Last August my parents had a mini "wedding reception" for my cousin. Really, her wedding was an excuse to have a family reunion of sorts. It was a casual backyard gathering of family who is scattered across the East coast. My mom asked if I would make a cake for the party and I jumped at the chance. I thought of it as an opportunity to see if I was capable of making a cake fit for a wedding reception.
I decided to make a favorite recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor's book, Cannoli Cake. It's basically yellow cake with a cannoli cream filling. Honestly, I can't remember if I used a doctored mix or if I made the cake from scratch...But the cannoli filling was definitely home made. And besides, I've found that most people enjoy the doctored mixes better than scratch - as long as they don't know it's a mix. So far my scratch cakes are a bit dry. I'm sure it has something to do with my technique, because I am capable of following directions even if I do make mess of my kitchen.
I did a crumb coating of chocolate buttercream and then covered the entire thing is rich chocolate ganache. I had never made calla lilies before so when my husband gave me a bunch for my birthday (they are my favorite flower), I made sure to dissect one of them as it was fading so I could study the shapes and reproduce it.
I wanted the flowers to taste good and not just look good, so I made it out of candy clay, which is basically just candy wafers melted and mixed with some corn syrup. I used a recipe I got from another of my favorite books, The art of chocolate by Elaine Gonzalez. I didn't have the calla lily former set that is now available from Wilton, so I used all kinds of things around the house including shot glasses and rolled pieces of waxed paper.
It tasted great and looked pretty good. And it was definitely a learning experience. In hindsight, I should have covered the base in something other than just foil, for that professional look. It just seems like such a waste of an edible substance (I have a problem calling fondant food).
If you have any suggestions on covering cake boards for a finished look that isn't "food", please drop me a line. Or if you have any feedback don't hesitate to comment.