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amccomb

IU themed wedding cake help

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Hello!

I think I am going to have to ask for a lot of help here coming up...

My brother is getting married this fall, and my dad told him I could make his wedding cake because I'd done it before. Truth is, I've done it twice, and both times for close friends who cared more about taste than beauty, since I am no cake decorator, and I'm very much an amateur baker!

Luckily, I got out of that by confessing to my brother that I can't decorate with icing - only with fruit. :) At this point, he asked if I could do the groom's cake. I've done several of those for friends and family - double-decker pineapple upside down cakes, flourless chocolate cakes with strawberry mousse filling and chocolate mirror glaze, tiramisu, tres leches cake, etc all on a grand scale. So, I agree and he gives me his fiance's email address.

Well, she really wants a second wedding cake! She would like a square 3-tiered red velvet cake with buttercream icing. My brother is an IU basketball fan, so she would like the top square to have the IU logo in crimson, and the sides of the cakes to have vertical cream and crimson candy stripes, like the IU basketball warm-up pants. Yikes! Thank goodness for the demo on icing a square cake! I've seen demos online about how to stack cakes. I can spend the summer working on getting the buttercream to spread as smooth as possible, since that's always been an issue for me, so the main thing that's left is...red icing?

I've tried before with wilson's no-taste red when I made a spiderman cake for my nephew's birthday. I used SOOO much red food coloring, and it still seemed like dark pink to me, plus it stained everyone's teeth and tongues red, which would be a huge no-no for the wedding. I thought about using those gel pens, but when I mentioned it, the bride said that looks too childish, and I agree. We also talked about airbrushing, but I would have to buy everything unless I used one of those wilson aeresol spray cans, and I just doubt that will look as nice.

So, what should I do for the red stripes and the IU logo on top?

What have I gotten myself into? :wacko:

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I think you should use some red fondant (Satin Ice sells pre-colored fondant - www.rolledfondant.com; or you could use Sweet Inspirations brand www.cake-visions.com) for the vertical stripes. It's easier to deal with than coloring icing, piping it, etc., and since it comes in 2# or 5# pails, you could definitely have some to practice with first. You roll it out, cut the strips and apply.....

For the logo.... well, the easiest shortcut is to take a jpeg image of the logo to your local "edible image" maker bakery and ask them to print it out on to the edible sheet that you can then attach to a piece of fondant, or chocolate plaque (even one of those Ghiradelli bars they sell in the supermarket could work).

Or get some of the food color ink pens and a piece of white fondant (suitably dry so you can color on it) and recreate it if it is not very intricate...

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For the logo.... well, the easiest shortcut is to take a jpeg image of the logo to your local "edible image" maker bakery ......

Just to warn you, there's a good chance you won't be able to get anyone to do this for you, just because the logo is copyright to the team and they can't legally reproduce it without permission. That is, if your local bakery happens to be aware of and abides by copyright law. :rolleyes:

That's such a unique shade of red I'd worry you'll have trouble reproducing it exactly right by mixing colour into fondant or buttercream. It'd be much easier to airbrush it, and so long as you're airbrushing onto fondant you can get away with a $35 Badger airbrush for that. And airbrushed colour doesn't stain teeth!

If you're not going to go the airbrush route, use Americolor pastes to mix your colours. Those wilton colours really aren't very good and/or potent, although their pinks and lavenders are ok.

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I think you should use some red fondant (Satin Ice sells pre-colored fondant - www.rolledfondant.com; or you could use Sweet Inspirations brand www.cake-visions.com) for the vertical stripes.  It's easier to deal with than coloring icing, piping it, etc., and since it comes in 2# or 5# pails, you could definitely have some to practice with first.  You roll it out, cut the strips and apply.....

What does fondant taste like? Is it really hard to work with? SHould I cover each layer with white first, and then attach the red stripes, or just attach the stripes straight to the buttercream? Can you use fondant on a square cake and get relatively defined edges? Will a square cake be harder than a round one? Like, will I have to cut it and piece it together for a square instead of just draping it and smoothing it like for a circle?

