As Evelyn’s pending nuptials creep closer and closer, the girls start to become a bit skeptical about whether Mommy and Doc will actually tie the knot. In non-wedding news, Traci tries to convince her dad to be an investor in her Baltimore hair salon.
Before Toni leaves the sisters to deal with Mommy and the wedding planning while she travels on business, she takes Evelyn out to lunch to fish for any “issues” Evelyn may have. Mama E seems stressed and anxious, even alluding to the fact that she may need a cocktail! BFVQuote: “If you don’t ask, I won’t tell. This thing is about to drive me to drink!” That does not sound like the calm and collected Evelyn we all know and love. What gives?
Meanwhile, Trina, Traci and Towanda get together to discuss the details for Evelyn’s wedding. Towanda pegs Mommy for more of a traditional woman, but would she consider jumping the broom? Trina definitely has her own opinions on the subject, stating that jumping the broom doesn’t necessarily dictate your marriage is going to work out. BFVQuote: “You think a broom would have made all the difference in the world?”
Traci flies back to Maryland to meet with her “potential investor,” aka Daddy, but it turns out to be more than she bargained for. Michael refuses to commit without a secure location, a business plan, and overall confidence in Traci. It seems like Michael is a bit hesitant to trust his daughter with his money. Why can’t anyone seem to give Traci some credit? She is constantly met with are reservations and disbelief. In Traci WE trust! Except for the name, Beu-leve! (Girl, you can come up with something better than that!)
Back in LA, Miracle seems to be trying Tamar’s patience. While Tamar tries to set some ground rules for the new puppy, Vince is taking the calm, nurturing approach. As Tamar runs around trying to find a safe location for the weewee pads, poor Miracle can’t hold it and ends up going on the tile floor. Tamar decides to put Miracle in check, BFVQuote: “That ain’t hot and you know what? Everyone gonna call you the funky dog”. However, it is clear this dog has a mind of his own. Like mama, like baby!
Traci is still trying her best to get Michael to invest in the salon, but he is not convinced. BFVQuote: “You can bat your eyes all you want. You can boogaloo down Broadway, but I don’t give up money like that.” By the end of the trip, Traci realizes she needs a more solid game plan!
With Traci, Trina, Towanda and Tamar back in the ATL zip code, wedding planning resumes and they find themselves shopping for Evelyn’s wedding dress… again! Evelyn decided to play a joke on the girls, and try on sexy little number she would NEVER wear. While waiting for Mommy to come out, the girls discuss whether they think this wedding will actually happen. BFVQuote: “If you don’t know what you want at your wedding, does that mean you don’t really know if you want to get married?” WE say that’s a good question, Tamar! But what overshadows this process is the apparently horrific smell that seems to be permeating throughout the bridal salon. BFVQuote: “What I smell, is 1970’s Soul Train after 30 people done did the snake on the floor for real!” When the sisters accuse Tamar of possibly being pregnant due to her key sense of smell, she shoots that down with her version of Baby Making 101. You have to plant a few seeds to make a baby; grinding just won’t do it. Thanks, Tamar. Noted!
The light-hearted mood doesn’t last long. The girls try and have a real talk with Mommy to see if she is truly into this wedding, but you can see she is just about over this whole thing. Once Evelyn gets sassy about the bridesmaid color she finally chose (BLUSSSSHHHHH for all who forgot), the girls seem to be more confused. This is supposed to be fun, not a fun snatcher!
After that heated outing with Evelyn, the girls go back to Towanda’s house to discuss what just happened. Still on Tamar’s case, the girls point out that Tamar has a little tummy coming over the top of her jeans. Listen, whether it’s your salt intake, the fact that you just got off the plan, or the fact that you have been indulging, WE still think you look great, Tamar! After deciding they will all come together to perform at Evelyn and Doc’s wedding (and check their attitudes at the door), the girls do their best impression of a powder puff huddle and chant “No egos, no fighting”… Ready? Break! WE’ll believe it when we see it!
Are we the only ones who felt awkward during the dinner with Evelyn and Doc? It seemed super clear that Evelyn is having second thoughts, especially when she lays into doc for not having his groomsmen chosen. Do they even have a venue yet? Or flowers? Groomsmen are the least of their worries. With the conversation switching to elopement, I just wanted to close my eyes. Doc did not look happy with that suggestion. Oh boy, troubled couple at Table 3!
