Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shabby Chic Modern

This cake, I'm pretty sure, is special.  I'm in a haze of infatuation over it.  I love its warm gold leaf, and the pattern on the double barreled tier, and just everything else.

This is my Sweet Times in the Rockies 2014 cake!  It was labor intensive, and a couple of those tiers were redone three times (*ahem* slightly embarrassing to admit) but I don't care.  Because it turned out just like I wanted it!

My first vision of this cake was to base it on the theme of the movie Frozen.  I researched patterns and colors for a good month (you can see that here on my Pinterest board), and worked very hard to get the colors just right.  The colors were absolutely spot on, in deep plums and inky blues.  But once I got the tiers covered, I hated it.  It was dark, heavy, cartoonish, and just a little juvenile.  I couldn't see my vision anymore, and had no idea how I would pull off my design.  So, I did what any other artist would do and ripped all the fondant off to start from scratch, with less than a week before the competition.   This turned out to be exhausting and challenging, and totally the right decision.

The other day I posted a tutorial on how to make ruffle roses.  Those took the largest amount of my time, to be sure.  However, I love ruffle rose cakes and they are so on point for the moment.  I may even make a few more of them before they go out of style.

And can we talk about gold leaf for a minute?  Because that stuff is very challenging to work with.  This is how my tiers looked three days before the competition:

A big mess!  I worked for a long while to get the gold leaf perfect, seamless, and as smooth as was humanly possible.  Gold leaf is an imperfect product and it will never be 100% flawless, but I was trying to get it as close as I could.  After all that work, though, I took a step back and didn't like it.  While it was pretty and shiny, I felt like it was a little TOO shiny.  What I decided to do, in keeping with my Shabby Chic theme, was to take a brush and a paper towel to distress the gold leaf.    It seemed a little crazy to mess up something I had just spent hours working on, but what I ended up with was a brushed gold, with white peaking through, like an old piece of repainted furniture.  That with the perfect pink roses was exactly what I was looking for and a good call for the overall theme of my design.

For the double barreled tier, I wanted a vintage pattern and I didn't want to stencil it.  So I ended up buying some Wilton icing sheets and a craft punch.  This particular punch is the Martha Stewart All Over Page Punch, in a design called Canning Pattern.  I bought it from Michael's, but haven't seen it at Hobby Lobby or on Amazon.  

It does take quite a bit of time to cut out the pattern in a precise pattern, to make sure everything lines up just perfectly.  When you're done, you just wet the back of it with some water and position it on the cake.  I do think wafer paper would also work well instead of the icing sheets.  I did practice with that material, but found it a bit too transparent to show the design well with the paleness of my pink, but if you are using colors that contrast each other, wafer paper would be great.  

Now for my wafer paper roses...I just love them.  I have never worked with wafer paper, and I liked it so much better than gumpaste.  Gumpaste is fragile, it's always breaking on me, I'm always having to deal with wires and stems and figuring out how to stick all that stuff into my cake without it showing.  Not so with these.  You just cut out the petals, and attach them with some Tylose glue, and they are lovely.

As I worked on these, I applied pieces of gold leaf randomly onto the fronts of the petals.  I let that dry, and then assembled the rose.  It was surprisingly quick and easy, and really pulled my cake together.  I'll try to make a tutorial on these soon!

So, how did the cake do?  I'm happy to say in got Third Place in the Professional Category.  Not too shabby (ha ha, see what I did there?).  These two cakes were First and Second place. 

I think the green and silver one is so pretty, and I think she might have watched the same Craftsy tutorial I did.  I unfortunately don't know the names of the artists, but if anyone else does, let me know!  Congrats to everyone!  There was some beautiful artwork at the show!  

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