It's Wedding Time

Well, if I could only effectively articulate the horrendous process of designing and creating my sister's wedding cake!  I created an initial design that I thought was elegant, classy, and 100% Penelope.  I bought a large tub of fondant which I planned to use for the creation of flower blossoms, design elements for embellishment, and the out layer of the five tiers.  I invested in many tools to create the perfect effect and a more realistic look for the flowers.  After creating 150 flower blossoms out of ivory fondant, I realized I wanted a complementary larger sized blossom to enhance the floral dynamic.  I sparked an amiable relationship with a cake supply store saleswoman who ended up giving me some gold dragees for free!  I used these for the center of each of the 200 flower blossoms.

For the design elements, I originally wanted to follow a color scheme including: eggplant, mauve, gold, and a lavender.  I wanted it to be somewhat reminiscent of an oriental intricate paisley.  After weeks of practice or experience, rather, I decided to abandon the color idea.  Not because it couldn't be done, but because the contrast between the light colored cake and the darker colored design elements was too great and I didn't want to have a tacky looking cake.  Definitely not.  So, it was decided that a more monochromatic cake using design elements brushed with gold pearl luster mixed with almond extract would create the most elegant cake.  After Penelope's bridals were posted online, it was brought to my attention that the lace on her dress was a floral pattern consisting of various flowers.  I really wanted the dress to reflect her dress so I changed the designs from the paisley to floral pieces.  I rolled out the fondant to 1/16 of an inch and hand cut each of the flower pieces (yes, a very tedious task).  I painted the pieces after they dried and then the next day, continued by using royal icing to pipe very detailed designs with a size "0" tip to imitate a floral lace feel.

The assembly of the cake was a nightmare.  No joke.  I packed all of the flowers and floral design elements and sent them to Utah with Yolanda.  I also sent the rolled fondant and tools I needed to save me the task of checking them in on my later flight the next week.  I didn't think about the cake for the duration of my finals week at Le Cordon Bleu.  I took an evening flight to Utah Wednesday after class.  When I arrived in Farmington, I found all of my supplies and designs at my sister Selena's home.  Everything except the fondant which I couldn't find anywhere!  Turns out it was left in my sister Yolanda's car for a week.  The car was in Park City, where my entire family was spending some time in a cabin approximately an hour and a half away.  I decided to crash that night and woke up at 7:00 AM to start making the edible portion of the cake.  I created a spiced chocolate cake with a little bit of heat (pepper).  It was delicious.  I iced the crumb coat with my personal cream cheese icing.  Delicious!  

My fondant didn't arrive until 2:00 PM in the afternoon, but once it did, I needed to spend some time preparing a musical number that Penelope wanted to sing at the formal wedding dinner that evening.  All of a sudden it was time for the wedding dinner and nothing was yet done with the wedding cake.  After the incredible dinner, I made my way to the Yarbrough residence--where the reception was to held the next evening--and started to roll out the fondant, 9:30 PM.  It didn't take me a long time to realize that there was something wrong with the fondant.  It was very crumbly and not gummy and soft--a consistency necessary to roll out and cover incredibly large squares of cake.  Admittedly, I do not know much about fondant.  I know how it should work, but this issue was beyond me.  Whether it was the fact that the fondant was left in the hot trunk for a week or the altitude or dryness of Utah, I don't know.  What I did know, however, was that I needed a solution fast.  Sam, yes the husband to be the next morning, couldn't sleep so he and his sister, Hayley, helped me google ways to fix fondant.  We tried everything!  Kneading and glycerine, you name it.  There was no going back to that fondant.  This saddened me simply because I wanted a smooth finish to mount my flowers on so I could add more intricate piping to the sides.  By 12 in the morning (day of the wedding), I decided to change to an American buttercream icing.  The three of us drove to Smith's and bought everything we needed to cover the many, to this point, bare layers.  I taught Sam and Hayley how to make the icing and they continued to supply me with pounds of icing as I quickly covered the cake.  I could not make smooth sides because I was not allowed to bring my cake spatulas on the airplane (just another issue I failed to mention).  I only had a butter spreader to work with, so I was compelled to create an impasto texture with the buttercream.  After the cake was covered, I placed the floral designs in their places and used a deep purple ribbon for the base to finish it off.  At 1:30 AM, the cake was done and I was spent!

After the wedding ceremony, I cut a square of cake into two shot glass sized pieces which I decorated similarly to the five tier cake.  I set each piece on its own miniature cake stand, which I decorated with dark purple dahlias and pale purple hydrangeas (many thanks to Kristen Irvine-Adams).

In the end, it looked great!  I was surprised just how much the cake matched the design of Penelope's wedding dress.  It was rather striking!  I caught so many people taking their pictures with the cake as they passed it and even a few people finger swiping the icing for a taste--gross!  Most importantly, Penelope and Sam loved it!  The pictures below were taken after the reception.  The shot glass pieces are not photographed here, but as soon as I get the professional pictures, I'll post them!  Needless to say, I'm glad it's over!  Can't wait for my next sister's wedding!  :)


  1. I think it turned out GREAT with the icing. Zack and my mouths are watering!! Good work! PS- This is your little "Swiss Miss" Amy :)

  2. John that is incredible!!!! I'm in a cake decorating class! this is inspirinG!!! WOW that is awesome that you are learning at Cordon Bleu! AMAZING! you seem so happy! I'm happy for you!

  3. What NEXT sistol's wedding? HUH? WHAT? Lol. No but seriously this cake was so gorgeous. You are so talented Jon. xoxo.

  4. Wretched process, beautiful cake. That should be the title of your next movie.

  5. You are freaking amazing. When I get married (Hopefully this happens sometime) you are making my cake. done and done.

  6. So I'm reading this right, after all that time and effort and energy making such a beautiful cake, nobody ate it?