I really wasn’t sure with how this rehearsal was going to work out, especially when you couldn’t see Tamar’s reaction through those dark lenses she was rockin’ (she looked fierce, tho!). I’m still unsure if a church is the right place for “stank.” Especially a stank version of “The Lord’s Prayer,”but maybe Tamar just used the wrong adjective. After Towanda brings everyone (Tamar!) back to reality, the sisters come together to pull off the best rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” I have ever heard. I agree, Trina… you guys are awesome! Another thing the sisters come together on is the fact that they don’t think Mommy is going to go through with tying the knot. Reasons listed below:
1. She has made no decisions on her own about ANYTHING
2. Doc hasn’t even made his list yet
3. No engagement ring… BOOM!
Fast forward to a borage of wedding planners, wedding questions, and wedding samples, OH MY! Even I’m exhausted, and I’m not the one making the decisions.
Towanda and Evelyn go out to lunch alone to try and relax, but again Evelyn wants a drink! What is going on? All of a sudden, BFVQuote: “Poof! No wedding!” Wait? What? Why? What? Evelyn can’t even seem to answers those simple questions.
Your thoughts… why didn’t Evelyn say something sooner? How do you think Doc is going to react? Is it too soon for the sisters to say “I told you so!”?
It happens all the time. I’ll be sitting across from a couple whose beautiful wedding cake I’ve just designed, and I hear a little peep. Just a little something, an uncomfortable throat clearing, or they’ll shift a little uneasily in their chairs. When asked if everything is okay, they uncomfortably begin to apologize for “not using my talents to their fullest”, or “boring me”. Truth is, just because Gateaux is capable of making some mind-numbingly crazy cake designs, doesn’t mean that that is all we’re capable…or excited to create.
That’s why it was refreshing to work with Susan and her mom Donna on Susan’s Beautiful confetti themed Shimmery wedding cake. These two girls understood what many fail to catch. It’s actually these simple cakes, with clean design, and beautiful negative space, that require the most skill to pull off. Truth is, if you put enough stuff on a cake…it can distract from a bad fondant job, or uneven sides, even tippy layers. It’s the simple, elegant designs that have to be executed perfectly. That’s where we shine. That’s where all of the Type A, Obsessive Compulsive, neurotic traits that make me who I am, come together in one twisted symphony, and make me damn good at what I do. I’m not just a cake decorator, I’m a perfectionist for hire. And, that may make me a questionable level of “fun” to work for, but it makes me a great person to have on your side if you’re a bride.
Susan’s wedding was a beautiful, tailored elegant affair at one of my favorite venues in the Twin Cities. It’s an old flour mill, turned museum. The outside, and courtyard are decayed, old mill, the inside, modern, chic, urban. So, for her invitations, we designed a modern invitation format, but built the entire design around a traditional calligraphic motif. We dropped the couple’s monogram into the motif, but in a block font, to mix Modern with traditional, and then printed them in black ink on Ivory paper, but enclosed them in a metallic grey-gunmetal pocket folder. A little accent of shimmery yellow paper, and they once again, had an unexpected twist.
The cake followed suit. A shimmery Ivory, with that unexpected gun metal and metallic yellow fondant confetti accents. The topper finished it off with their traditional calligraphed monogram screenprinted in frosting onto a tailored fondant panel. Something, I couldn’t have replicated cleanly in my early years of decorating. Funny, how the techniques I develop to accomplish the crazy cakes transfer themselves to making the clean, seemingly “simple” cakes look effortless.
Lauren and I have been best friends since 7th grade. We instantly hit it off as friends, shared a lot of the same interests in music and art, were total tomboys, and our birthdays are 2 days apart. It’s hard to believe it has been 19 years since we met in geography class!
We first learned how to decorate cakes when we were 16 at our first job at Dairy Queen in Mentor, Oh. We did the basic decorating – and when I say basic, I mean airbrush stencils, shell borders and the few occasional icing roses. We had always been artistic, so cake decorating came very easily to us, and we caught on to the basics pretty quick.
When we got older, we both decided to go to art college. Lauren attended the Pittsburgh Institute of Art for special effects and movie make-up, and I attended Columbus College of Art and Design for Fine Art. We worked part time at various bakeries to support ourselves during art school, and to be able to buy books and art supplies.
When we graduated from college, we found it difficult to find jobs that we liked, and that paid decent wages. Into our early 20’s, we continued to work at various bakeries as cake decorators. It was something we were becoming better and better at, and it wasn’t a high paying job, but it paid the bills.
