Sunday, August 10, 2014

Paper Trail

The Evil Cake Genius has been decorating wedding cakes for a long time.  A very long time.  Allow me to take a moment to rant like an old lady about "in my day" for a second.
When Gateaux Inc. opened in 1996, things were simpler...and harder.  There was no Pinterest, no Ipads, and cellular phones were just that, phones.  Simple.  Brides and Grooms would come in for their appointment with a ring binder (insert young, techie howling laughter here) filled with torn-out pages of wedding magazines, photos, (yes, printed photos) of the bride's wedding dress, and a few swatches of linens, etc.  Any additional inspiration collateral would have to be mailed (snail, that is) to us.

Likewise, when we made an awesome cake, we printed an 8x10 the photo shop (not on Photoshop) and put it in our adorable little photo album for other potential clients to see.  Nothing went viral except the occasional head-cold.

That didn't stop The Evil Cake Genius from creating some pretty bad-ass cakes.

One in particular was designed for a couple who were living in San Francisco, but marrying in Minneapolis.  They loved good wine, their Golden Retriever, and their new "home" City by the Bay.  So, we decided to make a cake that would bring a little San Francisco to their Minnesota guests by way of a three tier cake topped with a frosting sugar Trolley and adorned with little candy striped awnings, under which would be frosting vignettes of store fronts.  We had Lombard Street Wines, a wedding cake shop, a wedding dress shop, and of course, a pet shop, with their sweet little dog silhouetted out of golden fondant.
Photo by Studio 306

It was a delightful cake.  The couple loved it, their guests loved it, and we loved it...despite the fact that hand-cutting every tiny detail out of fondant with an Exacto blade took us a record-breaking 54 hours of decorating time.  A night that will live in Gateaux infamy as the "holy crap, we may not get this cake done in time for the reception tomorrow" night.

Needless to say, we made it "to the church(reception) on time, but when we received pictures of this adorable cake from the couple's photographer, we admired them, and promptly filed them deep in the bowels of the cake shop, never to be shown to any potential client for fear of a repeat performance.  Simple.

If that cake had happened today, those photos would have been plastered on the Internet via Facebook, Pinterest, Weddingwire, Reddit, Diddit, Haddit, UptoMyEyballsInit!  Thank God for a simpler time.

Enter Sarah and Joe...last year.

Sarah knew exactly what she wanted in a wedding cake.  It was simple...she'd known since the moment she saw it...years ago...while working part time at the Calhoun Beach Club as a server.  How cool is that?  Long before she had the ring, or even the guy, she fell in love with her future wedding cake.  The Evil Cake Genius is pleased with such flattery.  Now, which of the many little gems that we've delivered to CBC was it?  The beautiful lacy cake with the big bow?  The Architectural square tiers with little fondant lemons?  Not quite.  Imagine the Evil One's panic when she pulled out of her bag of cake tricks...THE cake.  We had that sucker buried deeper than the Ark of the Covenant in that government warehouse at the end of "Indiana Jones" (don't get the reference? stop reading this...right now...go sit your ass down and watch one of the most entertaining movies ever...what's wrong with you?)

Anyway, after reviving myself, I realized that while we didn't have the Internet barrage that we have today, we weren't living in the stone age when we made that cake.  Sarah didn't have to ride her dinosaur home and paint a picture of that cake on the wall of her cave to remember it, she just had to snap a quick photo with an ancient device known as a camera.  Which she did, and now that photo-paper-trail has led her directly to my lair.  I wanted to hate her for it.  I wanted to zap her with that deneuralyzer thingy from "Men in Black" (don't get the reference, see above note after "Indiana Jones" for your dose of shame).  I wanted to...kiss her.  After meeting her, I discovered that she was an absolute joy to work with.  We customized the idea of the cake from storefronts, to the fronts of the three little boutique hotels that they'd be staying at on their honeymoon...a whirlwind trip to London, Lisbon, and Amsterdam.  With our advanced technology this time around, Sarah provided me with pictures of the three hotels right from her phone, and we were off!

We added Sarah's beloved pup-Jobie (interestingly enough, another Golden Retriever) but this time sculpted him in 3-D out of chocolate paste for our usual donation to the ASPCA.
Best of all, we surrounded the cake with the bride and groom's favorite sweets.  From cake pops and Petit fours adorned with the Portuguese word for "love" to little frosting Big Ben cookies, S'mores tartlets and hand-made peanut butter cups, we made a dessert spread that would make you consider skipping the honeymoon and just camping out in your hotel room with a big box of leftovers.

The day of the wedding, we had the privilege of seeing the couple enter the cocktail hour to see their cake.  It is always a little unnerving to do so, especially when a bride has been anticipating her cake since she was in high school.  Sarah quickly put any doubt to rest, with a resounding hoot and a few choice words that the Evil Cake Genius cannot repeat in proper company.  God, I love it when we make brides use expletives of joy!!

In hindsight, the second version of the "San Francisco cake" took pretty much the same amount of time as the first.  Happily, there are two things that make that kind of work day okay.  First, both couples were absolutely fabulous people, who were so appreciative of the care that went into making their dream cakes.  Second, these little miniature cakes are very much like playing dollhouse with sugar, making the time spent on them a series of delighted squeals, cooing, and laughing like a kid in a candy (cake) shop.  So go ahead, cruel internet...share, pin, and dig away.  We'll be waiting for the next couple to be about another ten years.

Many thanks to Ben Colvin Photography for the beautiful pictures of Sarah and Joe's wedding.

Decorator's Notes:

We still had to hand craft the details from each hotel using our trusty Exacto Blades, but The Evil Cake Genius has gained a little street cred in the technology department since that first awning cake.

We created a custom Mesh Stencil for the Wrought Iron and the hotel signage and got them onto the cake in one swipe of a palette knife...Hallelujah! We've even added our Wrought Iron Mesh Stencil to our Evil cake Genius Site HERE to save some of you other Evil Cake Geniuses a load of time!
We created the little moldings around the windows using an Artway Clay extruder and some of their incredible moulding discs.  They are Available HERE and they are awesome beyond belief.


Unknown said...

Pure Evil, Cake Genius! But seriously, So Amazing! Now how do you make those stencils? 3D printer?

Katie said...

First, let me say that this is a beautiful cake and the attention to detail is exquisite. I was first exposed to the wonder that is your Cake Decorating by watching seasons of 'Amazing Wedding Cakes.' I was heartbroken when I realized they were not airing new seasons but I continue to record the reruns faithfully and always get excited when you are one of the featured shops in the episode. However, despite my fandom, it wasn't until browsing around on Pinterest today that I stumbled on a tutorial for lace stenciling posted to 'The Cake Blog" that led me through a series of clicks to your website, your store, and your blog. I wanted to take this opportunity to express my admiration of your talents and let you know your cakes inspired me to start decorating cakes of my own. I was encouraged by your perfectionism (so like my own) and artistry that cakes could be executed with such precision. At this point I still make cakes just out of my home for friends and family and am teaching myself tricks and practicing so that each cake comes out a little better than the last but I feel a long way from achieving the perfection of your cakes. After all of this gushing I just wanted to say, I'm excited to have found this blog so I can continue to follow your amazing creations and a simple thank you for all of the inspiration.

IBU RISKA said...
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