King of the Castle

Okay, so not technically a king. And… not technically a castle.

This cake was something else! Heather called us to see if we were available to make a cake for the owner of the Old Orchard Inn. (Side note: We love the Old O. The staff there is fantastic and the venue is great. Each time we make a delivery, they make us feel pretty special.) “We” weren’t available, but “I”(Anna) was. Mom, the poor thing, was going to be away in Guatemala visiting my sister. So although it was only going to be one chick, I said yes. And then I made Mom go through the entire design process with me, even though she wasn’t going to be here to execute it. We met with Heather at the hotel, and took a lot of pictures. The interior of the hotel is fantastic, very unique. It has many aspects reminiscent of a medieval castle, with open beam ceilings, stone walls and stone tiled floors. Also featured are two beautiful fireplaces, designed by the owner himself. (You can see some of these features by clicking on the link above.) So the plan was to make a cake that was basically the Old O, turned inside out.

After many sketches, measurements, and ideas bounced off each other, we came up with the design. We had decided to incorporate as many of the unique architectural features as possible, so we designed an open archway and a working (yes, a working) fireplace.

Before Mom left, she spent her last day at home baking the Vanilla Bean/Chocolate Marble pound cake that was the base of the cake. We assembled the main cake(which was filled with both Vanilla Bean and Chocolate buttercream), which ended up being about 8 inches high, and made the archway wall from Rice Krispie treats which we then painted with melted chocolate to strengthen. Then Mom left me. 🙁

And the detail work began. (Which, I won’t deny, I actually quite enjoy.) I started with covering the top of the cake in vanilla marshmallow fondant, then I used a silicone mould to piece together the fondant for the stone walls. After cutting out the space for the arches, the doors, and the fireplace, I filled these spots with the appropriate fondant pieces, either bricks or wood. I painted the stone walls and then cut out individual gum paste bricks and painted them before adhering them to the cake. After adding the wooden (gum paste) beams, I then painted the stone tile floor. Once this was done, then I got to play! I had looked up the Wallace family (The family that owns and runs the Old O) crest and coat of arms, so I painted miniatures of these to personalize the cake. Mom had come up with the great idea of using a flickering tealight in the fireplace, and I made tiny gum paste logs and attached them to the tealight to finish it off. The view from the front of the hotel looks across the Minas Basin to Blomidon, so I included a miniature landscape painting of Blomidon (which I couldn’t resist signing :)).

I must say, this cake is our most unique to date, and definitely had the most detail work, but it was a lot of fun. Plus, the reactions we got from the staff when we delivered the cake made it completely worthwhile! We deliver wedding cakes and don’t even get tears! 😉

Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger view.