Caroline Mitchell is just the definition of cool. I arrive at her home which just oozes style; there’s a modern concrete lamp table in the hallway which she has made herself and her home looks as if she’s had an interior designer in – creative people just have such a good eye for style and design which isn’t limited to their profession! She’s not only a master of the cake world but she’s an incredible DIY Goddess too! I’m already feeling way out of my depth…
A huge congratulations is in order as Caroline has recently got engaged and is now planning her own wedding, so we obviously had to priorities things and swoon over her engagement ring first. But once the girly chit chat was over, we got down to business – making an icing rose! Now I’ve played around with fondant before but this time I felt the pressure. Caroline is such a natural at her craft and I was walking in to her home attempting to do what she does so incredibly well. Caroline has set up her work station for me on her black granite worktop and it’s full of inspiring but very daunting icing roses she’s been working on. I get to wear one of her branded aprons which I love and makes me feel like I am a cake designer for a split second, then I start the task in hand and quickly realise I am a not cut out for this!
We talk about the tips and tricks of the trade and the basics of what to do when making an icing rose. Caroline had already prepared my starting ‘cone’ on a wire as it needed to be hard to start building the petals on. I begin by taking a small amount of fondant and warm it in my hand. Each petal is made from a small piece of fondant, rolled into a ball, (technical term coming up – which I have absolutely made up!) squashed out onto a foam board using a tool which forms a flat petal like shape. Using a sugary water paste, I paint the bottom of the petal and stick it to the cone, then wrap it around to mimic the formation of a real rose. Repeating the process about a million times (Okay not that many,) I had created a small rose! It’s certainly no where near the quality of Caroline’s but it’s not too bad! The last photograph in the collection shows my small rose on the left and Caroline’s large beauty on the right.
I’m going to stick to wedding planning, but it was a great experience to see actually how long it takes to make these incredible flowers. Without a doubt you can see the justification for the price of wedding cakes: not only are you paying for the fresh ingredients, which is expensive in the first place but it takes days to make, ice and decorate the cake. The icing flowers are literally weeks in the making, (it took me a good hour to make that tiny rose and I hadn’t event finished the back), and the time to deliver and set up these masterpieces. But what a worthwhile purchase.
A few years ago cakes were being shoved in the corner of a room, quite often not even cut. I’ve seen family made cakes which haven’t been supported correctly and have melted and fallen over! The tradition of cutting the cake is meant to symbolise the first task, jointly carried out by the newly married couple. “The Cake” is making a come back in a big way and is now back taking centre stage at weddings. Couples are opting for the most incredible flavours – a bride of mine has had Peach and Prosecco this year and another had Oreo! And the decoration around the cake is now seeing it become more of a show stopper and part of the styling! No one puts “cake” in the corner and I guarantee you are going to be seeing some more dramatic and statement cakes in the comings years.