I had just gotten married, and realized what a difficult time it was to find a bakery that could do creative cakes in Cleveland. This set off an idea between Lauren and I – what if we started our own business? A custom, artistic cake shop in Cleveland? We could do it. We were super hard workers, had a lot of experience in the field, but had no idea how to start a business.
We started by doing cakes out of our houses for a couple years, just through word of mouth from family and friends, and slowly built up a reputation for creating beautiful, delicious cakes. Our first business cards (that we printed off of my computer at home) had our cell phone numbers as the contact for our bakery. Before long, they were ringing off the hook! This was all while we still worked full time jobs at a bakery. We would get home from our 8-10 hour day and then start our cakes for our own cake business at night. There were many all-nighters, and lots of caffeine. We charged so little for custom cakes back then, and were probably spending more on the supplies than we were making on the cakes! We had one oven, two refrigerators, and three small kitchen aids that we made all of the cakes and frostings out of. We had to deliver every cake we made to our customers, and the busier we got, the more that became a problem. We knew it was time to open a shop, and so I turned to my oldest brother for help.
My brother Joe had owned his own business for years, so he was willing to help us get started by helping us get a loan, and get structured. We kept working out of my house while our kitchen was being built, and in March 2007, we opened our doors. We started with just Lauren and I, and now employ over 12 employees. 4 years into it, it’s still really hard sometimes. There are still many late nights, and grueling weeks during wedding season, but to actually set a goal, and follow through has been one of the most gratifying experiences of our lives. To know that at age 27, we successfully started a small business, and during one of the worst economic times in our country, have sustained a small business, is pretty awesome.
Robin’s busy designing Amazing Wedding Cakes, so she told me (Brian) to tell you all a little bit about the “Clock Cake.” If you want to know specifics on how the cake was made, watch the show. You don’t want cake tips from me. Trust me.
“Why a cake that looks like a clock” you say? This couple was married on short order without their family and friends right before the groom was shipped overseas. The good news was he was getting to travel. The bad news was that he was going courtesy of the US Army. So planning a reception for family and friends would have to wait and wait and wait.
Back up a little bit. All of the couples that appear on the show have to send in little video clips so everybody at Gateaux, the production company and the network can sorta get a feel for who they are. I got to watch this one with Robin at home when she got video emailed to her. This dude’s video was shot (for real) on a helicopter somewhere in Afghanistan. Full on fatigues, jet noise in the background, really cool shades, looked like he just stepped off the set of “Top Gun” or something. If you don’t know “Top Gun”: “Looked like he just stepped off the set of….. just rent “Top Gun” you should see it.
So if “cool” is measured in cakes, this guy was like an 8 tier cake. Robin decided to pitch to WE to do a surprise cake for them in addition to the regular wedding cake. The network agreed with Robin that it would be a great way to say “thanks for your service” and approved the cake. So Robin and the sister of the groom started to plan a cake that would represent all of the time and important events between when they got officially married and when they could celebrate with their friends and family…get it? Oh and by the way…it was on New Year’s Eve too, so the clock could be used for everybody at the reception to countdown to midnight.
So Robin of course decides that the clock has to actually run.
Robin bought the clock element and leaving nothing to chance as usual, she put the clock in a fridge to make sure that it could survive the night in the fridge before the wedding without the battery running out. Once the clock is decorated into the cake there’s no changing the battery. The “test” battery lasted for days in the fridge, so that wasn’t going to be an issue.
Flash forward to decorating day. When they went to place the clock element in the top tier there was a wood separating plate frosted into the finished cake that was blocking the element from sitting deep enough into the cake. Robin’s first thought: Saw the wood separator plate and risk ruining the top tier. Second idea: Cut the plastic casing that hold the clock element together. USUALLY she would give me a call and I would say “you’re a moron, step back and see how you can fix it without power tools” we’d then argue for awhile and she’d figure it out and tell me I’m a genius (o.k., probably not the genius part). Anyway, in this case I’m at the bakery and thinking YOU ARE NOT going to start attacking this problem with power tools….But the producers are telling me I can’t enter into the episode because on T.V. I’m not supposed to be there. Fair enough, but usually she’d call me right? Well, that’s a whole other scene to set up with her calling me, etc. etc. So the producer tells me to stay out of it. I tell the producer fine, but I’m gonna have to roll you in the parking lot if she ruins this cake. Not really. The producer says it’s good T.V. I acquiesce and proceed to watch Robin go at the clock element like she’s doing a chainsaw carving on a tree trunk. Clock element: ruined. Wedding: tomorrow. Producer: Happy. Me: WTF. Watch the episode to see how she ended up fixing the problem….
