Sunday, July 10, 2011
Leon & Veronica's 25th wedding anniversary was the first I've ever attended (still looking good, you two!) and it was beautiful, with singing and dancing presentations from their talented nephews and nieces but the most entertaining and heart-warming presentation was by their three kids who re-enacted scenes from their first meeting. My favorite was the 'The Most Awesome Proposal In The World', something like that. I was probably the one who laughed the loudest in the ballroom of over 300 people.
And so we did it, decorated 328 cupcakes and a top cake in one day. I wouldn't have been able to do it if not for my friends Elaine, Aifuah and Lily. I started around 9 am while Aifuah came about an hour later and the others before lunch time. We worked so hard that we forgot about lunch (Hub bought some buns but nobody stopped to eat). I had planned to deliver the cakes (this part I hate; I didn't know that I'd have to deliver) by 4 or 5 pm so that the couple can take photos of my piece de resistance before the guests arrive but a near-disaster happened at 2:30 pm and I only got to the hotel at 6:40 pm (the cakes were delivered earlier) to oversee the setting up of the cake stand.
Aifuah is the expert in sugarpaste cakes, at least among us, but she got the flu early in the week so she couldn't make the covering fondant on Thursday as planned. She had made 1 kg of fondant on Monday for the flowers. So I had to get commercial fondant from the stores. Commercial 'rolled fondant' is soft, marshmallowy and very pliable. At RM10 a kg, commercial fondant is affordable and SO much easier to use than home-made fondant. With home-made fondant, I could make a small rose in 8 to 10 minutes but with commercial fondant, which doesn't need much kneading, I could get the same thing done in 2.5 minutes.
The near-disaster came when Aifuah draped the covering fondant over the very tall (3 stacked cakes, about 9"/22 cm high) American-style prune buttercake. The soft and stretchy fondant immediately pulled off at the edge of the cake top, leaving a piece of jagged-edged fondant on the top and the rest of the fondant around the bottom of the cake. We were stunned! I would have cried if I was the only one doing the job.
Aifuah suggested we cover the cake with Swiss buttercream but the butter needed to thaw and the icing would melt if the completed cake was not chilled. Lily suggested royal icing but I haven't made that in years plus it needed to harden. I decided to make our own covering fondant, even at that late stage, because Aifuah and I have made fondant before and it was better to go with something we know. Elaine ran to the nearest cake ingredients shop to get liquid glucose but she also got a kg of imported fondant (lifesaver!). Upon kneading, the fondant was crumbly and dry. Arggghh! In a final effort, I threw the crumbly fondant, the salvaged soft fondant and lots of icing sugar into the mixer. The texture was much firmer and we held our breaths as Aifuah draped the new fondant over the cake (reduced to 2 stacked cakes now). The fondant didn't pull away. By then it was about 4 pm. 1/4 of the cupcakes were still not done because of the fuss over the failed fondant.
What have I learnt? 1) Decorating 328 cupcakes and a main cake on the same day is asking for trouble! i should've covered the main cake the night before as planned. I couldn't because I couldn't find 6" round cake boards in the stores for stacking the main cakes. 2) Delivery is part of the deal (I didn't know that) and thank God I got last minute help from friends and their wonderful kids! 3) I have wonderful friends who didn't complain, and instead said they enjoyed themselves. Love you ladies, you did a wonderful job!
We didn't cut the tops off the cakes at first and that resulted in gaps between the cakes and the fondant.
The top cake was covered in ivory colored fondant, flowers were made with home-made fondant.
The cake stand, made with the help of Elaine and my helper Vero, was based on a post by Cake Journal.
To Iona & sisters: Thanks for delivering the cakes!