Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Making of a Cake

I'm sure all my friends know I make cakes, sort of as a side business. It all started 4 years ago when I was given a cake decorating course as a present. My mother-in-law knew I wanted to learn how to create great cakes for my kids' birthday parties. Who knew it would blossom into a mini-business. I don't make a ton of cakes, nor do I make a ton of money doing it. But I enjoy the continuing practice of designing and creating cakes.

Even though I enjoy it, I must admit it can be a huge challenge. The main trouble is that people often have an unusual or difficult idea in mind for cake. Not only do I have to understand the idea they are trying to communicate to me (it helps if they have pictures!), but I have to find a way to actually carry it out and make it into a cake. Basically, I have to tell people that I think I can do what they are asking before I can attempt it and find out for sure. That creates pressure for me. Sometimes I am extremely pleased with the result, and other times I wish it would have turned out better.

Take, for instance, the cake I just finished today. The beautiful young lady who ordered the cake is celebrating her 25th birthday. She had a very specific design for a cake in mind, and thankfully she was able to give me a folder that used the design on it. I must admit, it is a tricky design, and I really had no idea how I could replicate it onto a cake. But I felt like it would be possible, so I accepted the challenge.

Here is the result:
I ended up tracing the design from the folder onto white paper. Then I used the sharp end of a kabob skewer to trace over the paper onto the cake. That only helped with the top of the cake, though, because I was unable to trace it onto the sides. I had to freehand the sides. I also was unable to work in any turquoise accents or writing, two things she had requested. But thankfully, she seemed pleased with what I had made. I think writing or another color would have been too much on top of this intricate design, so I suggested either leaving it plain or putting boldly colored number candles in the center.

It would be easier if everyone requested a 9 by 13 sheet cake that reads "Happy Birthday ____" and has a few roses in the corner, but I guess you can get those anywhere. I'm glad for the challenges and the opportunity to create unique cakes!


Lynn Leaming said...

Wow! Great Job Becky!

I agree, how could you add writing to that?

I think she should be very pleased and I bet it didn't just look pretty it tasted delicious!

Rachel said...

Hey...we just got back from the party and the cake was a BIG hit! Everyone was asking who did it! It really looked fabulous. Good job!

The Powells said...

Wow - that looks awesome! Great job!

Lindsay said...

We are so glad you take on these challenges. Wow! What a masterpiece you created. You are an amazing artist. I cannot imagine drawing/painting that good on paper - much less on a cake. Yes, most importantly, you have the yummiest cakes I have ever tasted!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to know what you used to make the design -- was it icing? shari

Becky said...

hey mom- yeah i used icing to make the design. buttercream that i had colored black. i piped it on with a small round tip, and smoothed it a bit after piping it on so it wouldn't look too "line-y".

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the photo, I thought you might have used pieces of Oreo cookies! The cake looks fabulous! I have never seen one like it! -- shari

Dara said...

Beautiful always!!! Love it! I am sure they loved it also!

Karly West said...

Very nice work!

And thanks for visiting my cake/digital art blog!

To answer your question, everyone's filigree is different, kind of like handwriting, but as a general guideline, you can think of making filigree like variations on "S" and "C" shapes. However loose or tight you choose to make those shapes will give you different looks! You obviously have a talent for this, so I'm sure your results will be fantastic!!!