Alex in Paris

A friend of Dany’s asked me to make a cake for one of her coworkers who is lucky enough to have landed a job in Paris. Why can’t these things ever happen to me?!

Her going away party would be just two days after Michelle’s Appreciation party – I had a lot to do with little time to do it. I designed a cake that would take advantage of a speedy airbrush job, a simple fondant cut out design, some lettering and a simplified gumpaste Eiffel Tower. Did I say simplified? When do I ever keep anything simple?

To assemble the tower, I rolled out gumpaste and cut out Eiffel Tower looking shapes and curved the placemat I was drying the four pieces on. I realized (the day before I was to deliver the cake) that the curve was a little overdone – and proceeded to cut my pieces and even shave my pieces with a knife in order to get them to butt together. That’s the second time I use butt in this blog. Make that three times.

I piped on a bit of detail (regretting it immediately) and hoped for the best.

Dany did the airbrushing on the single layered cake and I went to work on the lettering – I was so concentrated I didn’t even notice he’d begun spraying the tower – when he was done, it was awesome! I hand-lettered Strasbourg for a good friend that hails from the region (why can’t I ever hail from such a region!).

The cake was a great success and the guests and Alex (apparently) loved it.

I paired the popular chocolate Guinness cake with cheesecake flavoured buttercream and used a blue fondant (darker than I’d hoped – I used far too much blue fondant for the amount of white I needed, a pea-sized amount would have been perfect for the pale pastel blue I wanted).

This was the first cake I ever made so close to the due date. I baked the cake, a 10X10X2 inch (because I couldn’t find my 8 inch cake pan) on Friday afternoon, at nearly 5pm; torted and filled it Saturday morning, waiting 30 minutes for the icing to set, then covered the cake. My usual fondant supplier, Rita, at La Gâterie, did not have any white fondant left! She let me have her special blend (much harder fondant, but much less sticky) – and we bought a bright blue – when I think about it – buying premade pure colours is a much better idea than tinting the stuff myself.

Lessons Learned:

– Never lean on a cake, even slightly, while painting it, especially when the fondant hasn’t had time to dry yet

– Always wear gloves when tinting gumpaste and fondant – no exceptions! Or live with the smurf look

– Amerimist colours need to somehow be diluted before airbrushing – need to figure out how to do this

– I think the cake cruise will be a great place to pick up these skills or at least tips

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