Jill & John’s Wedding Cake

 

A magnificent cake inspired by the bride’s wedding gown!

 

The story behind:

There are people that touch your life forever, friends that no matter how many miles you have in between manage to be present right by your side when you need them the most. My friend M.L. (or “MLa”, as I often call her, pronounced Em-elle-ah) is one of them!

This delightful lady and I worked at the same place for a few years. Then, family duty called, and she and her husband had to relocate, leaving behind “32 years of great southern livin'” and a lot of friends in the Peach State.

Nowadays, with cell phones, web cams, and all the technology available to chat with people far and away, I always find it refreshing when I get a letter written by somebody that actually took the time to grab a pen and a piece of paper (or even buy a greeting card!) to send a few lines of cheer, support and love via snail mail.

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More than a hundred greeting cards to cheer me up during cancer treatment! Half of them were from my friend M.L.

In my life, that somebody is “MLa” … Throughout my battle with cancer, a couple of years ago, she was the one single person that would write EVERY WEEK for months and months, while I was undergoing chemotherapy, while I was recovering from my double mastectomy, and later on -when the time came to get zapped with radiation- she was there for me too… every single week, bringing rays of sunshine to my mailbox!

My cancer has been in remission for a couple of years now, but “MLa” and I continue being in touch. Perhaps the frequency of our letters has decreased but I think of her often, and I know she keeps me close to her heart too.

And then, one fine day, she sends me an e-mail…. An electronic mail people!!!! As in: she actually sat at her desk and managed to remember her password to login into her e-mail account!!!! And on that e-mail, she explains that her daughter Jill is getting married, and that she talked to her about my “cake hobby thing” that I have going on the weekends! And then, music to my ears: that Jill & John want to meet with me and talk about their wedding cake!!!!!!!!!!!

Working with Jill and John was an absolute delight! Jill reminds me so much of my friend “MLa”: the way she smiles, the sound of her voice and how she giggles! She was the perfect bride! And I was truly honored to be able to bake something special for my friend’s daughter and her husband on this joyful occasion!

 

The Cake:

A 5-tier cake inspired by the lace design on the wedding gown.

3 tiers were made with white chocolate cake, filled with caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream and caramel drizzle in between each layer.

The other 2 tiers were strawberry cake, with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream enhanced with macerated strawberries in Portuguese Sangria wine. I reserved a little bit of the strawberry juice to make a sauce that was drizzled in between layers of the cake. Both flavors were super yummy!

All tiers were covered in white chocolate ganache and then decorated with home made marshmallow fondant in ivory color with white details to mimic the lace design on the dress.

 

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Sketch for Jill & John’s wedding cake

The original sketch that I presented to Jill and John only had 4 tiers (the idea was to add a sheet cake to complete the number of servings that they needed: 200 people.) But then as the preparation for the cake continued, I suggested to add a fifth tier to replace that sheet cake.

Now, the beauty of this additional tier was that I could then incorporate details in sugar to represent the scalloped lace on the hem of the dress! Jill’s favorite part of her wedding gown … Isn’t life just perfect sometimes?

Other gown inspired details on the cake were the lace design on 3 of the tiers, which were done by using royal icing stenciled onto the cake, Then, the relief floral design was achieved by adding squiggly lines of piped royal icing (something tells me that squiggly lines is not exactly what they are called, but that’s what we will call them in my technical world of amateur baking!)

I also tried to incorporate an interpretation of the sash on her wedding gown: a series of ovals with beaded embellishments.

And last but not least, a few David Austin roses were reserved by the florist to give the cake the final touch. (Jill spared me from having to make the flowers our of sugar!)

Here are some of the pictures of Jill’s dress, which I used for the cake design:

 Ready! Set! Let’s get married!

This cake came to life in just a couple of days! There was not much that I could prepare in advance (except for the 20lbs of homemade marshmallow fondant and the 2 gallons of Swiss Meringue Buttercream that this cake required! Oh! And hundreds and hundreds of little tiny flowers that I used on the bottom tier.)

The cake preparation went really smooth! Cakes cooked all the way, chocolate melted beautifully, fondant rolled out smoothly! The Gods of Sugar were definitely on my side for this cake! 😉

And, the most exciting thing for me was that I got to try a couple of new techniques on the cake:

  • Airbrushing, which helped me define the scalloped edge on the bottom tier and create a lace texture, almost like a ghost shadow on the cake as I airbrushed the texture of real fabric unto the cake.
  • Stenciling: First time using royal icing to stencil the alancon sugar lace design.

Special Details on this Cake:

Every tier of the cake had something special going on, but the bottom tier received special attention as it was supposed to mimic the hem of Jill’s dress. From sketching and airbrushing, to cutting and adding details… here are some pictures on how that bottom tier came to life:

The other tiers had a simpler design and took less time. Nonetheless, I enjoyed adding layers of texture with my airbrush and then piping royal icing to recreate the alancon lace design on Jill’s dress:

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Alancon Lace Stages: shadows of lace airbrushed on the top tier, and royal icing stencil details added on the middle tier.

 

With all the tiers already stacked, I just had to finish little details on the cake:

And finally, the cake went out for delivery and made it in one piece!!!

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Finally at the reception place, adding flowers to the cake.

The Reveal!

And here you have it: Jill & John’s Wedding Cake!

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Lace Wedding Cake

 

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Bottom Tier: Scalloped Sugar Lace

 

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A Hidden Surprise: the names of the Bride and the Groom are “written” with royal icing on the cake! Can you find them?

 

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Sugary beads and oval design to replicate the sash of the wedding gown

 

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Sash and Lace

 

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Self Portrait! The Cupcake Maker captures her reflection on the mirror while snapping a photo of the cake!

 

The Cupcake Maker working on the back of the cake. I couldn't stop smiling! :-)

A Cake to Remember… I couldn’t stop smiling while working on this cake! 🙂

 

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Lace Wedding Cake

 

 

 
And then, in the latest letter from my friend “MLa” she showered me with words of appreciation for the cake I baked for her daughter… It made my heart all warm and fuzzy, and makes me feel even more grateful for her friendship!

… I knew it would be beautiful but I never expected the cake to be that awesomely stunning!
When I first  saw the wedding cake, I stood in front of it for quite awhile appreciating its loneliness and imagining all the hours of work & detail that went into making it.
Jill, John, Jack & I will be forever grateful to you, for adding to the specialness of that momentous day.
From the bottom of my heart – Thank You, dear friend.
“MLaaa”

 

And here is a candid picture of the cutting of the cake. How gorgeous is the bride?

The newlyweds cutting the cake! Photo courtesy of the mother of the bride.

The newlyweds cutting the cake! Photo courtesy of the mother of the bride.