Gumpaste Letters

Mr and Mrs finished

I received an email one day from a previous customer telling me that her son was going to propose to his girlfriend the next day.  This was great news, except, he moved his original proposal date.  His mom had been planning a party for the celebration and suddenly had one day to plan the party versus the two weeks that she’d originally thought she had.   Her email asked if there was ANY way I could make a cake for the next day.  Usually, I would have to decline because either my calendar is full with cakes, or I have activities, sports, or field trips planned with my little people (aka, my kids).  It just so happened that I had extra cake and extra Italian Meringue buttercream in my freezer as well as a few hours of extra time on my hands.  Being that she had so much on her mind with the party and upcoming engagement, her mind was reeling with ideas, but her ideas were scattered in multiple directions.  In the end, she said, “I’m sure I’ll love whatever you come up with” and left the design up to me.  But I didn’t want to make a cake that I loved.  I wanted to make a cake that she loved.  Even though her ideas seemed scattered to her, I wrote them down and mulled them over in my mind.

That night, with the cake stacked and in my refrigerator, and having multiple ideas swirling around in my head, I decided it was getting late and I had to get some rest.  I had to go to sleep and try to figure something out that she would like and that fit the occasion by morning.  The biggest problem was my time constraint.   I’ve found that when I’m either sleeping or nodding off to sleep, that’s when I come up with most of my ideas.  I don’t know why…it’s just how I’m wired.

From my conversation with her, I knew:

1) she wanted it to read, “Mr & Mrs”

2) she mentioned Valentine’s day was coming up

3) she preferred something with a vintage feel (but not shabby chic); and lastly,

4) she mentioned a cake that she’d seen with some balloons on it.

When I woke up, I went to the computer and looked up “Mr & Mrs” signs.  I found two that I liked and I thought that they would be pretty in gold.  Oh, and like any girl, I love things that sparkle!  So I decided that disco dust was best.

I printed out the Mr & Mrs signs that I liked.  There were two and I just couldn’t decide for a while.  I chose the lettering that I used on the cake because I thought it had more of a vintage feel to it.  Dunno…again, something with my brain wiring.

Mr and Mrs cutout

I colored some gum paste yellow and rolled it out.  I placed the Mr & Mrs sign on top of the gum paste, then used a dull pencil to trace the outline.  You can see it in this picture.  It’s hard to see it, but it’s there.

Mr and Mrs trace

I found that the Exacto knife cut did not pull on the gum paste if I put a small layer of shortening on the surface of the gum paste.  And, it did not make my gum paste stick together like water would do.  I use water to clean my knife when I’m cutting out fondant.  But the water caused my gum paste to try to meld together while I was cutting out the remaining part of each letter.  Shortening allowed my knife to cut through without melting my gum paste as well as keeping my gum paste from pulling and puckering.

I could’ve used modeling chocolate for this project, but I did not have any chocolate on hand…again, time constraint.  And, I needed some stiffness, so I did not want to use fondant.  I could’ve written Mr & Mrs by hand by piping it onto the cake, but writing on cakes is not my favorite thing to do.  And, I wanted it to shimmer and sparkle.

After the letters were cut out, I placed them onto a piece of parchment paper and left them to dry for about 30 minutes while I covered the cake in icing.

I brushed piping gel onto each letter, then sprinkled them generously with disco dust.  I only had a few hours for them to dry before the cake was being picked up.  Usually, I would allow them to dry overnight, but I did not have that luxury this time.  And, man, oh man, I sure was wishing that I owned a fondant dryer.  But I don’t, so there’s no use wishing about it.

Mr and Mrs disco dust

I felt that I had the vintage feel with the lettering, but I needed something more.  Ah! Balloons! And, Valentine’s Day!  She mentioned balloons and Valentine’s Day!  So I decided to make some balloons that were heart-shaped and varying sizes.  Some were covered in disco dust, but very few.  I also gave some depth to them by folding some of the balloons and used royal icing to attach them.

Hearts picFinally, I finished the cake off with a ribbon.  Even though it was a rushed cake, I was pleased.  Have a lovely day and happy caking!

Mr and Mrs finished

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