Sorry it took so long to get this post up. Took a long time to load all of these photos!
As you all know, we did not win our episode of Ultimate Cake Off, but we are very proud of our cake, especially in light of all the problems we had in our kitchen that day, which were all true, BTW. No made up drama there. Unfortunately.
Here is my incredible team left to right:
Wendy Baiamonte.... my best friend, an incredible cake artist, the unsung hero of SugarEd since day one, my rock. She kept me calm and grounded during the preparation phase, and never tired of me obsessing over elements, ideas, potential problems and the rest. There is no way I could have done this without her. During the contest, she was the steady force at my side the whole time, driving me on, doing anything I asked, working her butt off. She talked me off the panic ledge a couple of times that day too. They don't make 'em no better than her, I tell you.
Adele Lind Nichols.... my very good buddy from Colorado. She was one of Rebecca Sutterby's assistants last season with me and Becky. She was in charge of all the poured sugar work. And she hand painted that incredible floral plaque on the front of the cake. More on that later. She too listened to every thought and worry I had during the whole process. She is a wonderfully talented, funny, and gorgeous lady.
Becky Willard....... is from Kansas and also assisted Rebecca last season. She was our silent but deadly secret weapon. She keeps her head down, quietly moving from task to task around the kitchen, doing whatever needs to be done with grace and poise. I hate that they barely showed her on the show, because she did just as much work as the rest of us, and was just as important to the success of our cake as any of us were. She handled the gumpaste rose work, the scroll pattern, applying jewels, and anything else that needed to done. She has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and is a complete doll.
There really are not enough words to express how much this was a team effort. Every one on our team was involved in the cake, from the planning phase through the execution. It was very much our cake, not my cake. I wish that came across better on TV.
This is the blue kitchen on load in day.
Here is the famous clock over a large freezer we could use if needed.
I do not mean to brag, but I can honestly say that the cake was even prettier in person that in these photos. The colors are not quite true here, and it had more pow, more sparkle, more dimension than the camera can show.
We used a large tapered hex at the base, then alternated tapered round and hexagon tiers with Styrofoam spacers in between the sections.
Adele's sugar beads hung in swags below the hexagon boards in front of the silver separators.
Unfortunately this is the best shot of the topper that I have, and it does not do it justice. We had our arrangement of purple roses in varying shades, and little battery operated lights tucked in the arrangement that created a wonderful glow coming from behind them. The crystal monogram topper caught those lights and twinkled as the whole topper slowly rotated.
Here you can see the poured sugar brooches that were on top of each swag tie. Wendy custom made the molds using Silicone Plastique from actual brooches that I purchased off of eBay. The gem part was purple poured sugar, let to set, and then the rest of the mold was filled with gumpaste, which was painted silver when dry. The gems were not as dark as they look here, they were a true regal purple. This was one of my favorite elements of our cake.
Here are a couple of the purple gumpaste roses. I used this cutter set here to make them. This set has a lot of different sized petal cutters, so I was able to make them in varying sizes for the spaces I needed. I did them in a free form, fantasy rose style. I did not want them too structured or formal, as the couple said they wanted the cake to be a little hip and modern. They started out white and were dusted with African violet, lavender and violet petal dust. Clusters of silver dragees in varying sizes were glued in the middle with piping gel to add to the Hollywood bling factor. I really really loved how they looked.
Here you can see part of the bottom section of our cake. The art deco thingies were made with this Stephen Benison cutter. We lovingly nicknamed them the Benisons. I used purple Satin Ice fondant with a lot of tylose added, and dried them over a curved former, so they would stand away from the cake. After dry, they were dusted with amethyst luster dust. Silver and black dragees were added above them to accentuate them. I really loved this element of our cake too!
Here you can see the lights shining behind the flowers. That did not show up on TV at all. You can also get a glimpse of the little gumpaste charms we had on wires. They represented the couple's mutual interests. We had footballs, cooking utensils, that movie clacker thingy (when they say action!), and movie reels. They were so cute! I purchased wine glass charms to make the custom molds with. They were molded of gumpaste and painted with silver luster dust.
Here is the bottom section. Black fondant drapes and ropes with huge sugar brooches at the joins. Clusters of flowers here and there....
None of the pictures are showing the faux finish very well, but it was really visible and pretty in person. Wendy did a great job doing this; she had the perfect touch with the paint brush. After the cakes were fondanted, she used Luck's airbrush shimmer color in pearl, with a squirt of silver, full strength. And she stippled the whole cake with a fluffy brush. It gave it great subtle dimension. It was a very classy sophisticated look, a lot like marble. It had just a tad of shimmer to it, but did not overpower the rest of the cake. Lagniappe: it totally hid flaws in the fondant, amazingly well! I might faux every fondant cake from now on!
And here is the amazing floral plaque that Adele hand painted to match the bride's invitations. They came out and threw this surprise element at us in the last few hours of the show, and we were really really behind schedule. We spent a few minutes brainstorming, and then I said to forget about it for now. It was more important to finish the cake, and then we would worry about the plaque. Somewhere in those last couple of hours Adele snuck away and used the black fondant and white chocolate we had on hand to hand paint this masterpiece. It was truly incredible! And it really did look like it was meant to be part of the original design. She really knocked it out of the park with this one.
This is a poor shot of the Benisons close up.
After all was said and done, and all the obstacles we had in our kithen that day, I am immensely proud of the cake we produced. It may not be the one the bride picked, but that is OK. We accomplished what we went to do, it was a big challenge, and we did it! I am incredibly proud of my team mates, and our beautiful creation.
Thank you all for the outpouring of support and encouragement after the show. It means more to me than you could ever know!
I look forward to seeing all of you talented peeps when it is your turn!