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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Icing of good things, not bad
Today saw another cake added to the growing portfolio. It's handy when someone learns a whole new skill just in time for a perfect cake-related pun, it wasn't too difficult to make (though it was mildly difficult to get it into work safely and secretly) and the result went down well (by which I mean everybody went "ooh" and then ate it).

I still haven't sorted out all my cake photos on my website or on flickr; not just the cakes I've decorated, but also the inspirations behind them, the cakes my mum made for me and my sister when we were growing up. It's a growing corpus of cake and every time I do another one it adds to the weight of expectations, the feeling that the next one is guaranteed to be a let-down. It seems ironic to document them when half of the reason I enjoy making them is that it's a gift that people don't have to keep forever; but to be honest, I think I'd feel even more pressured by my own past productions if I didn't have documentary evidence that actually they weren't perfect, the corners weren't that neat, the writing wasn't that straight. (None of them were Cake Wrecks by any means, but they were a long way from those incredible Russian cakes that have been doing the rounds on the internet for a while now.) For years, without having a photo to refer to, I remembered the Sonic the Hedgehog cake (the first time we did a traced-on-icing cartoon) as being pretty much perfect, the colours being as vibrant as the computer game ... and, yes, it's pretty good, but it's not perfect.

Despite all my worries about each cake having to be better than the last, I'm planning to make my own wedding cake. It's not going to look like an explosion in a flower-shop or some kind of horrific meringue-related incident; it's going to be in the same style as all the other cakes I make: flat and excessively decorated. I've done bigger cakes and more elaborate cakes for other occasions than what I'm planning, so I don't think I'm being too ambitious. (The really ambitious cake I want to do one day is a 9-tiered cake representing Dante's nine levels of hell, with the damned falling off the edges all over the place like something from Hieronymous Bosch... but for some reason addedentry though that wouldn't be quite the thing for a wedding.) Today's cake somehow wasn't actually as tasty as usual, though — or maybe it's just that I'm feeling tired and ill and nothing seems to taste of anything much any more — so maybe I should delegate the cake-making to someone else. If, that is, I can find anybody who'll make me a 12-inch-square cake with just white icing, no flowers or bows or piped scalloped edges or any bloody decoration at all, for a reasonable price. Maybe I'm just being silly and I should just accept that a wedding cake is a thing that looks like everybody else's wedding cake and costs as much as a MacBook; having said that, though, it's probably too late to change my mind now because you probably have to give several years' notice for ordering wedding cakes. Hey ho. At the end of the day, it's only a cake.

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bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: November 24th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
imc's mum's possibly who you want to speak to about flat cakes with plain white icing at non-excessive rates of notice. Or cost.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: November 25th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Remind me, sometime, to think of a suitable occasion for the Hieronymus Bosch cake-of-the-damned.
k425 From: k425 Date: November 25th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you tried M&S? I'm pretty sure they do plain white iced cakes, because I had one for my first wedding. Mind, that was 11 years ago, so all bets are off!

Ooh, here, is this any help?

Edited at 2008-11-25 08:47 am (UTC)
addedentry From: addedentry Date: November 25th, 2008 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Other people recommended Marks, too.

Alas, their plain white cake is round and for various reasons we're looking for a square cake. You wouldn't have thought that was excessively fussy!
k425 From: k425 Date: November 26th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Shame. That they don't do square, that is. Wanting square, for a wedding, seems reasonable. Easier to divide!
j4 From: j4 Date: November 25th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC) (Link)
A couple of people have recommended M&S -- they do indeed do very reasonably-priced ready-iced cakes, but I phoned them & asked and they said they only do round ones... and the design I want to do really wouldn't work on a round cake. :-}

Those stripy hatbox cakes are so lovely though! :)
k425 From: k425 Date: November 26th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)
They are fab, aren't they!
j4 From: j4 Date: November 25th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I totally didn't see that Owen had already replied! Joined-up communications there, gosh, it's almost like we're... er... married. :-}
From: kjaneway Date: November 25th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I utterly love the idea of your Dante cake. I really hope you find the occasion, and time, to make it.
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: November 25th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, I think the appropriate occasion for it would be the apocalypse, and I don't want the apocalypse to come. I'll be in the middle of a book and won't know how it ends for all eternity.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 25th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Drat, I was sure Tesco used to do a completely plain iced fruit cake in 3 sizes that would be ideal, but it looks like they've started piping swirls on the top. How annoying. Actually now I think about it theirs was round too anyway, so that's no good.

Edited at 2008-11-25 09:38 am (UTC)
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 25th, 2008 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
White fruit cake or sponge?

How big?
j4 From: j4 Date: November 25th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, um, ideally, if I do what I was originally planning to do, one 12" square white fruit and one smaller (8"?) square white sponge. Do you have a source for cake-at-short-notice...?
atommickbrane From: atommickbrane Date: November 25th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Nine mini cupcakes on a skewer should do it...
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: November 25th, 2008 11:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Why don't you do the circles thing but inverted, for paradise, for the wedding cake? Inverted wedding cakes are trickier to balance, but look amazing! Then you could use circular cakes, and still have the Durer illustrations printed onto sheets of icing, just the happy ones?

Oh god, I'm not helping....
j4 From: j4 Date: November 25th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! You could commission it for your wedding? :)

I really do want to make all the little tiny damned people out of icing, though. Is that so wrong?
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: November 25th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

ambitious, maybe...

It's worth running by la Tim, but I think we have plans involving white chocolate, which isn't as printable/paintable as the white rolling icing

On the other hand, how COOL would that be?
sphyg From: sphyg Date: November 25th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
sphyg From: sphyg Date: November 25th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Hah, themed typo.
jvvw From: jvvw Date: November 25th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I looked into plain cakes when I was looking for some way to have a cake for our wedding party in London without spending a fortune (we went for cupcakes in the end). I think the supermarkets were most promising but can't remember details. I suspect lots of cake places will do plain cakes with more than the two weeks notice we were looking at (my 30th birthday one was essentially plain with a picture on it, quite large and cost less than £100).

Wedding cakes are stupidly expensive though. Hadn't realised quite how much of a bargain ours for our actual wedding was until I started looking for a cake for the party.
gareth_rees From: gareth_rees Date: November 30th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm planning to make my own wedding cake

Go for it! I made my own wedding cakes and my mother-in-law decorated them (picture here) and we wouldn't have had it any other way.

9-tiered cake representing Dante's nine levels of hell

Challenging! The Inferno is ever so far from being cake-shaped—unless it was one of my sponge cakes which had sunk in the middle. Purgatorio would be much easier but the torments there are much less dramatic.
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