So my brother-in-law calls me on Thursday to ask if I can make a cake to feed 40 people for Saturday afternoon. I immediately say yes, hang up the phone, and realize I have no idea how I’m going to do this.
Thankfully, the Wilton Tent Sale is going in full swing, so I grab my mom and head out at 9 am Friday morning to buy a few cake pans, some icing coloring and a few other odds and ends. I get home and get cracking. I decided I would bake and torte two 12″ square cakes, one yellow and one chocolate, then put them together to make one enormous sheet cake.
After rigging together a few cake boards with a plastic cutting board for support, I get to work on assembly. Torting was, uh, interesting. no matter what kind of tools or tricks that are supposed to make it easier, it is always a challenge to make the layers level and even. Still, it was better than I expected. I filled the layers, crumb coated the cake and went to my daughter’s skating lesson. Upon our return I finished icing the cake and using the Viva paper towel method, did my best to make a smooth, even surface for my line decorations.
I had spent most of Thursday evening researching and sketching out different henna patterns. After figuring out which ones I wanted to use I sketched out a basic plan in my notebook. I went over it with marker to get an idea of what it would look like in color.
Now I was ready to decorate, but I hadn’t yet settled on a color. I wanted to stay away from colors that were too dark considering it’s nearly summertime, so burgundy and dark green were out. It was a cake for two guys and a girl, so colors like pink and purple were out. I wanted it appetizing so I voted out brown (even though real henna is more brown than anything). I settled on some sort of orange. I started coloring the piping icing and at first it was too pink so I added some yellow. Ugh, now it was too….fleshy. So I slowly added some orange and copper until I settled on the color shown. I started with the pattern on top.
Turns out I’m nearly as shaky as a Parkinson’s patient while trying to do intricate linework, so I tried to modulate my breathing and just look at it as sketching. Without being able to erase.
After about 1.5 hours I was done with the line work and completed the lettering.
It was starting to get late (about 8 pm) when I started the border. I didn’t think it would take too long but it turns out that to do intricate work on 72 linear inches takes quite a bit of time.
Everyone was thrilled with the cake and I was happy I had an opportunity to play creatively.