This past Sunday James' parents celebrated their 35th anniversary, and in honor of the occasion we all met at my bother-in-law's house Tuesday night and the six of us went out to eat at The Bonefish Grill. Yummy. After dinner we went back to the house for dessert. I had made this cake, after a number of phone calls to my mom for advise and reading a book on cake decorating. I assembled the cake in Red Stick and then carefully boxed it up for the 3 hour drive to my brother-law's house. Here's what I learned from the project:
1) Do not attempt to make a cake like this in one day. I spread the task out over 3 days. Saturday night I made buttercream cream icing. Sunday, I baked the cakes - 4 layers total. Monday, I put the "primer coat" of buttercream icing on. Tuesday I iced the cakes with fondant, assembled them, and inserted the flowers and ribbon.
2) The cake layers need structural support. I used chopsticks cut in half, and put them in 3 different places that went through all 4 layers.
3) For stability during travel, put a layer of buttercream on your serving platter before you put the cake on it. It will serve as glue to keep the cake from shifting on the platter.
4) If you're using fresh flowers on the cake you need to use flowers that have not been sprayed with pesticides. You can special order them from a florist, but the Whole Foods Market here keeps them in stock. To keep the flowers fresh for several hours, cut a drinking straw into thirds, fold one end up slightly, and tape it. Fill the taped up straw 3/4 full with water, insert into cake, and place flower into straw. The straw is so narrow that the water doesn't spill out. I turned them upside down and the surface tension of the water kept it in the straw.
We gave James' parents a DVD montage, but more on that later.