On the bright side, I'm getting ready to start my gardening season. I am so excited to cook some great meals with what I harvest from my garden!
I know many of you asked about how the cake turned out, so I wanted to post a picture of the final product. Being the perfectionist that I am, I could see many flaws in the executions, but all in all, I believe it turned out pretty well! The flowers are shaped from gum paste, which is similar to fondant, but does not absorb moisture from the air. Each flower took 2 1/2 hours to make. I formed the centers and shaped the stamens, putting a small piece of wire into each, so I could attach it to the center. The wire is the only non-edible part of the flower as I couldn't find anything thin, strong, and flexible to use. I then had to roll, shape, and cut each petal, then form them and allow them to dry. Once dry, I laid out my petals and painted them with a mixture of vodka and food color gel. This allowed the flowers to dry, versus re-hydrating by using water. Once the 2 coats of "paint" dried, I was able to assemble the tulips using meringue powder and water as glue. They were propped up to dry, then the glue was touched up for pieces that didn't adhere.The cake was a devil's food cake, filled with a cherry-marshmallow filling, iced with a lactose free icing and topped with fondant. I baked the cakes one day, then filled them the next. Day three, I was able to apply 2 coats of icing, chilling between each coat. Then came the fondant. It is a challenge to work with! The fondant had to be tinted ivory, since it was white. That was a workout! The fondant must be rolled to the right thickness - too thick, it would crack. Too thin, it would tear and everything underneath would show through. Once the fondant is on the cake itself, you have to work quickly so it doesn't dry out while you are stretching and smoothing the fondant over the icing. The heat of my hands was melting the icing underneath, making it very difficult to have a smooth finish. Once the fondant is on the cake, you cannot refrigerate it or the water within the fondant will bead up on the surface. After the fondant was on, I used a navy ribbon around the base (covers up many mistakes!) and secured it using small pins. The flowers were not actually attached to the cake, but just laid on there in a composed way.
I hope it was both visibly and tastefully appreciated!