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Forgive me, but are you sure sister-in-law wants you to make the cake? I wonder if she's making it difficult so you will bow out?

It sounds like she wants something really professional. Might she prefer a professional?

You've got mirror glaze and a double decker pineapple cake on your list of accomplishments, more than I can do. But, you were clear that you can decorate with flowers and she's asking you to do something entirely different.

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Okay, I guess I need to be the wet blanket here. Doesn't it seem to be a bit tacky to celebrate a university at a wedding?

You may be able to find assistance from the IU website on how to mix their color, but if Herbie Husker woulda shown his face at my wedding, Herbie would have become a eunuch--'cos it was my day, not his.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Okay, I guess I need to be the wet blanket here.  Doesn't it seem to be a bit tacky to celebrate a university at a wedding?

You may be able to find assistance from the IU website on how to mix their color, but if Herbie Husker woulda shown his face at my wedding, Herbie would have become a eunuch--'cos it was my day, not his.

Well, technically, it's the groom's cake, and he is a HUGE IU basketball fan, so I guess it's not quite as bad as having it for the actual wedding cake. However, I used "wedding cake" in the title because she wants a white, 3-tiered cake, which is basically a wedding cake! :blink:

Forgive me, but are you sure sister-in-law wants you to make the cake?  I wonder if she's making it difficult so you will bow out?

It sounds like she wants something really professional.  Might she prefer a professional?

I would actually prefer NOT to do it, so I have mentioned several times that it would probably be suited better to a pro. I mentioned that the kinds of "groom's cakes" that I prefer to do are those that are more focused on taste, and unique flavors or fillings. I listed several different kinds of cakes, fillings, and even alternative desserts and such, but she wants red velvet with buttercream, which doesn't appeal to me at all - too basic. I don't get excited about doing something unless I'm thinking, "Mmmm!". :biggrin: I also showed her the pictures of the cakes I have done in the past - all topped with fruit, flowers, or chocolate curls.

She specifically said it sounded easy to her, so I don't think she's being purposefully difficult to get me to bow out (especially since I've hinted about WANTING to bow out!). :biggrin: I have not yet committed to this design, and I have told her the issues I have with it (mainly the fear of doing sharp square corners with icing and using the red icing), and told her I would research a bit to let her know what I found out. She sounded really disappointed that I may not be able to do her design, and I really want her to be happy with the cake.

My mom thinks I should just have our local bakery do it, unassembled, and assemble it there! I just don't feel right about that, but it's a funny thought. :raz: What I could do, though, is talk to the local bakery and then report that back to her. For example, say, "I don't feel I can do this design in such a way that it will look perfect. I talked to such-and-such bakery, and here is what they said it would take for them to do that design." I would even offer to pay for it as part of their wedding gift.

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For the logo.... well, the easiest shortcut is to take a jpeg image of the logo to your local "edible image" maker bakery ......

I've done a logo before out of fondant. Mix in some Gum-Tex with your colored fondant so it will harden a bit. Cut the logo out of cardboard and then use it to trace and cut your fondant with an exacto knife. Let it dry a few days. Make a few just in case they break when you're trying to transfer it to the cake. I didn't do that and had to patch a little crack...

gallery_15437_3079_137245.jpg

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What does fondant taste like?  Is it really hard to work with? 

Fondant takes some getting used to, both from a taste perspective and in working with it. I would not attempt to cover a whole cake in fondant my first time out for a special occasion, but you should be okay with using fondant appliques to create your stripes. So, I vote for white buttercream over the entire cake and red fondant stripes on top of the buttercream.

Fondant doesn't taste too bad, as long as you don't use Wilton brand. :blink:

For the logo on top: if you have any piping skills at all, I suggest a frozen buttercream transfer, or a royal icing plaque. Same basic technique for both: slide a reversed, to-scale copy of the logo under a sheet of parchment (or waxed paper) on a sheet pan. Following your guide, pipe the logo, outlining first in chocolate or some other dark color. Then fill in the areas in the appropriate colors, being sure not to leave any gaps. If you use buttercream, slip the sheet panp into the freezer and let the buttercream freeze hard. If using royal, let the plaque dry on the pan for at least 24 hours. (It would probably be smart to make 2-3 of the logo to allow for breakage.) When you're ready to put the plaque on the cake, gently reverse the logo onto the cake and peel off the parchment.

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This is Indiana, people. The red I-over-a-U is a religious symbol, an icon to bow the masses in adoration, the object of genuflection from Ohio to Missouri and environs beyond.

And as to being a copyright item, someone should tell every Kroger, Meijer, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Costco between here and there, because a great many of their cakes are festooned in the logo, swirled in smart symmetry or gangled onto the clotty frosting like a renegade cactus drawn by a sugar-laden child with but one crayon in the box.

I've seen FLAT groom's cakes with the emblem, nicely royal-icinged or fondant-carved, but never a monument such as the edifice suggested by your future SIL. You don't mention offering a tiered cake. How brave of you to undertake it.

An offer of such magnitude is gracious, to be accepted as such, but couching the acceptance in such demanding, difficult-to-render terms is a bit much.

Your heart is willing and generous---I do hope your completed cake is accepted in the same spirit.

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I'm in Bloomington, home to IU. I've done my share of cream & crimson cakes. My best advice is to airbrush it (of course you may not have access to that - Wilton does make a can of red spray, but some of them are rumored to taste "minty" - try it first!). Second advice is to do the fondant or gumpaste route. The pre-colored red fondant is a great option (no red flavor, by the way!). Just roll, cut, and place. Other options include a fondant or gpaste plaque colored w/the food color pens (not too "pro" looking, usually), or edible images printed on edible paper w/food coloring. Some bakeries will do an edible image for a small fee for you. Best of luck! Also, there are some food coloring brands that work better in reds. There are powdered colors that are great, as well as "Super Red" which is great too. Let color sit overnight, as it will often intensify.


~Lisa

www.TheCakeAndTheCaterer.com

Bloomington, IN

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Oh yeah. The bakery at the Union does a lot of cakes. Perhaps they can tell you what they use? You can ask for the number (it's called Sugar & Spice) through the IU directory - 812-855-4848. Maybe they'd have some IU picks or something?


~Lisa

www.TheCakeAndTheCaterer.com

Bloomington, IN

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If you decide to do the cake, definitely go the airbrush or fondant/gumpaste/candyclay method for the stripes. I tried to pipe buttercream stripes on one of the first wedding cakes I did, and it drove me insane - trying to get them to lie flat, straight, and evenly spaced was nearly impossible for me at the time! It does sound like a fun design with the stripes, and the red velvet to go with the red school colors...

However... well, I hate to be a downer here, but a couple of things stood out to me in your messages, especially when you said you would prefer NOT to do this type of cake since it really isn't your specialty and you've already tried to get out of it after being somewhat volunteered into this situation by others. And the big warning bells went off when you mentioned that the bride "said it sounded easy to her." Is she a baker, or does she have experience with cakes to know what's "easy" and what's difficult? Because a cake can look "easy" when you don't know how hard it is to do sharp corners, or correctly stack a cake so it doesn't fall, or how to protect a cake during delivery, or realize how much equipment/effort it really takes to get that "easy" cake to look just right (especially for a wedding!).

If you want to bow out, it would be very gracious and lovely of you to offer to do all the research into ordering this cake from another decorator (so the bride doesn't have to worry about it), and/or put some money toward its purchase as a gift. Let her know that you want her wedding to be what she expects, and since you don't have a lot of experience with these kinds of cakes, that you would feel horrible if the cake didn't turn out the way she envisioned it... after all, it's your brother and you want the best for them, right? :biggrin:

If you do decide to do the cake, practicing everything - including transportation and stacking!! - will make you fee more confident. And friends/coworkers/family are usually pretty good about helping dispose of those experiments :laugh:

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