Saturday, February 28, 2009

According to my mom... relationship with cake actually began when I was given an Easy-Bake Oven at about 6 years old. She remembers me mixing up the batters, placing the tiny cake pans under the incandescent light bulb, and waiting for them to "bake". The cakes would come out an opening on the back of the oven, and then I'd decorate them with the ready-to-mix frosting that were included in the kit. I'm pretty sure both the cake and frosting mixes only required water and some stirring to create the edible masterpieces, but I imagine I thought I was quite the chef. So simple, but so much fun! Thanks, Mom, for the great stories and wonderful memories...

I thought I would post a couple of photos of cake decorations that were created with some inspiration from the simple ingredient, sugar. Cake designers frequently use vases for their sugarpaste flowers that are made out of a granulated sugar and water mixture, and I wanted to try it myself. The mixture looks like wet sand, and is pressed into small molds and then turned out to dry for a day. Once the outside layer is set, the damp sugar inside can be scooped out to form a cup or vase to hold bouquets of flowers.

The first cake was designed based on some Victorian-style linens. Here is the sugar vase filled with sugarpaste flowers, including gardenias, hydrangea, peonies and filler flowers. It was made with two pieces, a small cup for the top, and a solid base, "glued" together with royal icing:

And here is the finished cake:

The second sugar vase was made for a dear friend of mine to place on the top of her wedding cake. She wanted something soft and delicate, but not cutesy, and for the vase to look almost like a little bowl (please note that the actual cake was created by the wonderful Patisserie Angelica in Sebastopol, California). The flowers included green and white hydrangea, gardenias, ranunculus and freesia: