Monday, October 13, 2014

An Epic LOTR Wedding Weekend




Many people often are astounded at how much custom cakes costs these days.  They ask me how could a cake possibly cost so much?  And they assume profits must be awesome for those who do this for a living.

Well, since I just had an epic weekend processing a large wedding order, and was able to capture most of the process, I thought I'd give you a glimpse INSIDE.

I was so inspired by the couple's vision, and their theme (Lord of the Rings Movie) I just kept going and going....in the end, I think I put in about 30 hours into this order, WITH help.


#1 Consultation


- Every order starts with a consultation either through social media, email or face to face. For weddings, we cake designers prefer to meet face to face because so much is at stake and we want to 'catch' your personality, relationship dynamics, wedding details, etc. ON TOP OF the regular Cake details.


#2  Details on paper translates into an order


- After a lot of back and forth, I want this, I don't want this, can we do this, can we do that...we finally come up with an order

Most people dismiss these 2 points.  Remember, these take time too! (just not in the kitchen)


#3  Research and Development


- Yes, we research for cakes too!!! Sometimes this translates into hours of research on the theme.  In this case, I had watched the movies already but had to study elvish, the tree of Gondor, Galandral, Elvish life, Elvish culture, Rivendale Architecture and countless other details.
- Then, putting some preliminary ideas onto paper:


Original sketch with ideas

#4  Shopping Lists and Shopping


- Again, this is time consuming.  For this order I had to prepare and buy enough bananas (I need them ripped), make sure the butter was softened at room temperature, make enough of my homemade fondant, prepare all the cake boards and drums, prepare all the cake stands, think about the 'extras' that would or could go on the cake tables (petals, jewels, etc), vines to dress up the cupcake stand, fabric to dress up the other stands, etc. etc. etc., 


This says it all.  My macbook Air for research, butter for my cakes and homemade fondant as 'canvas' for the art work


I lost count on how many eggs I used for this order....so many I ran out 


Bought too many of these because I was worried I didn't have enough ready and ripped for baking


#5 Preparing the non-edible decor

- Yes, there is more to cake decorating than just baking and slapping icing on it.  Things that a really good custom cake designer does is to consider the lightning of the party venue (e.g. indoors vs outdoors), time of day, etc.



Three different cake stands:  A custom cupcake stand, a tree trunk for the cake base and the other one for wedding favours


The small things matter....how you dress up the table is just as important as the cake

#6 Baking 

- Only in stage #6 do I start baking.  In this case, that meant 14 loafs of banana bread and 10 layers of chocolate cake, 100 cupcakes and about 5 double batches of cream, in addition to loads and loads of homemade fondant.





Hands were sore after mushing all those bananas



All 14 loafs of bread cut with template to size and stored

#7 - Fondant and Buttercream

- Yes, I make those from scratch too so that means more hours working on those!  Especially painful process?  Finding the right combination of green dye for the Lembas Bread....Needless to say, my biceps had a good workout this weekend


#8 - Testing, Testing


- Like any work of art, I suppose, I never quite know the end product until I hit the end of the road.  Here, I'm testing different 'options' for dressing up the Lembas Bread








#9 - Mass Production


- Once I figured out how to work the Lembas Banana Bread wedding favours, it was a matter of production - something that took easily 10 hours.

Lembas Banana Bread Production:




From a humble piece of fondant....






Imprinting leaf marks on each 






Gotta taste test them too!

Wedding Cake Production:

I decided to change my original design at the 9th hour....(more like at midnight)...Step 1:  Hand paint leafs in the shape of that Elven Leaf Broach without it looking too LOTR



Step 2:  After it all dries up....Hand pipe each leaf with Royal Icing


Step 3:  Hand paint Silver Highlights a-la-LOTR


I had an extra layer of cake, so I made it a giant "ring" with the equivalent to "I Love You" in Elvish
 (I will never know if anyone even noticed this)



When it's all said and done....testing the tiers at home
Cupcakes?
- The cupcakes were the easiest in comparison to all the other things this unique wedding posed to me...
Inspired by Elvish Broach and the Simbelmyne the white flower that grows in Rohan (I bet you didn't know that either!)

Ok, are you still here?  Bear with me...we are half way through the process


#10 - Packaging and Assembly

- Making 200 custom packaged Lembas Bread is no easy task, but it was a piece of cake compared to the work we put into making the lembas bread.  Just put in bag, and tie it.  How hard can that be, right??? .... WRONG!!!




...and how hard can it be to stack cakes right?  WRONG!!!! Cake stand (the tree trunk, remember?) was not levelled!!!




No worries, we fixed things...


#11 - PACKING and DELIVERY

- I always worry I will forget something.  Thankfully, this delivery was only 20 min from home...but thank God for my parent's car...the car was packed of all our stuff....
- I hate the transportation part of the experience...it always stresses me out to think of what might happen IF I have a "cake boss" episode :P

250 Lembas Bread Packed and Ready to go!


The most important piece


Everything on this table must go


...and everything on the counters....


Car is jam packed









#12 - SET UP

- Yes, folks...we set up too.  That takes time....especially in a wedding.  WITH lots of help, we arrived at the venue at around 4:00 PM.  We left at around 5:15PM
- It took us a while to get started though.  We moved the original place where the venue had designated as cake spot, and then had to find a rather "flat" floor or else the entire cake would look crooked!


Lots of helpers helped!!! 


Setting up the wedding favours display table


















Forgot to mention:  Arwen's Pendant was dangling in the middle of the cake!


Details:  Wedding colours were purple, silver and white


The cupcake stand was prepared with grey/silver cloth, and purple vines


Proud of the results!


A view from the cake table


Final accent:  Pink Sugar roses


A view from the top






#13 - Pictures!









#14 - CELEBRATE!!!!!!!!!!!!


Angela and Owen, thanks so much for the inspiration and for the chance to be part of this really EPIC saga!!!! (BTW, I heard they cut the cake with a sword!).  Blessings forever! May it always be one ring to bind you all and seal your love for the world to know!

Special Thank You to my brother, who came straight from work on Friday to help me.  For staying up.  For making the process so much easier and for your moral support during you-know-when...

Thank you, cousin Venus, for coming and helping out so much...always!

Thank you hubby, for holding the fort, for picking up the kids, for feeding them and putting them to bed.

Thank you mom and dad for helping out package all those Lembas Bread


Thank you everyone for helping out at the venue! You know who you are!










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