She loves cake, so naturally her wedding cake is a very important part of her day.
This is her cake. The bottom three tiers are covered in ivory fondant, alternately wrapped vertically and horizontally, to match the design of her dress. They will be brushed with pearl luster dust to make them shimmer like satin.
The top three tiers are blush pink with ivory swags to match the bottom tiers.
There are several large ivory fondant bows, with crystals in the center.
The topper is a crystal monogram.
The cake, as designed, would serve about 450 guests, which is more cake than she really needs, so the bottom three tiers -- the most time-consuming to create -- will be made of styrofoam covered in fondant.
I always worry about large cakes in the heat of Alabama's summer wedding season. Fondant holds up better to the heat than buttercream, and with the local forecast calling for "unsettled weather," I'd rather not stress about the air conditioning and electricity. This way the cake can travel with these pieces already stacked and we can make them in advance which will keep everyone's stress level manageable.
Starting with three large foam cake dummies, we rounded the edges of the two that will be getting vertical draped fondant. This is a trick we learned from the fondant seminar we all attended a few weeks ago. It looks more realistic than a sharp edge, and the fondant is less likely to tear (on the sharp edge). The middle layer gets horizontally applied fondant and we don't need to sand the edges because there's less risk of tearing.
We are not using plain fondant (and definitely NOT fondant from the hobby store.) We buy our fondant from Albert Uster Imports, sold under the brand name Massa. It's got better taste and texture than most commercial brands made in the U.S. We've mixed equal parts of white chocolate fondant (dark ivory), neutral fondant (to lighten the color) and gum paste (for strength). The gum paste will also make the fondant dry faster, which is a mixed blessing. We plan to eventually brush the entire cake in luster dust.
The vertical drapes go on a section at a time. This took WAY LONGER than I thought. If you have ever made fondant swags, you'll understand why. Each of those "folds" is done one-by-one using skewers to line them up. Crystal wanted tight folds because that's the way her dress was designed.
I originally planned to use the dough sheeter to roll out the fondant but the thin sheets kept getting stuck between the rollers, so I had to revert to the hand-cranked pasta machine. This worked great after I thoroughly cleaned and oiled the machine but the width is only about five inches, which shrinks considerably when the fondant is gathered into folds.
The second round went much faster as the fondant went on in strips around the cake. It's definitely starting to come together. Now only one more round of vertical gathers before we can start applying the luster dust, ribbons and bows.
The top three tiers of cake will have to wait until Friday since they are real cake and cannot be made in advance. But we can make all the bows, which have to dry, and prepare the blush pink fondant so it's ready when we need it.