Someone has asked me about the origins of my banner – so rather than post another recipe, this post will discuss the process of decorating the cake that my banner is a photo of. Firstly, the credit for this cake has to largely go to my mum, who embraced my desire for a Marie-Antoinette themed party. Now, I will take this opportunity to say that this theme had very little to do with admiration for Marie – but rather was a result of my obsession with macarons (see earlier post) and a wonderful memory of a visit to Versaille.
It was in 2007 when my bestie and I went on a day trip the Palace that was once home to the aforementioned queen. The highlight of the visit was discovering the hamlet (“Hameau de la reine “) at the edge of the grounds – where Marie-Antoinette once frolicked (and where we also frolicked). I have such fond memories of that day… I wanted to tap into the excess and extravagance that Marie-Antoinette was infamous for, n particular by drawing on the Sofia Copola version of events, and also draw inspiration from the brightly coloured Palace of Versaille. The idea of drinking from china tea cups while having a picnic of cakes and pastries really appealed to me… My very own Marie-Antoinette Garden Party – completely frivolous but heaps of fun!
Of course, the cake was important… I mean she is accredited to have said “Let them eat cake.” – though a largely discredited claim I decided to roll with it… I selected a wedding cake from a magazine and approached my mother with the following brief: “I want this cake in the colours of Versaille.” It really is a testament of her love that she agreed.
Anyone who has ever made iced flowers before will know that it takes time and dedication. We spent many a night bowed over the kitchen table working at the craft. I was very specific about the colours I wanted and so refused to let anyone else (sorry mum) prepare the icing – but I am sure you will all agree that in the end it was definitely worth being pedantic about it. I think it took a total of 40 hours each to decorate this – for me it was a great learning process but I still have a long way to go and I definitely do not have my mum’s finesse… None-the-less, it looked amazing and I will be eternally grateful.
1. Make a loop at the top of some cake decorating wire. Roll some modelling icing into a rounded cone shape. Dip the looped-end of the wire into some water and push into the ‘sharp’ end of the cone. Cut some stamens, dip the ends in water and stick into the flat end of the cone. Allow to dry.
2. To make the petals you will need a rose petal cutter (which is teardrop shaped). Sift some icing sugar onto a smooth surface. Roll out the icing – you want it to be pretty thin, but thick enough to stick wire into it without tearing. Cut out the petal and stick a moistened wire into the pointy end. Place the petal in the palm of your hand, and using a ball tool, roll the ball around the end of the petal (to create a wavy effect and to thin the edges). Place in a curved tray to dry. You will need at least two different sizes (9 smaller petals for the inner petals and 6 larger ones for the outside) and I would recommend making extras in case of breakage.
3. Once the centres and petals are dry, you can begin assembling the roses. For this you will need florist tape. Take a centre, surround it with four of the smaller petals in an overlapping fashion. The next layer is the same but with five petals. The last layer uses the six larger petals. Once intertwined, use the florist tape to bind the wires together.
4. Now they are ready to be put onto the cake.