What a great couple and props to the Groom. So when you’re sitting on the couch watching this episode, think of all the men and women all over the world protecting your right to watch people make cakes that look like something other than cake on WE!
P.S. No, I didn’t roll the producer in the parking lot, she’s too nice. I just keyed her car.
Nothing makes me happier than making a cake in the middle of a Minnesota winter that is NOT snow related. Don’t get me wrong, the snow is lovely, and winter weddings are cozy wonderful events. But…come mid-February…if I have to look at another frosting snowflake, while I’ve spent the last three months shoveling pounds of their real counterparts off of my sidewalk, and scraping their icy cousins off of my windshield every morning, I just about want to pack up everything and move south.
Enter Samantha and Anthony. A quick aside, here…Say their names together enough, and you can’t help but calling them Samanthony. That officially became their code name around the shop, after every time I had to reference the couple on camera, that’s how it came out. Watch the episode closely, I hesitate every time I say their names together. Anyway, back to the story. So, I get this call for a New Year’s Eve wedding reception, and I start hard-selling champagne theme, clock theme, confetti theme, anything but snowflakes. Then, they let me know that they were married on a beach in 2009 and they wanted the cake to help bring the beach to their families at their Minnesota reception. Amen, brothers and sisters! We have a beach-themed wedding cake in the middle of a land-locked state, in the middle of the winter!
God, I love my job! Once I found out about Samanthony’s unusual marital situation, the fact that they had to have their wedding in a quick ceremony before he was deployed to Afghanistan, and that none of their family could make it to the actual wedding due to the quick timing, I was thrilled to be able to create a cake that would bring the beach to Minnesota. But how does one pack up a frosting beach for transport? Seems to me that a frosting crate would be the perfect solution. They agreed, and we quickly determined that the bottom tier would be a crate post marked with their wedding date and location, as well as some post marks of other places significant to them. My favorite was the “return to sender” stamp from Afghanistan, the bride loved it!
Now onto the baby! As it turns out, Samanthony were expecting their first baby…and knew what the gender of the child was. Samantha thought it would be fun to put a little sign on the cake that said “It’s a ___” (I’m not going to blow the surprise…this time) so that the guests would find out what the baby was when they looked at the cake. I had heard of baby shower cakes being dyed either pink or blue so that when the cake was cut, it revealed the baby’s gender. I suggested it immediately, and they loved the idea.
I began testing various shades of pink and blue cakes. Too pale, and none of the guests would be able to tell the color when the cake was cut from across the room, too dark, and no one would want to eat it. We settled on a pretty vibrant, unmistakable color. But what they don’t show you on the show, is that in an email with Anthony’s sister (who was helping to plan the reception) I blew the surprise. I was careful to reference “pink or blue” cake when discussing the several flavors that we were doing for the cake in three different areas of the email. In the fourth reference…I blew it. I typed the actual color, rather than the “pink or blue” bluff. Lucky for me, the couple was incredibly gracious about it, and more importantly, Anthony’s sister can keep secrets better than the cake lady!
Hello! My name is Jenna and I’m a cake decorator at Gateaux, Inc. I got started making cakes about four years ago and I’ve learned almost everything I know from Robin. I did go to culinary school, but I got the job at Gateaux before I graduated. My friend’s mom works with the invitation side of Gateaux and suggested I call Robin. It was perfect timing because one of her employees was leaving. I got the job three and a half years ago and I absolutely love it! It is a ton of work and we have some long hours, but it is so rewarding to see our clients faces when we deliver the cakes!
Today we worked on dress cakes for a bridal shower. I was really excited and nervous about these cakes because they are GIANT and we have never done anything like them before. There are four cakes: two of them are full dresses on dress maker’s dummies and then one of them is coming out of a shopping bag and the last one is coming out of a dress box. The theme of the party is “Always a bridesmaid now she’s the bride!” So we took the bride’s old bridesmaid’s dresses and turned them into cake!
