This cake was for a wedding in December and had a wintry feel to it. It also had hundreds of berries and leaves wired together to create sweeping decorations around two of the four tiers.
As you can probably guess I began this cake by making the many many berries and leaves needed. These all needed to be wired. This was the most time consuming part of the decoration and I watched lots of episodes of Peep Show and then lots of episodes of Black Books.
The berries are a mixture of red, gold and blush pink. Once rolled and threaded onto the wires I left them to harden for a few days.
It is good to have an idea of the number of berries or flowers for example you will need and then make more.
When you have to make a wired display you want to ensure that you have enough to make it look plentiful and full rather than sparse.
After the berries I made all the leaves.
As with all the things that I need to make lots of I got myself set up with everything I would need and set up my production line.
The great thing about making leaves or any simple item like them is that although it takes a long time it does not require a huge amount of concentration to get them right so you can get yourself comfy and then put a film on or rope someone else into helping you and then have a good old chin wag.
When the berries were all hardened I gave the red and pink ones a coating of glaze with glitter added to give them a lovely winter sparkle. I used lustre dust to colour the gold berries.
Once I was sure that I had enough berries and leaves I could begin to wire them together.
When wiring a length of pieces rather than a cluster shape you need to begin with the end of the strip and not the start of the branch.
This is so that by the time you have wired everything together the thicker part of the strip will be at the base where it sits in the cake and not at the tip. The same way as you would see it in nature.
It is also much easier to work away from what you are doing so that the florist tape does not get tangled up. Hope that all makes sense. I am sure that those of you who have made wired floral displays will know what I mean.
When making the two wired lengths of berries I first used a single wire against the side of the tier to measure how long I would need to make each trail of berries. It was then just a case of adding berries, leaves and gypsophila until the display was long enough.
Now neither of these pieces was very long but it took a surprising amount of time to complete them. This is because the display has to be full and plentiful, and because of this it takes time to build up every small section of the display.
When both displays were done I put them to one side while I did the piping details. I made a template using parchment paper and scribed the piping line onto the side of the tiers with piping detail. I made some caramel coloured royal icing for the piping.
I chose this colour because the piping would eventually be gold. It is not possible to make nice looking gold royal icing by colouring it as you would any other colour. Therefore it has to be painted with gold lustre dust. A piped line is a thin surface to paint and I do not paint right up to the surface of the cake to avoid marking the cake with gold paint. If the royal icing was white any little gaps would be very obvious but with caramel piping, the tiny gap I leave near the cake surface does not show.
The piping detail included little bunches of grapes with leaves at the top of each bunch.
I love the way the berries glistened but were not blingy or too sparkly.