Sunday, August 23, 2009

C'est le Gateau

Haven't posted in a while. Turns out the cake universe decided to throw us a little curve ball in the middle of our busy season, so we needed to get a few things straightened out before getting back to the fun stuff.

Short version...good refrigerator gets repaired for not holding proper temperature...becomes CAKE KILLER. Thankfully, no casualties, but two weeks of incredible uncertainty and drama as to if we would be able to continue to create the cakes that we love without risking their soggy demise in every commercial fridge we've tried. Thanks to the support of our ring of talented, tenacious, and fiercely loyal friends, family, fridge-tech, and cake nerd/diva network, we seem to have figured out a solution to the problem. Much thanks to the support of the staff at Colette's cakes, Kerry Vincent, Todd the awesome Fridge Tech, Dave the other awesome fridge tech, the staff at Appliance Smart, Envirotech, Redco, and of course, my awesome husband, for driving all over the twin cities with test-cakes and hygrometers.

Now, back to the fun stuff!

Ingrid and Jason were engaged at the top of Sacre Coeur in the MontMartre arondissement of Paris. They called looking for a cake in the shape of that awesome cathedral, but having been to that part of Paris, myself, I knew we had much more to work with. Turns out...on a five day trip to Paris for my tenth wedding anniversary, my husband naively trusted my navigational skills to get us to the airport via the Metro. We were well on our way, until he realized that I was taking us to Orly, when we actually needed to get to Charles De Gaulle. Tee hee. The upside to missing your flight out of Paris...missing your flight out of Paris! We found another hotel, threw down our bags, and headed of to see MontMartre. Best accidental vacation day I've ever had!

Now back to our lovely couple. Turns out, they adored that particular neighborhood of Paris as well, so we decided to top the cake with Sacre Coeur, but let the cake represent the fabulous hillside that makes up Montmartre, complete with its open air art market and quaint cafes.

We added a couple of personal details, like the couples darling doggy "Polo" tied to one of the lamp posts, as well as the actual hotel that the couple stayed at in Paris and the Carousel at the foot of Sacre Couer that they took a spin on after he popped Le Quesion. All done in a new technique that we came up with while working on a cartoon-style groom's cake shaped like Texas.

It took a lot of vision to translate the little cartoons from the grooms cake into a Paris-themed wedding cake, but Ingrid and Jason really embraced the idea, and I must say, this was an absolute joy to work on!

We had such fun painting the panels, that while in "fridge hell" this past two weeks, I seriously considered retiring from cakes and taking painting lessons instead. Fortunately for my clients, employees, and the sanity of my husband, I'm still on the job.


Rafael Logrono said...

You are too funny Robyn! You always seem to crack me up when reading your blog. How can you put fondant covered cakes in the fridge without them getting funky and soggy afterwards? Can you tell us the trick. Thanks!

-Rafael :)

Anonymous said...

Gladly. I'd rather not have any other poor soul deal with the matter by themselves. It appears as though boxing the cakes in corregated cardboard shipping boxes works to keep them safe inside the fridge. Test this out on an unimportant cake first to make sure you don't screw yourself! So far, we've used the method for three wedding cakes, each refrigerated for two nights, with no problems.

Anonymous said...

Great tip on the boxes. Thanks. Awesome cake! I love all the little painted details. Beautiful!

Rafael Logrono said...

Thanks for the tip. Do you lower the moister level of the fridge? I've heard Ron Ben Israel say that he lowers the moister level to avoid a sweaty cake. And would any of the sugar elements such as flowers change? Thank you!

-Rafael :)

Evil Cake Genius said...

I tried putting moisture absorbant panels in the refrigerator. We got them from a place in Texas that Bronwen Weber recommended. Unfortunately, the problem doesn't seem to stem from humidity. I know that bringing a cold cake from a refrigerator into a warm room, or outdoors will cause it to sweat, but the problem we were finding was that fondant cakes being stored in the refrigerator overnight were getting wet and sweaty/melted inside the refrigerator, not when removed. The moisture control panels did nothing to stop this from happening inside the refrigerator, so we're sticking with the boxes that seem to be working. Again, try out different things in your own refrigerator to test it. We've found that people using residential refrigerators don't usually have any problems refrigerating fondant cakes, so if you're using a home fridge, you may not even need to box the cakes. I can't stress enough, test out your methods on unimportant cakes! There's nothing worse than seeing one of your beauties destroyed!