Friday, August 28, 2009

Mini Wedding Cakes and Second Degree Burns

Today is only about halfway over and I have already had enough. I am currently typing with only seven of my ten fingers(one cannot be used simply because of the fingers that were injured).


Second degree burns. More on that later...

About a week ago my darling friend Valancy Jane asked if I could make a mini wedding cake for her darling friend, Bride 1.0. You see, Bride 1.0 and her fiance, Groom 1.0, are planning a bigger wedding later this year, but were craving something more intimate first. Enter Bride 1.0's surprise for her adventerous, but unknowing, fiance...a surprise wedding. Tomorrow. In a hot air balloon.

Yes, she is a daring young lady.

On top of that, my darling Valancy Jane has become ordained online and will be performing the wedding tomorrow, in handmade clergywear nonetheless. After Valancy had divulged all of this, and after having brief email correspondence with Bride 1.0, I was ready to tackle the mission given. The only guideline I was given: no chocolate.

Having lately dedicated my time to cupcakes and french macarons (not macaroons), I thought I should do a tester mini wedding cake before going headfirst into the real deal. Here is what I came up with:
My first mini wedding cake
An almond brown sugar cake filled with italian buttercream and lemon curd topped with more italian buttercream and marshmallow fondant roses brushed with edible glitter.

It was nice. Simple. Yummy. I was ready for the real deal.

But since I am me: a classic Asian perfectionist and all-around overachiever, I could not leave nice, simple, and yummy alone. I wanted more. I wanted something as grandiose as this wedding was going to be.

My plan of action: a two tier mini cake filled with lemon curd, the bottom layer a simple covering of brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, the top layer covered in marshmallow fondant (Bride 1.0 likes fondant, Groom 1.0 not really a fan) with decorations made out of marshmallow fondant and gum paste. Note: I am still rather green when it comes to working with gum paste and marshmallow fondant, but given my artsy background I had a feeling I would love it. And I do.

In my mind I had a vision of what I wanted the top tier to look like, I even sketched it out and everything. It was going to be a top layer that looked like a hot air balloon basket with two lovebirds inside, a banner with their names on it, and a 3D hot air balloon. I started modeling and painting my figures several days ago, as I knew it would take a while for them to dry. Then I covered the top layer in fondant and assembled the banner and birds like I had invisioned...
Topper for Bride and Groom 1.0's Mini Wedding Cake
...the only thing I had left to figure out was the 3D hot air balloon.

I had been fretting and trying out things daily, growing more anxious as the big day grew closer. Last night, my husband told me that I should just leave well enough alone and take the two tier mini wedding cake to Valancy today...sans the 3D hot air balloon. While I agreed that the cake looked rather lovely without the hot air balloon, I wanted the hot air balloon. I NEEDED the hot air balloon.

So while my family had gone to bed, I stayed up trying to figure out how to make my 3D balloon a reality. Finally, at 6am this morning, I had come up with my plan. I put the plan into action and it seemed to be working, but once I went to heat some more sugar that is when things went horribly wrong...I blame it on my impatience, on my tendency to dive into things headfirst, and my desire to be extremely detailed and beyond expectation. Whatever the reason, when I went to go get the hot sugar I got some of it onto my right middle and ring finger. OUCH!

It actually took a few seconds of my fingers burning to realize I was burning. I immediately put my emergency medicine background into use and submerged my burnt fingers into icy water, but as many of you have worked with sugar know, hot sugar keeps on burning, even after it has been removed...painful! I could see white blisters emerging as soon as I took them out of the icy water. After I popped a few rapid release Tylenol and my darling husband had assisted me in wrapping my fingers...
Molten Sugar+Bare Hand=2nd degree burns
I went back to work...but with one disappointing reality, the 3D hot air balloon was not going to happen.

I had to work quickly to cover the area I had opened up on the top of the cake to place the hot air balloon. My new plan...a few more handmade red roses (Bride 1.0 had mentioned during one of our correspondences something about red roses). The cake was saved and was finished in time to take to Valancy before she heads up to see Bride 1.0.
Bride and Groom 1.0's Mini Wedding Cake
Lesson of the day: sometimes it is okay to be simple. To be plain. To just be yummy.

But it does not mean I will not try to be grand next time...


  1. Sam, this is beautiful!!! I'm sorry that you were injured in the process. I hope that my wedding cake comes out just as beautiful as this *cough* if I get married.

  2. Awww...Izzy, thanks. And when you get married *ahem* if you'd like, even if I means I might have to fly to wherever, I'll make you a cake.

  3. The cake stole the show. Seriously, the bride and groom ate every bit, and didn't save any for Ray as they'd promised. They really, really enjoyed both how pretty it was and how yummy it was. She even saved one of the birds.

    It was a raging sucess, darling, as I knew it would be.

  4. Awww...I'm so glad darling. It was a supreme pleasure and honor to have been able to do it.

  5. There is nothing simple about it. It's perfect.