This cake was great fun to make! It was for a wedding celebration with an Alice in Wonderland/mad hatter theme.
My clients wanted a topsy turvy cake and it fitted well with the whimsical style of the decoration.
I thought I would make the most of the long weekend and get some very overdue blog posts done.
I feel a little guilty as I write this actually. We now have an allotment very near the house. It was my mum’s idea, and knowing my/husband’s lack of interest in anything horticultural she was perepared to do the bulk of the work.
Having said that she has been out there most of the day and seeing her putting all the bits and pieces away in the shed makes me think that I should at least pull up a weed. So ma if you you read this I will try to do something out there!
On with the cake. There were lots of bits which I made in advance for this one.
The paint brush, flowers, paper tags, clock and playing card topper were all made a week ahead so they had plenty of time to harden.
I also made a spare of each just in case of those unlikely but possible breakages.
I made the paint brush with a wire insert to give it the suppost it required.
The other parts were made using white sugarpaste with my old friend gum tragacanth added.
When making anything that needs to harden it helps to place it on an absorbent surface such as a sponge or kitchen towel which will absorb some of the moisture. It is also important to turn the shape over after around 7 hrs to ensure that both sides are exposed to the air.
The roses were made using strips of sugarpaste. I used the tip of my finger to smooth one length of the strip – the edge that forms the top of the flower. I then brushed a small amount of edible glue along the opposite length of the strip. The strip is then rolled up and pinched as it is rolled to create a rose.
I used edible pens for the writing on the paper tags and clock.
To shape the wonky tiers I started with a round 14″ tier. I placed a 12″ round cake card centrally on top of the cake and used a big scary knife to cut down and out from the 12″ card to the bottom of the 14″ cake to create the slope. It would be extremely difficult if not impossible to do this the other way around.
Once this shape is cut the cake can be turned the right way up so that the slope can be cut into the top and the cake covered with marzipan.
I reapeated this process with the other tiers.
I make the marzipan layer slightly thinner than on a standard tier. This is because a topsy turvy cake tier is top heavy which creates greater pressure on the lower part of the cake.
The sides of the tiers also slope inwards so any covering is subjected to the force of gravity more than a standard tier. A lighter covering of marzipan and sugarpaste reduces this pressure and pull a little.
When you start making a few lovely cakes for friends etc you don’t think you will need to get so technical! Once the marzipan has had a chance to harden and dry out (24 hrs is preferable for this) I could cover the tiers with sugarpaste.
The bottom tier had a covering of pink sugarpaste around the side which would show at the bottom of the table cloth.
The next thing to do was to put the table cloth on the cake. I have to admit that I was not looking forward to this because it had to be done quickly and in one take as it were. I had to cut out an 18″ circle of sugarpaste with another smaller circle cut out of the centre. The reason for this is so that I could place the circle of sugarpaste on top of the tier and then ease it over the sides of the cake to where I wanted it to fall. I could then fill the cut out hole on top of the cake with plain white sugarpaste.
Before placing the cloth on the cake I scribed squares onto it so that I could then paint them once in place. I did not paint any glue onto the surface of the marzipan before attaching the cloth because I knew I would need to move it around and tweak it slightly.
This is where the cut out circle came in handy. Once I was happy with the placing I could gently lift the sugarpaste where the circle had been cut out and brush some edible glue between that and the marzipan on the cake.
The great thing about a table cloth is that it naturally falls with folds which, on a regular tier you have to eliminate. While the paste was still soft I flattened the area where the clock would sit so that I could attach it without breaking the sugarpaste once hard. Once dry and hard I could paint the squares which I had scribed on the soft sugarpaste. I used ice blue paste colour mixed with water.
I made a mix of white and red roses so that I could do the whole white roses painted red thing.
The top of the cake had a card stuck into the edible ribbon with the date of the wedding.
My clients had drink me cards attached to drinks at the reception and the eat me tag on the cake tied in with this.
It was certainly not a cake that was going to fade into the background!