No doubt that I needed to make something LOVELY for Little Miss Lucy's special day. The seeds were planted when Vale gave me the 10th Anniversary of O, The Oprah Magazine -- which featured one of the best magazine articles I've come across in a magazine in a long time. The article "Life is Sweet" was basically a breath-taking photo spread of 10 AMAZING cakes made by 10 idol-worthy bakers and even included the original, detailed recipes.
Vale and I both fell in love with the look of the one made Gina DePalma, pastry chef at NYC's restaurant Babbo*.
Photo by: Sang An
Photo by: Sang An (Who, BTW, cooks up some seriously inspirational food photography. If that's what you're into. And let's be honest -- I am.)
Ok, I just realized it might be a mistake to put up the original professional confectioneries in their best light up here before even showing mine. C'est la vie.
For Lucy's Christening Cake, I decided I would replicate the whimsical, simple style of the cherry blossom cake. But it would cloak the lemon cake, where underneath the flowery covers, the caramel and creamy lemon and a hint of grapefruit were ready to jump out of the cake like three of Hugh Heffner's girlfriends on his birthday.
I also was really excited when I saw the kitchen notes that the recipe called for... 18 lemonsssss!! Now read that again, but use your best Oprah intro voice, and then maybe you'll realize why I had to make this recipe. Just so I could pull that out every once and while while I was baking. Although, my Oprah voice probably sounds more like Liz LEMON'SSSSS.
Breakdown of Lucy's 3-Tier Cake, from the Top down:
- Cherry Blossom Flowers - Gum Paste dyed a few shades of pink, and as always called on some help from Cole for the color department. For the bigger flowers, I used Ateco's Daisy and Round Cutters and the back of a pastry tip. For the smaller flowers, I used the apple blossom cutters from Wilton's Gum Paste Flower Making Kit (thanks to a care package from my mom!) and a straw.
- Covering all Tiers, a Marshmallow Fondant, and strips of fondant imprinted a diamond pattern for the trimming.
- Cake for Tiers 1 & 2 - Lemon Cake with 3-layers instead of 4.
- Cake for Tier 3 - Three Layered Chiffon Cake (a light, fluffy cake recipe from BakeWise, sans orange) with Fresh Raspberry Whipped Cream with a coating of tempered White Chocolate in the middle. This frosting was an experiment and while it looked like a hot mess, it was a surprising fan favorite. I will improve on it in the future and post some step by steps. But for now, I could not begin to remember what went in there.
- Cake set upon my engagement present from Mark & Vale, a lovely cake stand and server! :)
Now forget what you saw above and check out the finished product, and of course, the finishing off of the product.
*Tangent: When I was working in Manhattan, I remember one of the Partners that wanted me to make reservations at Babbo for the next day. I think when I called the restaurant the first available reservation was like in 3 weeks. I even looked up the restaurant in Zagat and read something like "....though you might break you fingers trying to get a reservation there". I just remember being REALLY nervous about how to tell him the bad news. Looking back, I wonder if he might have done that on purpose just to mess with the intern. Heck, I would have.)