BIGGER one, woot!) and right now my apartment is in complete shambles. i’ve got material for one blog but i’m just too… er, lazy cos i’m at my parent’s house and the connection is slow blablabla. anyway thanks for your interest! i feel very wanted 🙂

  28. jocelyn Says:

    hi!! 🙂 i chanced upon your LOVELY blog when i was surfing for inspiration for cakes, and wow am i glad for this treasure find. 🙂

    not only is there lots of eye candy (kudos to your husband for the BEAUTIFUL photos!) i totally love all your baking stories and have learnt a few tips about baking from you! (yep i polished off your entire archive in like 2 days! HONEST! that’s how much i love your blog! 🙂 )

    i can’t wait till you finish your renovation and come back to blog! 🙂

  29. Okay, so, I just discovered your blog like three minutes ago– and I am already hooked. I want a cake JUST like this for my wedding (whenever it happens)- except instead of pink, I want yellow.
    cute, cute, cute. (:

  30. cookie Says:

    Hey, out of action for 3mths oredi…. how long more do we have to wait???

    BTW, since you can’t bake, how about telling us 7 things about yourself… agh, you have an award for you to pick up:

  31. Lynnette Says:

    I just chanced upon this post and saw the wedding cake. Elegance in simplicity! Well done!

    But I do have a question. =)
    Where are did you get those flower/blossom/daisy cutters in the pic from? Brand?
    Would appreciate if you can share. Thanks!!


  32. crummb Says:

    jocelyn: thank you thank you! welcome to my blog. i’ll be back to blogging very soon i hope.

    christine louise: hello there! yes yellow would look lovely too. in fact, i think there is just one cake like this in Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes book. it’s gorgeous 🙂

    cookie: i am so honoured! thank you. will get on with the questions soon!

    lynnette: hello! those green cutters are from Wilton, and i bought it from Phoon Huat. they’re cutters used to make gumpaste flowers. they’re in a very “obiang” packaging though – the flowers on the photo look like they’re made in 1890, haha. have fun.

  33. theletterzee Says:

    hello, just wanted to say your cake looks absolutely gorgeous. i’m not having a cake for my wedding, but now i really wish we could order something like what you did, because it’s tastefully done and just oh-so-romantic. 🙂 great job!

  34. crummb Says:

    theletterzee: thank you very much!! but why aren’t you having a cake for your wedding? is it over yet 🙂

  35. Claudia Says:

    HI there,

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE you wedding cake. Its exactly what I had in mind to do for my brother’s wedding. I was wondering if you could tell me what you use to make the small flowers (gumpaste?) and how did you glue them to the cake.

    Thank you so much!!!!!!! and congratulation

    Claudia 🙂

    • crummb Says:

      hello claudia, i used modelling fondant to make the small flowers (which is somewhat similar to gumpaste), although gumpaste would work too. and i glued them on using very stiff (and therefore very sticky) royal icing. hope this helps! all the best to your cake 🙂

  36. What a lovely and gorgeous cake for weddings. Thanks for sharing it.

  37. Just love this beautiful pink wedding cake – gorgeous

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s