Sunday, April 21, 2013

Telling Tales

I love making cakes that tell a story.  Sometimes, it's've seen our book cakes, if not, go to our Babies post just below this one to see a good example. (Coincidentally, Miss Charlotte was born yesterday! Welcome Miss Charlie, we're sorry there is a foot of snow on the ground to greet you on your April Birthday.)  Other times we take a more subtle approach, and set up almost a "still life" in cake to share a couple's story (See Samanthony and the Beach for a great example).

When I first heard about Marlene and Bobby's wedding, I knew nothing about them besides the fact that they had chic modern invitations designed by their coordinators Amy Zaroff Events, and that their wedding would be held at the fabulous Graves 601 Hotel.  So, no ruffles and frills in store for this cake.  I planned to work the honeycomb pattern from the invitations on their cake and create a graphic, unique design that would blend with their choice of venue, and their style, nothing more...Then I met them.

Marlene and Bobby are not your typical couple.  They met at college, and that is where the "typical" ends.  As a matter of fact, they admitted outright that when they met they didn't particularly like each other.  To quote the cake (we'll get there, trust me) "Marlene thought Bobby was pompous and Bobby ignored Marlene, since she was just a Freshman".

First impressions aren't a matter of fact, I've heard from several of my clients that they really weren't fond of their eventual spouse when they first met.  It was getting to know them, and learning that they had so much in common that changed the tune of their stubborn hearts.

That must be it!  So, I delved further.  Bobby is in politics.  So that's my answer!  They met in Student Government (according to the cake...Patience, people, we'll get to it!!) so they must be two politically driven passionate people! ...and they are!!! He is passionately Republican and She is an equally outspoken....rrrrrrrrtrtttttttttt....hold everything...Democrat.

Turns out, the differences were numerous.  He was a small town boy, she was a city girl, he's Christian, she's Jewish.  Not even geography was on their side.  Bobby graduated shortly after they began dating and moved from New York to Minneapolis, while Marlene spent that Summer in Madrid, and then went back to New York to finish two more years of school followed by a year in London.

Sounds doomed.

Now, let the Evil Cake Genius interject for a moment.  You see, when the Captain and I decided to tie the knot, we went through the pre marital counseling required by the church in which we were married.  The Pastor, Harry, was excited to share a compatibility test that was created at the neighboring U of MN.  He had administered this survey to other soon-to-be-wed couples and found it very useful in identifying the few inevitable personality/compatibility clashes that every couple must face.  We took our tests separately, and the next week, he shared our highly scientific results. 

Truth be told, he had "never seen a couple so incompatible".  Seeing as we already put a deposit down on the reception venue, the three of us decided to ignore the esteemed University's opinion and rely on the possibility that the Captain, is simply the "Yin" to my "Yan". 

Happily, seventeen years later, I can report that despite the warnings from our Alma Mater, the Captain and I are still not only married, but actually like each other.  My East Coast abruptness somehow balances his California chill.  My embellished stories are balanced by his quiet voice of reason, and I wouldn't have it any other way.   And that whole "I married my best friend" bull, you can keep it.  I have a best friend.  Her name is Sherrie.  And I have a husband, who I live with, fight with, laugh with, cry with, and love. Never trust a couple who "doesn't fight".  They're either lying to you, or they have the most boring relationship on the planet.  Yeah, I said it.

Back to our couple.

With my personal experience and passion for "opposites" attracting, I was thrilled when I saw that Marlene and Bobby had already shared their less-than-typical courtship with their guests.  The designer over at Amy Zaroff  Events, had cleverly put their story together, complete with campy 1950's graphics and created a save the date card that told all!  Even better, they were fully on board with telling their tale again on the wedding cake.  This time, we'd add the story of Bobby's elaborate and thoughtful proposal, as well as their very own happy ending.

We took the graphics from the Save the Date, created the new graphics for the proposal and top tier panels, and ran with it.  All that was left of my original design was a few fondant hexagons on the ledges, which seemed a little lackluster, until we added parts of the story to those as well.

What resulted, was one of my all time favorite cakes.  Not only in look, but in spirit.  It's the truth...the whole truth...presented in the best way possible.  In Cake.  Marlene and Bobby chose to embrace their differences as part of their story.  They even had political booster buttons as their place cards, seating each guest at a table identified, not by a number, but by a political ticket from US election history. 

If this is enough reading for you, I fully understand.  Feel free to cut bait now, and go grab a snack, or watch some television, maybe even read some actual literature.  I won't be offended.  But I must warn you, that the story doesn't end here.