Robin, Julia, and I all worked on these cakes and Julia and I are the ones that delivered them to Redwood Falls, MN. Since there are so many different cakes we did each on a different flavor. My favorite is the banana chocolate chip cake! My favorite part about making this cake was trying to figure out how to make a mold for the bodices. We bought an old My Size Barbie and cut it apart! It took some power tools, but we managed to get her torso separated from the rest of her body. Then we used the torso to make a mold so we could mold chocolate paste into the shape of a bodice. During filming we had a lot of fun with the leftover Barbie body parts. Crew members would tap you on the shoulder with the Barbie hand sticking out of their sleeve. One camera guy even pretended her leg was his! I was a little nervous about being on camera and I was worried about the crew, but they all turned out to be great. Everyone got along and it seemed like everyone had a great time!
Things are bound to go wrong when you have four different cakes as big as these are for one event. It took us two days to decorate them and they were looooong days! We had a few issues while covering the two dress dummies in fondant because it was such an odd shape and we were trying to make the fondant do what the fabric on the dresses did. It took a little bit of planning and moving fast on the blue cake, but we got it done! The weather called for snow, but thankfully most of it came on Friday night and the roads were clear on Saturday. We had a two and a half hour drive to the party and it was pretty uneventful. I sat in the back so I could keep an eye on the cakes. Overall I’m thrilled with the way the dress cakes turned out and it was great to see how excited the bride was!
I moved to Minneapolis in 1989 to go to the U of MN. My family is from the east coast, and moved to Wisconsin when I was three year’s old. My mom loves to tell the story that leading up to our move, everyone kept telling me that I was moving to a place that got a lot of snow, so when we got off the plane in mid July to move into our new house, my first words were “Where’s all the snow?”
Well, thirty-seven years later, I finally have the answer. It’s in Minneapolis.
And we love it…the Goo once timed a half our news cast during a run of the mill snowstorm, and they spent eighteen minutes covering the weather. Subtract commercials, and that left about six minutes for news and sports. And when a potential storm is on its way…the hype rivals that of the Superbowl lead up.
That’s why I typically don’t concern myself with weather forecasts. They hype it up to the level of “we’re all gonna die” and sometimes, the storm misses us completely.
That was certainly not the case on the day of Stephanie and Peter’s wedding.
Like I said, I’ve lived in Minneapolis for over twenty years. I’m used to driving in the snow. I had planned to make the St. Paul wedding cake deliveries myself, with Julia following me in her car. But, on my way to the shop, I called the Goo, and asked him to come drive for me. I’ve never done this before, in fifteen years of business…never. And I’ve delivered through some pretty nasty storms. Being the prince that he is, he met me at the shop, and it was definitely the right decision.
For those of you who haven’t driven in a blizzard, here’s the trick. No matter how high you have your windshield defrost set, the windshield wipers ice up. And they don’t do such a great job when they’re basically two sno-pops dragging across the windshield. The only way to fix this is to roll down your window, grab the wiper, pull it away from the windshield, and let it snap back against the glass to break the ice off. Well, if you’re 5’3” and have arms to match, this is impossible to do while driving. But with the Goo at the wheel, we were golden. The camera crew, in the car behind us…not so much. While they did have the wing span to do it, their technique wasn’t quite up to par (LA doesn’t get too much snow) and about 2 miles away from the reception, they ripped off the driver’s side wiper.
The call came over the Walkie-Talkie that they needed to pull over. But we had a wedding cake to deliver, and it really isn’t the best idea to pull over on the highway during a blizzard. So we talked them into continuing for the last two miles with… wait for it…the driver hanging his head out the window. Ahh, dedication!
Well, the rest is on the show…Stephanie and Pete got their wedding cake, and were the most gracious of couples. The wedding was a success despite all of the obstacles that the weather put in their way.
Julia’s car spent the night at the reception site, it was hopelessly stuck after the time spent setting up the cake. We drove to the nearest auto parts store, where the crew got a new wiper, and headed back home via the backstreets (they had pulled the plows off the major highways). The snow was over waist deep at my house, but Great Wall Chinese Restaurant in my neighborhood, as usual, was open. Apparently, they don’t listen to weather forecasts either.
On this episode, we got a chance to give a fun, modern twist to the traditional tiered wedding cake.
When we originally heard that Reid and Rebecca wanted koalas on their cake we weren’t exactly enthused. We really didn’t want to make a kitschy cake with a boy koala and a girl koala on the top of a wedding cake, and we didn’t know where the koala idea was coming from. To be honest, Chris would do anything to avoid having to make a tuxedoed and veiled set of animals. Once we learned the story behind the koalas, we understood the importance of the symbolism to the couple and wanted to find a way to make it work for them.
