As some of you know by now, I got married on December 22 to a man whom I had said I would marry when I was 12. That was 32 years ago. Of course, the relationship didn’t last back then because I scared him when I said that. Earlier this year my husband of 11 years died from cancer. Jeffrey was here. Two months ago we made the decision to get married. Two weeks ago I made the decision to make my own wedding cake. A little over a week and a half ago we decided we wanted a castle cake. Thanks to Wilton and their wonderful products, the dream became a reality and the castle cake was served at our reception. It took a week to get it all done – but I worked slowly, a little at a time. Now, I will share with you the journey that ended in the creation of this wonderful cake.
The first step was to create the gum paste flowers. I had never worked with gum paste before. I had intended to use rose and orchid sugar flowers on the cake – however after seeing the size of the orchids and comparing them to the cake, they simply were too large. I ended up making lots of tiny leaves and lots of tiny flowers out of gum paste that I used instead. I made 516 tiny leaves and 282 small gum paste flowers. I used the Wilton Cut & Press Tools to create the leaves and flowers. Thank goodness I was able to find them because they made the job so easy!
I started the week off on Monday making the flowers. I rolled out the gum paste to about 1/8 inch thick, cut the flowers and put the flowers inside of the Wilton Gum Paste Storage Board to keep them from drying out so I could just keep cutting without worrying about the gum paste I rolled out drying out.
I wanted the flowers to remain moist enough so that I could put the Edible Sugar Pearls in the center of each flower. I used Wilton food coloring to turn some of the gum paste red and blue so I had a few flowers that would be vibrant. I used the Wilton Color Dust on all the flowers to give them a shimmer after they were cut- and to add a touch of color to some of the white flowers. The Wilton Color Dust creates a pastel color instead of the vibrant color I was afraid the food coloring would create. It worked out perfectly.
Once all the flowers were cut, I removed them from the storage board a few at a time and dusted them with the Wilton Color Dust. Then the Edible Sugar Pearls were placed in center of each flower and gently pressed into it. Once this was done, I laid them out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to dry.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent cutting out the leaves – all 516 of them. I used the Wilton food coloring to turn some of the gum paste green and cut away. I didn’t worry about keeping the leaves moist because I was done with them as soon as they were cut. I simply laid them out onto a large wax paper lined cookie sheet and let them dry. I do think I used a bit too much cornstarch on the wax paper I rolled the gum paste out on, but it did dust off in the end. I also marbled some of the gum paste so the leaves had a slight variegation to them.
Once the flowers and leaves were cut out and drying, it was time to bake the cake. My oven is very old, the temperature goes up and down and the top part of the interior of the oven is rusted out so the top of the stove gets very hot. I can only bake one thing at a time, then I must turn the oven off and let it cool. I can also forget about the amount of time it says it takes to cook something because although the cake should have taken 40 to 45 minutes to bake, the reality is it was done in 20. If I ever get a new stove I won’t know how to cook! LOL! Anyway, here is how I made the cake.
First, I mixed up two boxes of cake mix – Cherry Chip. Yes, I used box cake for this project. That gave me enough batter to fill the large oval pan that was to become the bottom of the cake and three smaller heart shaped pans that were for our one year anniversary. Actually I ate one of them today, but I did freeze two of them for next year. I put the four cake pans on the center rack of the oven and baked them per the instructions on the cake box – except I used the Wilton chart for my pans for baking times. As I said, the cake was done in 20 minutes. I removed the cake pans from the oven, turned it off and set the smaller ones on a cake cooling rack . The larger pan I set on top of my jerky making pan which happened to have a grid wire rack on top.
I let the pans cool about 15 minutes, then slid a butter knife around the edge of the pans, turned the cakes upside down and removed them from the pan. I put them back on the cooling rack and allowed them to cool completely. Now the larger cake was tricker to do this with. The smaller ones fit nicely on a saucer. The larger cake I used the bottom of the jerky pan to turn the cake out onto and then laid the wire grid on top of the cake and flipped it. If you try to flip this without something on top, it will break in half – no matter how cool the cake is.
Later that day, I made three more boxes of cake mix and filled the last three oval pans. I baked them, cooled them, removed them from the pans and let them sit on the cooling racks until they were completely cool. Once they were cool, I used the Wilton Cake Leveler to level the cakes. You don’t want that hump that seems to occur on every cake you bake when you are stacking them. I also leveled the hearts. I put the cut off cake into a baggie so it could be snacked on.
Once the cakes were leveled, I needed to put icing on them so they would not dry out. I went with pre-made icing as well. It was quicker, easier and made to sit out. I chose Wilton White Ready To Use – and it tasted great! It was easy to work with regardless of how I was using it. That first night, I simply covered each layer of cake with a smooth layer of icing. I did end up buying two 4lb 8ounce tubs to do the entire cake but I had a little bit left over.
I used a different icing on the small hearts and went ahead and decorated them. That got them out of my way and let me concentrate on the larger cake. Friday was a down day because I was busy making the bride and groom cake pops. That is for another post though.
Saturday morning I took the boxed cake layers to the church and began sitting the cake up. Wooden dowel rods were cut and placed in the cake under the cardboard that each layer was set on. As the cake was stacked, I spread icing over the foil covered cardboard. Once the cake was completely stacked – I goofed and put the castle pieces in place. It would have been easier to do all the icing stars on the cake and then position the castle pieces. I was just anxious to see it all together.
I began filling the cake with white and green stars. As the green star icing was pressed onto the cake, I paused and put the flowers and leaves in place. Some of the Edible Sugar Pearls didn’t stick and so I asked Sharli, Rhonda, Mary and Roberta to use icing to adhere them into place.
Once the castle was iced, the turret tower peak pieces needed iced. Luckily for me Mary, Rhonda and Roberta took on this job. Shari combined all the leftover icing and added some of the Wilton black food coloring to turn it kind of grey. They spread the icing over the peak pieces and held them while I sprinkled the clear cake sparkles over them. Then we carefully placed the peaks on the turrets making sure to touch up the areas we touched so the icing was not messed up.
By late Saturday night, the cake was finished. It was – indeed – a masterpiece fit for a fairy tale wedding – which was exactly the kind of wedding I ended up having.