Like all good political opponents, Marlene decided to uncover a secret part of Bobby's past and make it public at their reception (which, I might add, was a mere eight weeks before the 2012 election).  And I was thrilled to see that she refrained from using one of the 24 hour news channels, a tabloid, or a newspaper to do the deed.  She used...a cake.

Now, if you read the wedding cake, you know that Bobby moved to Minneapolis and set up house long before Marlene moved here.  So, when Marlene returned from London to her new home with Bobby, she was a little shocked to see that he had decorated the bathroom of their place entirely in Spider Man accoutrements.  He had it all, shower curtain, shower curtain rings, soap dispenser, tooth brush holder, and most importantly, when she asked "Is there a matching garbage can?" the answer was "Yes".  With a sigh of relief, she did exactly what any future wife would do under the circumstances.  She loaded that charming Spidey garbage can with the other Super Hero accessories, and escorted them to the neighborhood's Avengers Head Quarters, conveniently located inside the dumpster behind their building.

This story is a job for the second type of tale-telling cake that I mentioned (what seems like a year ago) in the opening paragraph of the blog.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  A cake sculpture is worth at least as many, plus it tastes better than any of the words I've had the pleasure of eating in my life (see above, I'm East Coast, aaaand Italian, I've eaten my share of words).

So, we whipped up this Super Hero expose, Gateaux style.  With a little embellishment, and  a lot of humor.  Marlene was completely on board, loving the addition of crumpled frosting Kleenex and Q-tips.  She emailed us links to the full array of Spiderman Bathroom Décor that she banished from the apartment, and like any good informant, kept the lid on the "scoop" until just the right moment(the reception).

We set up the wedding cake, watched the couple enter their ceremony, then rushed in for a stealthy Groom's Cake set up during the ceremony.  We wondered what his reaction to his public Super Hero "outing" would be, but alas, we are cake ladies.  We dissolve into a mere puff of powdered sugar by the time the reception is underway.  Thankfully, their fabulous photographer Erin Johnson caught a few shots of the newlyweds with the cake.  Marlene was also sure to let us know how well it was received once they returned from honeymoon.  She even included a great shot of her with Bobby reenacting the Great Bathroom Scene for posterity.  (Notice the finger prints on the cake from some anonymous/curious guest...yes, that's a cake!!)

So, our foray into political journalism came to its well-deserved end.  And back to the Lair of the Evil Cake Genius, we went.  Thanks Marlene, and Spider-Bobby for the reminder that the best love stories are the weird ones.  We wish you spirited election years, and love, and fights, and all that goes with a great marriage.  Congratulations, Mazel Tov, and Tingling Spidey-Senses for years to come.

Decorator's Notes:

Marlene and Bobby's wedding cake was made with custom screens so that an entire side of a tier could be screen printed in Royal Icing in one swipe.  I can't imagine the amount of time it would have taken to hand letter those tiers...I'd still be working on it now.  We sell many screens on our Shop Gateaux Store
The Spidey cake was such fun to make.  We actually ordered a set of the Spiderman Shower Curtain Rings and cast a mold off of it to make ours out of chocolate.  We use a ton of this stuff.  I wish I had a wholesale source for it, but you can find it at
The hand towel was textured by stabbing it repeatedly with a small star tip.  It's not easy on the hands, but makes a great terry cloth texture.
We molded the base of the soap dispenser out of colored white chocolate.  Sometimes you just have to look around a bit to find the right mold.  This one was molded in a quart carton from whipping cream. 
Inspired?  Check out our Evil Cake Genius site for great stencils, screens and cutters.  We're adding new items weekly, so check back often!


QuirkyKristen said...

Your screen printing is absolutely fantastic!! Any chance you'd be willing to share how you make your custom screens? I realize you sell some of yours but I'm interested in creating a birthday cake for my little girl who writes short stories. It would be fantastic to include her own stories on the cake but I would have to have a custom screen done.

Evil Cake Genius said...

Thanks Kristen! The trick is marrying someone in the screen print business. ;) We do offer custom screens as well. Please email us at with exactly what you are looking for and we can get you a custom quote!

Nicole (Bellenza Party Suite) said...

THAT IS ONE AMAZING CAKE! You create the best ones I've seen! Fantastic work!

Unknown said...

Your cakes are beautiful and so fun. I LOVE the reading your stories that go along with each creation!