Chris came up with the idea of making a little sugar forest for the koalas, and since koalas eat eucalyptus, we set out to make a lot of eucalyptus leaves. The task fell to Kristen, our resident plant scientist, who gladly accepted the challenge. We knew we needed a lot of leaves, but you never know how many you really have until you start wiring them together. Everyone, even the producer, kept asking if she had enough leaves, but it all worked out and in the end we even had some extra branches.
In order to have room for the mini forest, Chris designed the cake to be kidney shaped. This made it harder to ice and harder to cover because we had to make up the shapes and carve the cakes. This wouldn’t be so difficult, except that all the tiers had to be the right size relative to the others in order to be stacked, without getting too narrow or too bulky. Marjie was cursing Chris for making the tiers so oddly shaped, but we had to agree that it left the perfect space for the eucalyptus.
We had a little competition going between Chris and Kristen over who could sculpt the cutest koala. The producer interviewed everyone to try to get a vote, but ended up annoyed with us because no one would choose one koala over the other! We all have a competitive side, but we also have great respect for each other.
It sounds so cliché to say that we are a family, but we are very close in reality and we stick together. We always remind our viewers that what they see on the show is only a snapshot of what is really going on behind the scenes. Hours and hours of our work are filmed, but only about 14 minutes of that makes it on the show. We’ll just say that even if a temper is tested just once in 40 hours of film, it’s sure to make the cut!
Amanda and Chris are such an awesome couple! I first met them through Gina of Shi Shi events when she brought them in for a cake tasting for 2 cakes – their wedding cake, and a cake for an engagement party. I could tell they were so in love, and I found it awesome that Chris was so into the cake design with Amanda! The engagement cake was to be for 50-60 of their family and friends. While they were tasting the cake, they were talking about one of the cake fillings reminding them of gelato they tasted in Italy. I found out that Chris proposed to Amanda in Italy, and thought that was so romantic! That instantly made me think that the engagement party cake should be all about their time in Italy, what they experienced there, and represent the actual engagement aspect of the trip, since Chris put so much time and effort in planning it for Amanda. They traveled around Italy, sight-seeing and visiting the colosseum and leaning tower of Piza, eating all the food – fresh baked breads, cheeses, olives and grapes. They visited wineries and had some of the best wine they have ever had. Towards the end of the trip, Chris proposed on a roof top overlooking a lemon tree orchard, and Amanda remembered the scent of lemons in the air when she said “I Do!”
All of these elements made me think of a really amazing sculpted cake featuring the lemons, the wine, the ring box, the gelato….and yes, a structural detail of the Leaning Tower of Piza. I wanted to challenge ourselves with this cake. Being artists, I knew we could figure this out somehow, and that structure would be the biggest challenge. When I suggested all of this to them, they seemed really excited, but also seemed skeptical that we could create a large scale Tower of Piza out of cake. I reassured them we could handle it, and set off to chat with Matt and Lauren on how we were going to get this done.
Matt and Lauren looked at me like I was crazy when I presented the sketch to them (Matt especially). This was already a crazy week for Lauren and myself for wedding cakes, so adding this engagement cake meant that Matt was going to have to be in charge of this project. Oh boy.
Matt has only decorated cakes for a few years, but is a trained artist, and has a Masters in sculpture. He is usually the one who helps us when we have these crazy sculpted cakes, but this would be the first time he was put in charge without much help from myself and Lauren. He accepted the challenge, and began to work on building the structure for the tower, and various items on the cake.
He decided to use rice cereal treats to make the tower instead of cake. Rice cereal treats are lightweight and easily carved to create dimensional shapes, so he just had to come up with some type of central pole to attach to the cake base. When he made the first attempt to position the pole on the board for the tower, I pointed out that it was leaning the wrong way. This was a pretty important element on the cake, so he needed to fix it. I was getting frustrated since I knew this set us behind on a cake that was already a time-consumer. He went back down to the basement, and fixed the pole, but now it felt unstable, as the hardware had stripped the wood where he initially had placed the pole. Lauren and I started to feel some anxiety, but he reassured us it would be fine, and we had to believe him. We were too busy with our cakes, so we had no choice but to let him do his thing.
