Friday, June 22, 2012

The Sunflower Wedding Cake

Our bride and groom wanted to have a somewhat traditional small top tier wedding cake to freeze for their first anniversary.  I struggled with the decoration - it couldn't be all fluffy and roses and pearls … all traditional wedding cake-y.  It just wouldn't have fit with the feel of the cupcakes.
I knew I needed to have sunflowers as the floral part of the cake, but at the time I was starting to plan the cake decoration I still wasn't happy with the sunflower decorations on the cupcakes.  It's great to live close enough to go to Country Kitchen (or maybe it's not!) because just browsing all the wonderful cake and candy supplies helps me come up with ideas. 

One of the reasons I wasn't happy with the cupcake sunflowers was that the centers just didn't look right.  I didn't want to use Oreos  because they were really too big and they just aren't, well … pretty.  Wandering down one aisle at CK, I found different sizes of sunflower/daisy fondant cutters and daisy center stamps.  I thought I had the answer to my problem and also I thought  the multiple sizes of the  sunflower cutters  would be helpful in decorating the cake.  Since I already had the black fondant for the lizards, all I needed was plain fondant that I could color for the sunflowers.

Work in Progress
Once I got home with my new acquisitions, I started hunting around the internet for instructions for making gumpaste sunflowers.  You Tube has several really good videos.  After a bit of trial and error I learned that using the proper equipment really does make a difference.  I tried rolling the fondant with my trusty marble rolling pin and I just couldn't get it thin enough.  When I finally broke down and got a fondant rolling pin and mat, it was a breeze.  I also had to get the veining tools.  It makes a huge difference!

Large Fondant Sunflower
Small Gumpaste Sunflower
It turned out that the daisy center stamps weren't large enough for the biggest size of the sunflower.  I ended up using a round cutter on black fondant to get the right size.  Then the light bulb came on.  I had some teeny round black sprinkles so I made a sugar glue and painted one side of the round then pressed it into a bowl of the sprinkles.  Ta da!  I was finally happy with my sunflower center!  On the cupcakes, I didn't want to use fondant so I just piped some black frosting the right size of the center then dipped the black into the sprinkles then added the yellow petals. 

I made a bunch of each size sunflower.  I used two large sunflowers "glued" together to make the large flowers for the top of the cake and put one of each size of the smaller sunflowers together for the smaller flowers.  The daisy center stamps worked fine for these.

And then … I realized the sunflowers needed leaves.  By that time, I had no more time to run to Ft. Wayne to get  any kind of leaf cutter or embosser and poking around in my box of cookie cutters didn't produce a leaf cutter.  So I just cut them out and used the veining tools.  Somehow, they came out looking ok.  Not great, but ok.

The cake was the last thing I decorated and I finished it at 4:00 the morning of the wedding.  I was having so much fun that I really never got tired.  My hands were getting sore and you can see the piped decorations on the cake - the bows and swags aren't very good.  Fortunately, the cake was so high on the stand that no one could really inspect it!  LOL

We loaded all the cupcakes into the cardboard boxes with the inserts that night as I completed them.  I left the cake until "morning" (2 1/2 hours later!) to make sure the icing had hardened a bit. 

Cleaned Hatbox
Moving the cake was horrifying but I got it on the bottom of my trusty Tupperware cake taker but when I tried to put the top on I discovered the big sunflowers on top caused the cake to be too tall.  Ho-ly c r a p.  My husband thought of a hatbox.  I'm a mild mannered owner of an online vintage clothing shop, so hatboxes I have but I needed a big one.  I thought of one particular box because it is plastic and came apart AND it was already damaged so I only use it for storage.  After washing it up thoroughly, it served its new purpose perfectly.

Cake in Hatbox
As I was cleaning up my mess a few hours earlier, I put together a little "kit" with white and pink frostings, pastry bag, the decorating tips I had used, and a few extra little sunflowers and leaves.  This was fortunate because I had to re-do the shells on the base of the cake because they all broke off while moving it.  One pink bow got a bit squished so I re-did that, too.

Honestly, I still can't believe how smoothly it all went.  Guess that 6 months of practicing and planning really paid off!


  1. IT LOOKS SO GOOD! wow, and you had to be so creative. seriously, thumbs up. it looks GREAT.