Broadway Cake

 

An amazing cake at an amazing venue!

 

The Story behind this cake:

Many months ago, my friend Iris talked to me about a special project she had in mind: Her sister was turning 40 in January 2014 and Iris wanted to throw a surprise party for her in the most amazing venue I could ever imagine: The View, a revolving bar and lounge right at the heart of New York City!

The concept for the cake was simple enough: a celebration cake that would reflect the nightlife in NYC and that would incorporate some of the most famous Broadway plays that my friend and her sister had seen together! The trick, however, was to execute the idea in a kitchen away from home, with limited transportation and only 3 days to complete my task! I took the challenge with the help of my Cake Angels, a.k.a. my cousins from New Jersey. My cousin volunteered her kitchen (read, I kind of forced my way in it! LOL) and her husband drove me around at cake speed, making this project a dream come true! I will never be able to repay María & Steve for all their patience and support!

The Cake:

This project involved a 5 tier cake, the tallest cake I have ever done!

4 out of 5 tiers were 100% cake. One of them had to be sculpted, the rest were mounted on dividers with lots of bling. The bottom tier was a cake dummy made out of Styrofoam and then covered in fondant. That way I could get a very tall cake, without having a lot of leftovers as the party was relatively small.

On my flight from Atlanta, GA, to Newark, NJ, I spent my time sketching ideas for the cake. The concept had been in my mind for many months, but the final sketch didn’t come to life until 4 days before the party! I guess I work better under pressure!

With the aid of a drawing app for my smart phone, I worked on the following sketch between flights:

Broadway Cake - a Sketch between flights

Broadway Cake – a Sketch between flights

The Broadway Cake would depict:

  • The skyline of the city of New York on the bottom tier
  • Playbills and the night sky on the tiers above
  • Iraida’s own marquee, announcing her 40th birthday on the top tier!
  • Blue LED lights on the top would look like theater spot lights on a stage, with stars popping out of the cake!

Making the cake:

The timeline for this cake was crucial in order for me to finish it on time in only 3 days:

  • I arrived late Wednesday evening and went directly to the grocery store to get my ingredients
  • Thursday I spent most of the day in the big city, visited a cake store, had lunch with my friend and returned later in the day to prepare chocolate ganache and Swiss meringue Buttercream for the fillings
  • Friday I was a Baking Kinda Fool. I spelled all living creatures out of the kitchen and literally spent the whole day there, baking layer after layer of what would become the 4 tiers of cake; leveling them, covering them with chocolate ganache, and finally chilling them in the spare refrigerator that my cousin had. What a life saver this was! What a life saver SHE & HER HUSBAND were!
1606950_10152134674607349_2135361758_n

Hard at work, at my cousin’s kitchen!

  • Saturday I worked on details such as decorations for the cakes, hand painted each and everyone of the 12 playbills used on the middle tier, prepared the marshmallow fondant and forgot that I had a bed… I worked all night until each and every one of those cakes was covered in fondant, airbrushed and ready to be decorated!
  • Sunday, the day of the party, came in and I had only hours to finish the cake. My cousin, one more time, stepped in and gave me a hand with some of the decorations for the cake. She pretty much completed the bottom tier! With no experience in cake decorating, and a background on financials, she didn’t think she could be up for the challenge. Boy, was she wrong! My beautiful cousin turned out to be the best helper ever. She followed instructions to a “t” and had the best input when it came to figure out which buildings should be highlighted on the bottom tier and what other items should be included to represent the city of New York on a cake!

 

Transporting and Setting Up the Cake:

Once again, my cousins came to my rescue when the time came to deliver the cake. My cousin’s husband kindly drove us to the heart of the city, right on Times Square! The lounge where the party was going to take place is only a few steps from the place where the big ball is dropped every New Year’s Eve! … The neon lights illuminating everything at dusk as if it were noon time! The City that Never Sleeps deserves its nickname, for sure! The people on the square, the energy of that place…. WOW! … and of course THE TRAFFIC! … Seriously, we spent about 45 minutes just trying to move 2 blocks, until we finally got close enough to walk with our cake boxes and go into the hotel!

This sounds easier than it truly was: no parking space, no loading deck for our delivery, not even a clear plan on how to take the cakes to the 48th floor of that hotel, where the lounge is located! But Steve, my driver hero, came to the rescue and somehow found a spot where María & I could safely deliver this monster cake. And then I found a service cart were we placed the 5 tiers of cake waiting to be stacked!

Once at the lounge, we put our gloves on and began to work. It took a few extra minutes for the designated person to determine where to place the cake. “Here… NO, maybe here… NO! how about there?… NO! Over there!… WAIT” We were running out of time but did the best we could once a table was selected for the cake.

One by one, all the tiers started to go in. A center pole was hammered in place. Bamboo skewers reinforced the structure… and then, the final touch: blue LED lights on the top tier… they seemed to match the neon signs outside the window. All the eyes were on us, and the moment the cake was finished was simply magical!

My Facebook post on that evening read:

 

This has to be the top moment of my life as a Cake Maker artist!

I just delivered this cake in the heart of NYC!!!!

Thanks to my cake angels who helped me with this master production for the last 3 days!!!! 

 

My friend and her sister arrived a few minutes after that. They had spent the afternoon watching Cinderella, the play, a few blocks away. Birthday Girl was brought to the lounge with the idea that she would have a cozy dinner with her family.

Instead, most of her closest friends and many family members were there. Balloons and plenty of food. And then, there was the cake…

Broadway Cake

Broadway Cake: The skyline of the city of New York on the bottom tier, Playbills and the night sky on the tiers above, and Iraida’s own marquee, announcing her 40th birthday on the top! Blue lights on top matched the lights of the skyscrapers outside the window.

 

 

 

Thanks Iris for giving me the most amazing opportunity and allowing me to bake this cake!

Thanks María & Steven for all your help and moral support
and for letting me use your house as Cake HQ for this amazing project!

 

IMG_20140112_180813

A photo with my Cake Angels: María & Steve!

 

IMG_20140112_183138

Playbill Galore at the lobby of the hotel where we delivered the Broadway Cake!