Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wedding Cake Half & Half

The finished cake
I was asked to make a wedding cake for a young lady who had seen my last wedding cake made August a year and a half ago.  The bride and I met several times to make sure that I knew exactly what the couple wanted their wedding cake to be, including meeting with the groom as well once.  They chose a simple yellow cake with caramel filling topped with cream cheese icing.  They asked about doing camo on one side with a wedding dress on the other.  I convinced them that anything that we might use to get a camo look would not taste good.  We all agreed that taste was the most important factor. So they decided to go with the look of a log on one side and wedding dress on the other.
The Base for the cake

I had several people question whether it would look funny, but I was able to show them several examples of various aspects of the cake idea.  I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out the best way to accomplish the look of bark without having to pipe it at the location.  I knew that I would only have a limited amount of time to put the cake together and decorate it.  I didn't want to have the wedding finish and not have the cake finished.
Pinecones from modeling chocolate

I started by getting the base for the cake.  My brother lost a lot of trees to a tornado 2 years ago.  Those tree trunks have been stacked in a pile and have had time to dry.  I asked one of my brothers to cut a slice off of the end of one log and he very sweetly agreed to do so.  I tried to use a belt sander to smooth it out and broke 2 belts due to moisture.  After buying a new belt for the belt sander, my husband very sweetly agreed to sand it for me.  After he finished sanding the top and bottom smooth, I used Danish oil and put multiple coats on the wood.  Unfortunately it didn't dry an much as I would have hoped.  I compensated by covering the top with a layer of plastic wrap.
First layer of the "bark"

My first steps for the actual cake was to make the chocolate "bark."  I took my chocolate to my parents house.  My mom has a granite counter top and I knew it would make a difference.  I melted the dark and milk chocolate on two sides of the same plate.  This allowed me to mix the two without loosing the color difference.  I used a small icing spatula to spread the chocolate in strips in a large piece of parchment paper.  By the time I had the paper filled up, the first one I placed were already cool and ready to pull off the paper.  This gave me thin strips of narrow chocolate.

While I was at my folks house I also made some modeling chocolate.  Fir this I also needed the granite counter tops.  I will post on this soon.  I used the modeling chocolate to make the pinecones for decorating the tree side of the cake.  I will post on these with the modeling chocolate.  

Cake topper made from chocolate
              The couple also needed a topper for the cake.  I thought it would work with the design of the cake to make it look somewhat like initials carved in the side of a tree.  I started by melting a couple of ounces of chocolate and pouring them into a heart shaped cookie cutter that I had lined with parchment paper to make removal easier.  After I had a good base I carved out two channels in the back of the heart and inserted trimmed skewers to be used for placing the topper on the cake.  I then poured more melted chocolate over the back to make the skewers secure.  After the chocolate cooled I used a piping bag to pipe chocolate around the edges a little at a time, after each addition I sprinkled finely shaved chocolate over the fresh chocolate.  I repeated this all the way around the edge and on the back side.  After all of this had cooled I used straight dark chocolate to "carve" the initials of the couple and the wedding date.                                    
Close-up of tree side
I spent two days baking the the different layers, giving them a light coat of icing to keep the crumbs from mixing with the final icing coat.  I then wrapped them tightly in plastic wrap before freezing them.  When Friday came around I pulled out the layers and filled them and iced them.  I did not stack them because I knew that I would be delivering the cake on my own and I didn't want to worry about ruining it.  I put each layer in a box and put them in the fridge until Saturday morning.

Saturday morning I loaded everything up and took the cake and everything I thought I might need for decorating the cake and took it all to the location.  Once I arrived I started by placing the wood on the table and covering it with plastic wrap.  I started stacking the layers.  I had already placed the posts the night before so it was just a matter of stacking them.  I did however decide to stack the layers offset.  Since the layers were 6", 8" and 10" I decided to give myself a little more room on the front side to decorate.
Tree side of the cake

As soon as I got all of the layers stacked, I got started on the decorating.  I started with the tree side of the cake.  I placed a layer of the chocolate 'bark" all the way around the side of the cake on all three layers.  Once the first layer was in place I started adding the second layer.  I used a piping bag to pipe a thin line down the center of the pieces of chocolate before placing the pieces offset from the first layer.  After the "bark" was all in place I piped some of the filling on the top of each layer and dragged a toothpick through the filling to simulate tree rings.  Then I placed the pinecones on the side.

To cover the dividing line between the two sides, I planned to use a fondant drape.  I took the fondant and the rolling pin with me so that the fondant would not dry out.  I laid out wax paper on the table.  I kneaded the fondant until it was smooth, then I rolled it out on the wax paper.  I rolled out a 4" wide strip that was long enough to go from the middle of the cake all the way down the side.  I crimped it down the length before placing it on the side of the cake like a drape.

Close-up of gown side pearls
After I finished the wood side, I placed the topper in the center of the top layer.  I placed the pinecones on one side and the gumpaste flowers that I had made around the base to hide the support skewers.  I used my piping bag to place a string design on the top edge of each layer.  After all of the piping was finished, I started placing sugar pearls.  I started with a short row at the top of each set of strings.  Next I place little groups of three all over the sides and top of the dress side layers.

Last but not least I added a row or icing pearls at the base of each layer.  I used the cream cheese for the dress side and I used the filling for the tree side.
Close-up of fondant divider

The cake received rave reviews from those at the reception.  And of course that totally follows my theory of what is important in any cake including a wedding cake.  If it doesn't taste good it is not worth making.  As usual I made the cakes and icing from scratch.

I am linking with the following blogs:
http://back2basichealth.blogspot.com                                http://www.bystephanielynn.com
http://blackfoxhomestead.com/                                          http://www.iamannekehn.blogspot.com
http://www.hopeineveryseason.com                                  http://ivyandelephants.blogspot.com
http://www.campwander.com/                                          http://www.savvysouthernstyle.net/
http://coloradolady.blogspot.com                                      www.aboverubies.net
http://abidingwoman.com/                                               http://www.besimplybetter.com/
http://www.deeprootsathome.com/                                   http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/
http://raisinghomemakers.com                                          http://sandimyyellowdoor.blogspot.com/
http://www.52mantels.com/                                             http://www.the36thavenue.com/
http://www.create-with-joy.com                                       http://teachingwhatisgood.com/
http://www.the36thavenue.com/                                       http://seevanessacraft.com/
http://katherinescorner.com/                                           http://cupcake-n-bake.blogspot.com
http://alifeinbalance.net                                                   http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com
http://thediydreamer.com                                                 http://www.the-chicken-chick.com
http://lavendergardencottage.blogspot.com                       http://www.flusterbuster.com
http://www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com                        http://www.adelightsomelife.com/
http://www.growinghomeblog.com                                 http://nourishingjoy.com
http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/              http://trayerwilderness.com/
http://timeforseason.blogspot.com                                     http://mylampisfull.blogspot.com/


  1. that is SUPER cute and looks perfect! i love the pinecones and the sprigs of greens.

    1. The bride and groom were very pleased and after all that is the main thing. Oh, and it tasted good too.

  2. I recently saw a 1/2 and 1/2 cake but it was just frosted white on one side and chocolate on the other. You took it to a whole new level with the BARK! It looks just like pine bark, and the pine cones are perfect! It's beautiful!


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