Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Laptop & New Cake...

No, they're not necessarily connected, but I figured it was easier to do one post. I'm doing my (ta-da) very first post on my lew Lenovo ThinkPad T520.

This replaces my eight year old (yes, EIGHT), and still functioning IBM ThinkPad. Hubby got a great deal, so we got Kid #2 a laptop for his graduation and a second one for me. Hubby is repurposing my IBM ThinkPad for his work, and that's cool. The machine runs well, even after surviving the "Elkhound Puppy Drop Test" and my replacing a keyboard.

The cake? Well, I did a wedding cake this past weekend. It was a small one, for about 120 people, for a garden wedding. This is the sister to someone whose cake I did 5 years ago.

Here's a picture of the cake:

Flower basket wedding cake.
And here's what it is. It's actually 5 layers of cake to serve, with the top layer reserved for the wedding party. The bride wanted different flavors (like her sister had), but she wanted the top to be chocolate.

The entire cake was filled with my home-made chocolate buttercream - guaranteed to melt you at the knees.

The layer in the middle is yellow cake; the bottom layer is fudge marble, and the 3 small satellite cakes are devil's food. That way, everyone gets what they want, within reason. All cakes have the chocolate filling. If you click on the picture, you can see the "basketweave" pattern on several of the cakes. I also added their names to the bottom cake, and their date at the top.

Silk pansies, ivy and baby's breath topped the cake. I used a "floating" cake stand that I had used for an earlier wedding, but as you can see, I put the ivy around the arms of the stand.  The cake took me a total of 8 hours to decorate, including the hour we spent on-site putting on the borders.

Satellite cakes
Here's a close-up of the smaller cakes; you can see the basketweave more clearly here. Hubby had the idea to have the ivy vines touching, kind of "encircling" the satellites. The top of each cake has a rope border, to match the idea of a "basket" in buttercream.

The bride was absolutely thrilled with the cake. In actuality, the cake served 128 people, and by the end of the evening (at least when we left), I had 25 pieces left. We figured those would be "wrapped and go" pieces.

I got lots of good comments, and I set out a bunch of my business cards, directing people to the website. Even the wedding photographer took a picture of ME with my cake! Half the time, nobody bothers. Lots of people commented on the personalization. Hubby thought it was "corny" but I think it was ok.

Formal wedding cake
The bride originally wanted a cake just like her sister's. Here:  Now, I liked this cake. It was very plain; the florist did the flowers, and it was simple. It was also bigger by about 50 people!

I think that each bride and groom needs their own cake. I knew that they wouldn't mind if I took a little liberty. So I came up with the design above, got mirrors at the Hobby Lobby for the smaller cakes, and we had a lovely, memorable cake for the couple.

My system is to tell people that wedding cake "has no calories" - it's a celebration! As long as, in this case, everyone had a lovely dinner, enjoyed the cake, danced and didn't fall into the pool, the evening was a success.

With every wedding, you learn something. Here's what I learned from this occasion:

1.  Put something on the cutting area; it was kind of a mess when I got done!
2. Bring your own knife! I brought one, but it should always be a slim serrated knife.
3. Always bring gloves. Even if you ARE neat, it looks better.
4. Make sure you have someone there to help you set it up. Without Hubby, I'd have been able to do it, but it's easier with an extra pair of hands!
5. Always bring your turntable. Makes putting on the last-minute borders easy.

And as you know: it should be fun. Delicious, too. But fun, always. This is my hobby, not my job. And yes, I do get paid for it. But if I had to do it for a living, I don't think I could. I do just enough to make a little yarn money, and keep me happy.

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