There were two wedding cakes among my orders for this past weekend, the first of which was for Erin and Nate's reception on Saturday at the Belle Chapel in Snohomish. The wedding was lovingly and expertly coordinated by my friend and fellow wedding professional, Rebecca Grant, of New Creations, with some pretty gorgeous florals by Sublime Stems.
From the three or four cake designs I'd sent them, Erin and Nate chose a classic cake (matte off-white fondant with grey-blue ribbon trim) adorned with some exuberant sugar flowers in their wedding color palette of blue and yellow. They also loved the idea of putting an edible monogram plaque on the bottom tier. Their French country theme was carried out so beautifully at the venue, with blue-and-ivory toilé fabric for the table runners, a vintage suitcase as the cake stand, and delicious Parisian macarons in pastel shades as the favors for their guests, among other sweet and personal touches.
The four tiers (6"-8"-10"-12") varied in height (the top and third tiers were 4" tall; the second and bottom tiers were 6" tall). The cake provided generous dessert portions for 125 people, divided between Pink Champagne cake (with cream-cheese filling and bourbon vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream frosting), and Mocha cake (chocolate sponge with espresso buttercream filling and chocolate truffle frosting).
The ruffled 'ribbon' roses (in yellow), green foliage, and hydrangeas (in various shades of blue) were all handcrafted from gumpaste. I piped a few cascades of tiny white dots in Royal Icing to soften the design and add some extra visual interest.
The one lesson I learnt from this cake was that suitcases, although they are beautiful as cake stands, can be slightly tricky to deal with. If they're empty, they're not always perfectly sturdy (especially for a substantial four-tiered cake). By the time I'd finished setting up the cake (which took me more than an hour, mostly because the sugar flowers weren't all wired and thus needed to be Royal-iced to the cake, which is time-consuming), I noticed that there was a slight lean to it, which was most visible from the side, but fortunately not so visible from the front. From my reckoning (since I always use a level on each cake tier, during both the frosting and stacking phases, in order to ensure evenness), the suitcase was flexing slightly in the middle in such a way that the cake no longer looked completely level. That sort of thing frustrates me no end, but it would've been risky and stressful to move the cake with just minutes to spare before the ceremony began. So, I made the call and decided to leave it on the suitcase, with a gentle word to the caterer that if she felt uneasy about the cake at any point during the evening, she had my full permission to remove it from its pedestal and place it directly onto the cake table!
So... a word to brides: if you're going to use a vintage suitcase to elevate and showcase your cake, consider filling it with phonebooks or something else sturdy. Cakes are heavy, and most cake designers like their cakes to be nice and level. :)
Even though our cake consultation took place just last month, and I worked with them for such a brief period, I absolutely loved working with Erin and Nate and I can't say I've ever met a sweeter couple. They're SO in love with each other and it's clear that they extend their warmth and generosity of spirit to everyone they meet. I send my congratulations to them both, and wish them a lifetime of joy and growth as a couple!