Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Celebrating 90 Years

Hello Everyone! I hope that you are all enjoying your summer! We just got back from a wonderful vacation up in Michigan. Though it was a little colder than we would have liked, we had a fantastic time.

Before vacation, at the beginning of July, I had the opportunity to make a cake for the grandmother of one of my very dear friends. Vi was turning 90 and they were throwing her a huge party. I was honored to be asked to make the cake!

For inspiration, I was sent a copy of the invitation and I took my colors from that. The design of the invitation matched a stencil I had, so I wanted to use that too. I kept the whole design pretty simple, with a gumpaste gardenia (Vi's favorite flower) on the top.

I'll start here by showing you the picture of my sketch and inspiration pieces. Maybe you'd like to see how I start? If not, just skip this part! :) My drawing isn't the best, so you'll have to excuse that, but drawing out my cake gives me an idea of how all of the elements will look before I begin my cake. Sometimes I get an idea on paper and realize it wasn't a great idea to begin with. Seeing that right from the start saves me a lot of time and trouble in the end! I also use my sketches to show others my ideas to see if I am on their page about what the cake will look like.

Here is my sketch, the stencil and a picture of a gumpaste gardenia I found online. (Jacqueline Butler from PetalSweet made this one. If you like sugar flowers, go check out her site. You will be amazed!)

This was by far the biggest cake I have made for another person. It was meant to serve 75 people, though some of those servings came from a separate sheet cake so that I could keep the main cake more simple and save costs by not using fondant for the sheet cake.

Here is the main cake finished.

The stencil is my favorite part, I think. I love that it is subtle and adds an element of sophistication and simple prettiness to the cake.

The message on the cake was what was written on the invitation. The whole thing reads "Celebrating 90 Years. And her story continues..." I really love this for a milestone birthday because it shows that it is not only the life lived that is celebrated, but also the life yet to be lived. I was going to use fondant to make the message, but in the end it didn't seem right for this cake. The spacing would have been off and the block letters just didn't seem to "go" with the rest of the design. So, I chose to hand-paint it with food coloring. I really love how it looks on the cake! I was so nervous painting black onto white because every little mistake would show and I'm not really used to painting, especially letters. It was so much fun to "write" with that long, thin brush. Makes me want to learn calligraphy! You know, because I need another thing on my to-do list! :) It would be fun though...

For the topper, I made the birthday girl's name out of modeling chocolate and placed it on top of the cake next to a gumpaste gardenia.

Competing for my favorite thing on this cake is the gardenia. These little guys gave me a bit of trouble, but in the end, I think they are beautiful!

The sheet cake (actually a quarter sheet cake) was iced in smoothed buttercream and decorated with a fondant plaque. I admit that the look of this one isn't my favorite, but I do like the different elements. And I heard that the cake as a whole was loved by all! That absolutely makes my day and makes all of the effort totally worth it!

For those of you who would like to imagine eating this beauty, let me share the flavors with you. The top two tiers were vanilla bean cake with raspberry vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered with white chocolate ganache. The bottom tier was chocolate cake with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream filling covered with dark chocolate ganache. The quarter sheet cake was chocolate cake covered with vanilla buttercream. Of course I had to taste the scraps. You know, just to make sure I'm giving away a quality delicious cake. I may have had a bowlful. I won't tell you how big the bowl was! But I will tell you it was delicious!

Thank you Ginny and Julie for letting me be a part of this celebration! And to Vi, may you have many more happy birthdays to come!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Very nice! That stencil adds so much to the elegance. Lovely gardenias too. It all sounds yummy!