Here’s the thing about making wedding cakes. Baking and decorating a 9/7/5-inch three-tier is like tackling Mount Everest right there at your kitchen table. But once it’s conquered and displayed at a big venue, it can suddenly shrink into a blink-and-you-miss backside pimple.
Case in point: the cake I made for my cousin Ricky’s wedding last week. The venue was One 15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, and it was the first time my cake was to be cut on stage in a grand ballroom.
Ricky’s fiancee Amy said it was a “small” stage so the cake wouldn’t look out of place. And as I was hauling my cakes out the front door to the car, it sure had the heft that befitted the occasion: The thick bottom tier, which itself was made up of two tiers to reach 6 inches in height, was so heavy that I had to stop twice to take breathers.
But once I got to the ballroom, the cakes instantly shrivelled up to look like last week’s muffins. It wasn’t because the stage was huge. It was because there was a cake-cutting table there, and sitting on it, a gargantuan, skyscraping fake cake covered in fake fondant and fake roses. To complete the blinding visual assault, it was topped with an enormous nest made of fake twigs and fake birds.
I asked the banquet manager to remove it so I can place my cake in its place. And he went blank for 5 long seconds.
“Take the fake cake away?” he said, looking at my shrivelled muffin, then looking back at his aviarius masterpiece. What he was really saying was, What? You want me to replace this magnum opus with that zit of a cake??!
“Ya,” I said, defending myself meekly, “I have three tiers.”
“Oh,” he said, and, with a slight frown still attached to his face, removed the jacuzzi-sized foam monstrosity.
I proceeded to assemble my cake. Once completed and placed on the table, it was only one-tenth the size of the ginormous tweeting wonder. If you’ve ever wondered what it felt like for David to face the mighty Goliath, just ask my cake.
But when it was cake-cutting time, at least Amy and Ricky were able to run the knife down a real cake, with real buttercream and real fondant — and not some insipid slit pre-cut into a foam block.
Call me old-fashioned. But when it comes to wedding cakes, nothing beats the real thing — backside pimple or not.
Preparing the flowers for this cake was both fun and deathly terrifying. Over a year ago, I stuck fresh rose petals on L&G’s chocolate ganache wedding cake and they wilted so fast that they looked like wet newspaper bits creeping up a pile of sh**. Needless to say, I’ve been scarred ever since.
But I decided to give fresh flowers another go this time because, in my opinion, they will always look better than sugarpaste flowers. I just needed to take extra care. These gorgeous white ranunculus (my fave flower) were first rinsed and soaked in water to get rid of pesticides. Then, with their ends wrapped in wet towels, they were kept fresh in the fridge overnight.
Amy wanted a Tiffany blue cake and I had just the right brand of colouring for the job: Wilton’s teal. Just a few drops were enough to colour my 3kg of fondant the perfect shade of Tiffany.
The four tiers of cake (two to make up the bottom tier) took an afternoon to bake. They were filled and crumb-coated with Swiss meringue buttercream, flavoured with organic strawberry puree.
To cover the 6-inch tall bottom tier, I had to roll out the biggest piece of fondant in my young career – 20 inches across! Once draped over the cake, I had to work quickly to cut off the excess.
More trims and tucks to make each cake looking perfectly wrapped.
The brown grosgrain ribbons and flowers were attached on-site. I love how this cake turned out, but I think my daughter E is still way cuter.