Glorious Gardenias

I got back a short while ago from delivering Bonnie and Dan's wedding cake to a private home in Bothell.  I saw the bride and groom when I arrived (that almost never happens!) -- they both looked amazing, and had the biggest grins on their faces.

The cake is four tiers, to serve 120. All tiers are covered in marshmallow fondant and piped along the base with violet Royal Icing. (I've been doing a lot of tricky tinting lately with edible color gels -- last weekend's burgundy fondant, this week's violet Royal Icing, deep red gumpaste for some custom-made camellias you'll see at the end of December!) 

Flavors were coconut cake filled with Swiss meringue buttercream, shredded coconut, and organic apricot preserve; Caramel Toffee Fudge (chocolate cake, caramel sauce, truffle ganache filling, English toffee bits); and Red Velvet (with cream-cheese filling, of course!).

Four white gardenias adorn this cake, along with about 16 hydrangea (in violet), all handmade from gumpaste. I'll let you in on a secret -- whenever I make individually-wired sugar petals, I always make extra, because they're extremely fragile and I'll almost always break a few in the process of taping the petals together into full flowers and styling them on the cake. I was a little (actually, hugely) pressed for time with this cake, and I made exactly as many petals this morning as I needed. I put them (separately) onto crumpled tissue on a tray, transported them to the venue, and wired them to each gardenia 'bud' on site. And I didn't break a single petal! (I did break two sugar hydrangea -- but I made a few extra of those, and I reckon they were less crucial to the design than the gardenias.) The cake gods sure are smiling on my December confections...

A heads-up: These photos are horrible! The lighting was Christmassy (translation: atmospheric, but wintry and dim) in the living area of the house where I set up this cake, so even my best shots still look mediocre after playing around with the levels in Photoshop. Forgive me, while you admire nonetheless what I managed to capture. (BTW, I really loved this cake - it's modern, simple, and gorgeous. Oh, if only I could convince my husband to throw another wedding with me...)