Monday, April 13, 2009

Aren't you gonna open that bottle?

So, where were we in the adventures of Kim and Chris? Oh yes, the groom’s cake. Before Kim and I ever sat down to discuss her wedding cake, she stated that the groom’s cake, which was a surprise, MUST be a bottle of Opus One. Her fiancĂ©, Chris, is a wino, uh, I mean a wine enthusiast and Opus One is his absolute favorite wine. What can I say but the man has good taste – after all he is marrying my friend Kim, right? Incidentally, the only time I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying Opus One was at a company retreat at my first job out of college. My boss had decided to splurge on a few bottles for everyone at dinner one night, so I had a glass. I’m actually quite embarrassed to admit that that nice glass of red was completely wasted on me. You see, I was fresh out of college and my tastebuds were still recovering from the years of cheap tequila abuse, and was in no condition to appreciate all the delicate flavors that I’m sure was in that glass. Sad to say but that glass of Opus could’ve been a glass of Two-Buck Chuck and I wouldn’t have known the difference. Yeah, I know, I cringe for the younger me too.

But I digress…….I was given my marching orders for the groom’s cake and so began searching the web for a high res image of the wine label that I would need for my edible image. I couldn’t find any that were adequate for a good print so I went directly to the source and contacted the Opus One winery in Oakville, CA. Jennifer, their PR coordinator, had a high res jpeg in my inbox within the hour, talk about customer service, :-) !

Ok, enough chitchat, I know you guys want to see pictures so let’s start with the cake board. Below is a picture of it scored to resemble planks of wood.
The cakeboard after the color wash. TIP: When using color wahes on fondant, be sure to allow for ample drying time (4-8 hrs).
Next, the wine of bottle. Here is it iced with buttercream.
.....covered with fondant and airbrushed.
Then, the bottle label. So, the original plan was to simply print one out on edible paper and affix it to the wine bottle cake - hence the need for the high res image. Well, as luck would have it, my edible printer (which worked just dandy the week before) decided to throw a fit and only spew out unintelligibly garbled images. About twenty minutes and a few choice words later, I moved on to plan B: piping the label by hand. Talk about nerve-racking, not only did I need to reproduce the silhouettes of Robert Mondavi and Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, I had to reproduce their signatures at the bottom! After roughly an hour of the most painstaking piping I’ve done thus far, I ended up with darn good replica, if I do say so myself =D. I guess all that practice in grade school forging my parents’ signature on permission slips came in handy after all.
And finally, the groom's cake fully assembled in the wood crate with packing straw made of fondant. (I didn't bother with posting pictures of the wood crate cake assembly since it's basically just a rectangle.)
The side view
Closer up view
Me with my cheesy smile next to the cake
I've made a handful of novelty cakes that were a 1:1 scale but this one is by far the most realistic looking.....which proved to be quite interesting throughout evening. It began with the cake setup when several of the catering staff stopped by and asked if the bottle of wine needed to be refrigerated (nevermind that you shouldn't refrigerate reds); and continued during the wedding reception as I overheard a couple of folks wondering why the bride and groom were toasting with red wine instead of champagne; the best, though, was when Chris, the groom, admitted to me that he actually started to reach over to grab bottle before he was promptly told that it was his surprise groom's cake. And unbeknownst to me until recently, the merriment continued on 'til the next day, as evidenced by this excerpt from the bride:

“As for the Opus cake, the caterer didn't know it was a cake either so they didn't serve it. Thank goodness because we had a family get together the next day and Chris and I wanted to share your amazing talent with the rest of the family. They couldn't believe it was a real cake (funny how saying that encourages people to poke at it). It wasn't until we had to cut into the cake were they finally convinced. And even still my aunts kept breaking off the "straws" to prove to themselves that yes, it was edible.”
Yes, it really is funny how telling people "it's a cake" encourages all types of pokage.


Min said...

That's one crazy cake alright! Love it!

DDpie said...

This is the best bottle cake I've seen, hands down! Excellent work!

Baby Maddie said...

Wow. That looks great!

panamamama said...

That is absolutely amazing! I can't believe you did the label my hand! Wow!

Anonymous said...

Yes, one of the best bottle I've ever seen too. By just looking at the photos without reading the details, I thought you did Kopykake the label. Great work!!