Simple Elegance, in Six Tiers

I've got a parade of cake photos for you!  With the assistance of my husband, I set up a six-tier cake (which was accompanied by a small groom's cake) yesterday evening at Pickering Barn in Issaquah. The entire bride's cake was Red Velvet with cream-cheese filling and Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Each tier was covered in white marshmallow fondant and encircled with deep burgundy-colored fondant bands, studded at intervals with candy pearls. The top tier was decorated with a pearl-trimmed oval plaque with the initials of the bride and groom, and finished off with fourteen gumpaste calla lilies with burgundy petal-dusted throats.

The groom's cake was Caramel Toffee Fudge (dark chocolate sponge, rich caramel sauce, truffle ganache filling, and English toffee bits), covered in the same burgundy fondant used for the bands around the bride's cake. I indented little gumpaste discs with a custom tool to create sugar screw heads for the groom's cake, in place of the pearls on the bride's cake. 

The bride and groom chose this design within about five minutes of their cake tasting appointment.  They'd seen a similar cake in my portfolio (from last summer) and wanted the satin ribbon bands on that cake replaced with edible fondant bands, in burgundy to match the bridesmaids' dresses.

The main cake serves 350 to 375 (the groom's cake serves 25).  Needless to say, it was a beast.  I stacked the 16-inch tier onto the 18-inch base tier before we headed out to deliver the cake, and I reckon the combination weighed about 120lb, if not more. In other words, I couldn't have carried it into the venue without my husband's help, never mind the five other boxes containing the other tiers and the groom's cake!

I figured you'd all enjoy some in-progress shots, which make it seem as though the cake magically grew from two tiers into a six-tiered confection... <sigh>  If only I had a wand to wave, sometimes!

This cake was a challenge for me in many respects: it's the first six-tier cake I've made; the largest number of servings I've ever baked in two days (note: I never freeze cakes!); the first time I'd ever tinted fondant to create deep burgundy (note: this is extremely hard to do!); and the first time I'd transported two base tiers that were so large I couldn't carry them myself.  I had no trouble with it (except for the two hours I spent experimenting with gel color, dust color, pre-dyed fondant, etc, endlessly kneading samples and re-testing, trying to get just the right shade of burgundy), which tells me that good planning and a little luck were involved in the making (and hitch-free transportation) of this cake.

The eighteen-inch base tier and the sixteen-inch tier on top:

Four tiers high!  18"-16"-14"-12":

Look!  It's all level!  (I wanted to pop a champagne cork!)


And here's the 10-inch x 7-inch oval "Dr Who" themed groom's cake (the Tardis and bride-and-groom figurines were supplied by the couple; I decided to make the cake oval-shaped to accommodate them properly). It's on a silver luster-dusted cake board and has a silver fondant ribbon trim around the base: