From Sketch to Cake #2—Midnight Love Birds
For our second cake in the series, we picked Ellen’s black lace cake, which we named “Midnight Love Birds.” Black cakes are this year’s look and we wanted to showcase a beauty. As I mentioned in the first cake of our series, one of our goals for our display cake makeover is to highlight current looks, styles, and techniques. When Ellen volunteered to make the black cake, she also took on the idea of “a pop of color” because color looks so stunningly vibrant against black. The rest was up to Ellen and after many ideas were drawn out, this is her final sketch:
Ellen decided that instead of making a modern black cake, which is often the assumption with black, she would put a twist on her concept and make it romantic. She said, “If this cake were white it would be beautiful, but something you can see anywhere. As a black cake, it’s unique and striking.” When I asked her why she went that route, she mentioned “you don’t see black lace on cakes that often… plus doilies and lace are popular, and very pretty.” She continued on to say that “since we just got in to using Sugarveil, I really wanted to work with it.” Sugarveil is a pipe-able and spreadable medium of icing that when it dries, it remains pliable for a certain period of time. It’s perfect for making delicate pieces such as lace, or something dramatic like a curved spider-web. This is how the lace was made:
The bottom tier of this cake is bold yet soft with dramatic, overlaying ruffles. This tier is based on the popular ombré ruffled cake that was perfected by cake decorator Maggie Austin, in where we learned that to get the drama you must flip your cake upside-down. Ellen, however, wanted a softer look for her black ruffles so while she still flipped the cake to keep that intensity, the degree to which the ruffles were ruffled was less. This gave the bottom tier a “heavier” look than compared to the rest of the cake but without being too weighted and still looking delicate. For the ruffles, each piece of fondant is rolled paper-thin and gently stretched on a soft pad to create the ruffle and then attached to the cake with water. Once all pieces are attached the cake can be flipped right side up and the ruffles will continue to stand up.
Ellen did end up making a couple adjustments on her cake design. The first was that the original ruched puff was going to be purple and blue but Ellen so enjoyed the way the straight purple was coming out that she went with it, also liking how that gave the cake two purple elements to go along with 2 blue elements (the birds and the board). The other addition was adding the beads to the trimming of the cake board. These are the same beads on the top and bottom of the second tier and Ellen thought that they added a nice segue from the black ribbon to the blue board. We’ve discovered that in certain situations, it’s really nice to add some decoration to the board to truly complete the look of the cake.
What do you all think of the Midnight Love Birds cake?
Thanks again to Hannah Metler of Lolagrace Photography for the beautiful photos!