I didn't get to see/taste this one in person since I was on my way back to beautiful Enders Island; I dropped off the finished stencil to Wendy on my way out of town. I do know that there was lemon, marzipan, buttercream, almonds and limoncello involved...yum...
Wendy and I so much enjoyed making the "K" mandala cake that we decided to do it again, this time for my friend Marian, a self-professed diva who is turning 75. My idea was to work a stylized treble clef into the design because she is, after all, a soprano--but treble clefs are so, I don't know, ordinary. There was a lot of trial and error involved, so I worked in pencil on this one.
This time I cheated a little bit and when I finally got the motif right I just made seven copies and pasted it up. I added the leaves freehand for some finer contrast. The dots were punched from black paper and glued, making much better circles than I could have done by hand. Again I taped the design to the table, placed a piece of glass over it and then the stencil blank over that. With my handy "burner" tool I cut the stencil in no time at all. Then I headed over to Wendy's to test it with "old gold" lustre dust on parchment paper.
Wendy decided we should do the sides of the cake as well (a 14" creation!) and sent me home to make that stencil. Again, I copied, cut and pasted using elements of the round top design.
By the time I got back to her house, she had applied the gold to the top of the cake, a perfect disk of white chocolate.
Just imagine: layers of almond-flavored cake alternating with layers of raspberry mousse and lemon cloud illusion (lemon cream made with lemon curd). To die for! We stenciled the sides on two slabs of homemade marzipan (Wendy skinned the almonds herself!). It was a more subtle look than on the white chocolate, probably because of the moisture element.
Here's the first half applied:
And here's the master pastry chef herself:
Back into my studio I set to work making a matching card for Marian with my trusty Zebra G nib in Aztec Gold Finetec on Opal Stardust cardstock and envelope.
By the time I picked up the cake the next day for the party, Wendy had worked her magic with piping, fresh raspberries and marzipan leaves.
At the party, the beautiful birthday diva serenaded us with her amazing voice (and we serenaded her back with "Happy Birthday")...
...candles were added for "past, present and future"...
...and then it was time for cake!
Wendy and I are having so much fun with this collaboration! Stay tuned for the letter "T"!
I had already asked my dear neighbor Wendy Remer, an amazing chocolatier, to make a cake for my friend's 50th birthday celebration. Then we saw the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings...
...and were inspired by the wonderful creations of Nan Deluca, Patricia Mumau, Dana Cochran, and Xandra Zamora. We decided to collaborate and create something unique for the occasion.
Having admired the work, and especially the mandalas, of Jane Farr, I was delighted to find her outstanding step-by-step instructions for creating them. I penned my first mandala around the initial "K", then headed to Fedex Kinko's (or whatever it's called this week) to make a few enlargements.
With luck (and a 40% off coupon) I found an electric stencil cutter at Michaels--I didn't even know such a thing existed! What a dream to work with! It's kind of like a woodburning tool with a very fine tip. It seems to work well on .003 and thicker acetate sheets, as well as the stencil blanks that are sold for this purpose.
I taped the design to my work table, then a piece of glass over that, and the blank stencil on top. With a little practice I was able to keep the tool moving smoothly enough. (I did have my husband improve the insulation, though--it gets very hot!).
The pieces popped out easily with a craft knife.
I set the stencil over a piece of black paper to make sure I hadn't missed any sections...
...and on a whim, took out my pan chalks and a cotton ball to give it a test run.
Then it was time to head over to Wendy's for further experimentation! She had seen a video on using stencils with royal icing, which specified that the icing should be the consistency of mayonnaise. She tried out the stencil on her Silpat mat with mayonnaise and pink food coloring. Voila!
Encouraged by success, I cut and pasted elements of the mandala for a stencil to use on the sides of the cake. We ended up not using it after all.
Though next time we'd make it a bit stiffer, the apricot-tinted royal icing was quite striking over the chocolate fondant, and Wendy added some touches of gold dust to dress it up a bit. I made a little matching card to go with it (but forgot to take a picture of it).
The Birthday Girl was glowing and gorgeous!