As time went by, I kept noticing how little was being put together for this cake. The base fondant of the wine box, bottle and board had been completed, but no detail yet. By Friday afternoon, when the cake should have been 75% completed, it was only at about 30% complete. He asked if any of our employees could help him put some of the details together, and I suggested Renee. She is one of our cake artists, and we put her in charge of helping with details such as sculpting grapes, painting the lemons and working on the wine box. Lauren and I had to leave for a delivery, and wouldn’t be back until after 7pm. We knew that we would have to kick into gear and help him when we got back from our delivery, even though we would be exhausted from the long drive and tough week.
We got back from the delivery after 7pm, and literally hid in the coffee shop for about a half hour, so that none of the camera or production crew could find us. We needed a break! We drank some hot cocoa, and got our energy back. It was time to help Matt. It was time to BUST THIS CAKE OUT!!!!
Matt was airbrushing the wine bottle and individual details of the cake, and they were starting to look awesome. We decided to attack the tower, and started putting fondant on all of the layers that would be stacked up on the pole. We assembled the tower, and then started putting all the detail on each segment. Lauren piped away while I switched gears and started working on the wine box.
It was past 10pm, and we still had a lot to do. We were getting loopy and cranky. Somehow, right around 11:00 we got our second wind, and started to assemble all of the individual elements on the cake board. The cake came to life!! It looked awesome. From the lemons, to the wine bottle, to the actual tower that was still standing, this was one of the coolest cakes we ever made.
The next day, we got the cake loaded in the Jeep for the delivery, and I accidentally hit one of the fragile grape leaves and it shattered. Not a good way to start out on this delivery. Luckily, we had extra, so when we arrived, we would have to hurry up and fix what I broke.
We got to the restaurant, and had to carry the cake through a full restaurant of people with narrow spaces between the chairs and tables. It was super heavy, and I felt as though my arms were going to give the entire time! We got it set up, fixed the leaf and it was glorious. I couldn’t wait for Chris and Amanda to see it.
They arrived to a room full of their family and friends, and walked up to the cake. They looked so happy! It was cool to see their reaction because usually we drop the cake off and leave, but they wanted us to stay. I was so glad this cake was done, and that it turned out amazing for a fabulous couple!
This season, we’re tackling a lot of really fun and non-traditional wedding cakes. It’s a really good representation of our range of work, from the more traditional tiered cakes to some really crazy shapes and ideas. It’s been a lot of fun, but also a lot of work!
For anyone who’s ever stopped by our bakery during a filming week, they have an idea of exactly how crazy it gets here. Behind the scenes, we aren’t just filming one cake, but three episodes over the span of five or six days. As if that weren’t enough, we also have to squeeze in time to make all of our non-filming cakes amidst all the extra crew, lights, and filming equipment. Meanwhile, off camera, the phone is ringing off the hook, customers are ordering lattes and scones, and we have our regular appointments and consultations! As you can imagine, all this makes for very long days and whirlwind weeks.
The cake on this first episode, the NASA cake, was monstrously large. The bottom tier was a huge octagonal cake, which by itself probably weighed about forty pounds. Because this particular tier was an octagon, it had a lot of straight lines and it was kind of a pain to panel each of the sides of the cake with fondant! When working with non-conventionally shaped tiers, it always adds extra time to fill, ice, and cover the cakes. We were also working with black fondant, which is always a challenge because once you add that much paste color to the fondant, it becomes very soft and hard to work with.
Our favorite part of the cake was the top, where Marjie’s silhouette couple was dancing under the crescent moon. She started with a flat sugar plaque and added fondant on it to make the image in relief. It was perfect for this cake and added to the “fly me to the moon” feeling. Chris especially loved the effect of the pastillage clouds and the 3-D moon. It made the cake feel very celestial and gave it a touch of the ethereal.
One of the challenges in designing this cake was doing something of the space and NASA theme without getting too literal. Marlon and Christie didn’t want the cake to be whimsical, but wanted to incorporate a dancing couple and some sort of “fly me to the moon” theme. We had to find a balance so that the cake would still be fitting for a wedding, while also incorporating the themes in a cohesive way.
One of the standout moments in this episode had nothing to do with the making of the cake, but instead with the delivery. The venue was on the second story, with no elevator, and the stairs were a straight shot of uneven wooden steps. When carrying cakes, it’s always easier when the two people are of the same height. For us, let’s just say that one of the chefs was about a foot shorter than the other. It was not the smoothest delivery and probably even ranks with the most stressful deliveries, but it turned out great in the end.
And Marlon and Christie loved the cake!