If you’ve been reading here any length of time at all, you know that I once spent 10 years as a professional cake decorator. This was 20 years ago, but it’s one of those things that, once you know it (and do it for 12 – 16 hours a day, 6 days a week), you never forget how it’s done. And as I mentioned when I showed the pictures of the Tractor Cake, while it’s a stressful occupation, cake decorating makes a wonderful hobby.
At any rate, word of the Tractor Cake got around, and another friend approached me to do a cake for a small graduation party she was having for her daughter. This one was a little different – the young lady in question didn’t want fondant, as this was to be an “eating” cake. LOL What she wanted was a chocolate cake with mocha icing and aqua-colored gerber daisies.
I had no problem with the chocolate or mocha parts, but the daisies left me at a bit of a loss – they’re not exactly something you can pipe out of icing, especially the icing I was planning on using for this cake. (The icing was Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Neoclassic Buttercream with the addition of melted bittersweet chocolate, instant coffee dissolved in a little hot water, and a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua. You can find the basic recipe here, and while it says it is easier to use a hand mixer to make it, I prefer using my KitchenAid stand mixer.) Nor did I think they would quite work with fondant, either – fondant is fairly soft, and while it will dry and become stiff, it never completely hardens. It’s more like clay.
So I decided I’d use gum paste for the daisies, a medium I’d never worked in before. I’m pleased to say that the flowers came out better than I could have hoped for – I made them Friday night, and they were completely dry by Saturday morning when it was time to decorate. I’m also pleased to say the cake came out beautifully; I was a little dubious about the combination of brown and aqua, but it was really lovely.