Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It's a love story, baby, just say "Yes!"

About a month ago, a lady, lets call her Jane, wanted to surprise her husband for their anniversary. She asked me to make a small heart shaped cake for her family to have to celebrate their special day.

About a week ago, Jane asked if I could alter the cake, to make it big enough to feed a few families, adding to about 25 people. I was totally able to do it, but as ingredients and time costs went up, Jane re-evaluated the need for more sugar, butter, and fondant, and decided that she would just surprise her husband with a cake another year. She thanked me for my time, and apologised for changing her mind.

The day before their anniversary, I receive a call from Jane's husband! Lets call him John. Now he wanted me to make a cake to surprise her for their anniversary! Late notice, yes, but how could I say no to such a sweet couple. John wanted to make sure that I did not tell Jane about his plan. See, it turned out that Jane had mentioned to John that a cake would be nice, but they should probably save money and could easily do it another year. He nodded in agreement, and then totally went behind her back and organised it anyway! It was sweet.

I made it the way I would have made it for her, which is as follows.

I loved the heart tins that my local cake shop had, with a wispy tail to them. Very modern. I chose the two smaller sizes, knowing that I'll be doing two tiers, and knowing that I needed to feed 25, not 5,000.

Once they were filled with chocolate cake, baked, and cooled, I sliced them in half (lengthways) to add a layer of ganache, and then covered them with chocolate buttercream icing - ready for the fondant.

I knew (as I always do) that once the fondant was on, I could take a step back, maybe even make a coffee, look at the edible 'canvas', and decide what to do next. Red was the base colour, as per Jane's original request. I decided to add a strip of white on the bottom of each heart for a simple, elegant touch... And to cover up some of the parts that pleated and looked, well, unprofessional.

While I was cake tin shopping earlier in the day, I also bought a pre-made edible flower. I knew that my own skills are no where near making one of these myself, and I wanted to add something to the cake to make it extra special. I had all three kids with me, a time limit because the cake shop was closing, and decisions to make very quickly in between separating three tired and wriggly children, despite being bribed with KFC on the way home if they just sit down and let me do what I need to do.

With royal icing, I attached the rose in the top corner of the smaller cake... Then, knowing the design in my head, I wanted the names on the top, smaller heart, and then the anniversary wishes on the bottom cake. I 'spose now is as good a time as any to stop calling them Jane and John. The lovely couple's names are actually Noshi and Adil.

I'm quite certain they would have both gotten a huge surprise if I had written Jane and John on their cake!!

Leaving the two hearts separate for as long as possible (because I didn't want the weight of the top to crush the bottom tier), I used the cake tin as a guide for where the top cake would sit, and again, with royal icing, wrote what Noshi ("Jane") originally wanted me to write:

I had rolled out some extra little hearts to decorate the board, and used the side of (the heart cutter) to make a wispy tail on them to match the cake. When they were set, I sprayed them with some silver mist to make them just a bit glittery and anniversary-looking, and set them to the board with a dot of royal icing. I had also, by this time, attached the top tier with chocolate buttercream, and sealed around the bottom of each cake with royal icing.

Here it is! The finished cake from the back and side:

And here it is from the front:

It was such an honour to play a part in a lovely anniversary surprise!
I came home happy knowing that the cake was adored,
and that the surprise was successful.

Next time, though, I'll have to think quicker when asked who's at the door.
I may even give myself a pretend name, and say that I'm "Taylor Swift."
Somehow "Natalie? Why is Natalie here" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Happy anniversary Noshi and Adil! :)

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