Fresh, Naked Cakes...
Because we need a little springtime right this very minute....
|Dahlia and Blackberry Cake|
This definitely gave me pause because I'd never made a cake without being completely covered in icing. In fact, 99% of the cakes I make are not only covered with buttercream, but then covered in fondant as well.
As for the flowers, I'd never loved the idea of putting fresh flowers on a cake. I always felt like, "what's the point? the whole essence of what I do it to hand-make decorations, like flowers, that are sugar."
But something about the assignment intrigued me. Maybe it was just timing, or because I like figuring out how to do things I haven't done before and in part just for the sheer simplicity of it. AND I do love flowers. Flowers are so magical.
Like the majority of my first-time projects, I think I went a little overboard scouring the flower market hunting down the perfect buds. (If you live anywhere near a flower market and you've never gone, you have to go exploring!)
I found this great blog post about navigating the New York City flower market, and then I broke pretty much every rule in the article... but I still recommend it!
|Rule #1. Plan ahead (not so much) #2: Arrive early (broken) #3: Browse first, buy later (broken!)|
- Wires: cutting the stems very close to the top of the flower and inserting floral wires then wrapping in floral tape
- Spikes: cutting the stems fairly short and placing them inside of flower spikes filled with a bit of water
- Some people also just stuck the flowers directly into the cake; (if you try this, wrap the stems in foil first)
Thoroughly unscientific timing experiments: Queen Anne's Lace cut down to about a two inch stem and checked in on periodically over the next 5 hours to see how it would hold up. It did surprisingly wonderfully! I detected very little difference from beginning to end.
BUT I realized my experiment was flawed when I tried it out on a cake. I kept the above test subject laying flat on a counter. When the flower is standing upright on a cake you could see it start to wilt over the same amount of time, although it still did really well and I would use it again.
|Left to right: Rice flower, "Green Magical" Eryngium , Jasmine vine, Ranunculus, Black berries on the vine, and...(not sure about this one), birds-nest fern? All except the fern leaf did great and still looked great after 5 hours.|
|At the 4 HOUR mark.|
|5 1/2 HOURS...showing its temporal nature, which to my eye is as poignant and beautiful as ever.|